The first time Stiles sneaks into Scott's room, they are eleven.
It's a hot night in late July, and even though it's nearing midnight, Scott still lies awake in his bed, listening to the sounds of his parents fighting downstairs. There comes a point where he just can't take it anymore. So he calls Stiles.
"They're at it again," he says, before Stiles can even say hello.
There's a sigh on the other end of the line. "What are they fighting about now?"
Scott sighs too, eyes trained resolutely on the ceiling. "I don't know." He'd long since stopped listening to the words; they've become just muffled exclamations of pain and hurt and anger now, with no rhyme or reason to their name. "I just wish they'd stop."
"Wanna come over?"
"Nah," he says. "I don't think they'd let me."
Stiles makes a noise of frustration. "That's why you sneak out, doofus." But suddenly there's a crash from downstairs, and Scott doesn't answer. "Scott? You okay?"
"Yeah," he replies, but his voice is absent, hollow. Downstairs, his parents' voices start up again, louder than before.
Stiles heaves another sigh and says, "You know what, stay there. I have an idea."
The words jolt Scott to awareness, and he sits up in bed, parents momentarily forgotten; Stiles having ideas never ends up well. "No, Stiles. What are you—" But before he can even get the whole question out, Stiles has hung up. Scott tosses the phone down on the bed beside him and lies back down, wondering about and slightly dreading whatever's going to happen.
He lies there for nearly twenty minutes, listening as his parents fight, voices lowering and raising, up and down like a rollercoaster. Then, from behind him, there's a sudden crash, a grunt, and the sounds of struggle. He sits up again, peering out his window, partially open. He wonders if he should shut it.
Then, there's a quiet, breathless, "Scott!" and he nearly falls out of his bed in surprise.
"Stiles, what are you doing?" he hisses right back, after he's regained some composure. He would know that voice anywhere and, sure enough, Stiles' face has suddenly appeared on the other side of the window.
"Help me open this," he says, and Scott crawls to the top of his bed and opens his window the rest of the way, giving Stiles enough room to climb inside.
"How did you get up here?" is the first thing out of Scott's mouth. He stares his best friend with a mixture of surprise and awe.
Stiles just shrugs nonchalantly, but the smile on his face is wide as if he senses Scott's admiration. "Your roof isn't that hard to get on to, you know."
Scott shakes his head in disbelief. "Your parents know you're here?"
"…Not exactly," Stiles replies, his grin turning mischievous. But before he can say anything else, there are more yells from downstairs and Scott looks away, towards his bedroom door, beyond which lies the scary world of parents fighting and families broken. Stiles' words die in his throat, and he just lays a hand quietly on his best friend's shoulder, and to Scott the action says more than words ever could.
They stay up until two in the morning, long after Scott's parents have stopped fighting, and falling asleep is more of an accident than anything; they're just sitting and talking and then lying down, and suddenly Scott is fast asleep with his head pressed against Stiles' shoulder and Stiles finds himself nodding off shortly after.
They wake up at the ungodly hour of eight in the morning to two pairs of frantic parents, who somehow manage to be both livid and relieved at the same time. As Stiles' parents drag him home, Stiles mutters a sheepish "Sorry" to both parties, trying his hardest to sound sincere. But his secret smile lets Scott know that he isn't sorry, not really.
They're twelve when Stiles' mom dies.
There is a funeral some days after the tragic event. It seems like nearly every person in town comes, which makes sense; Mrs. Stilinski is—was—one of the friendliest women in Beacon Hills, and Stiles' dad, being the sheriff, personally knows a great number of people.
But the number of people in attendance makes it so Scott sees Stiles only once, when Scott and his mom go up to pay their respects. As Scott's mom and Stiles' dad talk quietly, Scott catches Stiles' eye and gives him a small, sad smile. Stiles tries to return it, but it looks as if he's doing all he can not to cry and the smile turns into a frown instead. Before Scott can say anything, his mother's hand is on his shoulder and she's leading him away, and that's the closest Scott comes to his best friend for the rest of the day.
Until midnight, when there's a knock on Scott's window.
He's still awake and grateful for the distraction, and he sits up and lets Stiles inside without hesitation. "What are you doing here?" he asks quietly, moving aside as Stiles crawls through.
Stiles just shakes his head as he catches his breath; Scott lets him, waiting, but even after his breathing has returned to normal he still says nothing, and it takes Scott a few seconds to understand that Stiles, for once in his life, doesn't know what to say. And because Scott doesn't quite know what to say either, he just draws his friend into a hug.
They sit there for a long time, legs entangled and arms around each other and faces pressed into each other's shoulders. Stiles trembles but he doesn't cry, and Scott rubs his back soothingly, trying to draw some of Stiles' pain away and take it upon himself.
Still they say nothing, but the 'I need you's are heavily implied.
It's the night before their first ever day of high school and both of them are unashamedly nervous. So Scott doesn't protest when Stiles invites himself over, even if it's late and his mom is asleep.
"You have to be quiet, dude. My mom just got off her shift and she's exhausted."
"Okay, okay. Jeez." Stiles is breathless on the other end of the phone. "Okay, I'm climbing."
"What? Stiles, I have a front door—" But Stiles has already hung up. Scott sighs, shakes his head in amused exasperation, and tosses his cell phone in the general direction of his nightstand. It misses. Spectacularly.
But soon enough, there's a soft tap at Scott's window, and he turns to let Stiles in.
"Really?" he says, gesturing to the bottle of alcohol clutched safely in Stiles' mouth as he clambers inside.
"What?" Stiles replies after removing the bottle from between his teeth. His grin is wide. "Come on, man, it's the last day of summer."
Scott concedes with a matching grin, shakes his head and closes the window, settling back on his heels. "You didn't have to climb in my window, you know. If you had told me when you were here I could've let you in the front door, like a normal human being."
Stiles shrugs. "I like sneaking in through the window. It's about as interesting as my life ever gets."
Scott just shakes his head again and lets it go. "Now what?" he asks, realizing a second later, as he glances at the bottle still clutched in Stiles' fingers, that the question is overwhelmingly redundant.
Stiles merely throws him a sideways glance and unscrews the cap, not deigning to answer his question. "To high school," he toasts, and takes a swig, wincing slightly as he swallows. He passes the bottle to Scott.
Scott sighs, peering into the bottle warily, then decides to hell with it and echoes, "To high school." He takes a too-large gulp and chokes, the alcohol burning as it slides down his throat.
Stiles laughs quietly and thumps him on the back a few times. "You'll get the hang of it." Scott just rolls his eyes at him—as if Stiles has any more idea what they're doing than Scott does.
An hour or so later and they're maybe a little bit buzzed—well, a lot-bit buzzed—and out of the blue, Stiles says, "You know, you know... it really sorta sucks that we've never kissed anyone. You know?"
"Yeah," Scott replies after a long second. "Yeah, I know."
"'s not very good for our popularity level," Stiles adds unnecessarily, taking a swig. The bottle, which was already half empty when Stiles arrived, is now nearly depleted. "'s no good if we go into high school and we never kissed anyone."
Scott hums his agreement, and then his slightly drunken mind prompts him to say, "We should practice."
A second passes and Scott feels mortified, but Stiles looks intrigued. "Alright," he says, setting the bottle aside. "Y'wanna?"
"Sure," Scott says apprehensively, and they both move to face the other. But all they do is sit silently, waiting for the other to make a move. They realize what they're doing at the same moment and laugh nervously, and in the middle of laughing, Stiles leans forward and plants his lips on Scott's.
The kiss is an awkwardly still one; they don't know what to do with their lips or their hands or their faces so they do nothing. But Scott's lips mold nicely around Stiles', and his friend's lips are nice feeling, soft and warm. Still, they're frozen like that, lips pressed together, eyes open and locked with each others'. After a few seconds more, they make the mutual decision to pull away.
They laugh again, simultaneously, which dispels some of the tension in the room. "Well, er, that was awkward," Stiles says. "Nice, I guess. But awkward."
Scott raises an eyebrow and says, "I don't think we did it right."
Stiles shrugs, takes another sip from the bottle, and then without warning he leans over and kisses Scott again.
His mouth is open slightly and Scott can taste the alcohol on his breath, but his lips are still soft and warm and it's not an altogether unpleasant sensation. This time, Scott plays it like they do in the movies—grasps Stiles' shirt to tug him closer, closes his eyes, opens his lips a little. Stiles moans softly against his mouth and his fingers wind themselves in Scott's hair, pulling him closer still.
When they pull away at last, they're both out of breath.
"Well, shit," Stiles gasps, fingers still entwined in Scott's hair. He realizes this and moves his hand away. Scott, too, realizes his hands are still wound in Stiles' shirt and lets go, face burning. Neither had meant for that to get so intense. "That was… that was better."
"Yeah," Scott says, and because the only thing he seems to be able to do tonight is laugh, he laughs.
And then they're both laughing, quietly so they don't wake Scott's mom but still uncontrollably, and it's almost ten minutes before they can stop. Because what the hell. How else are you supposed to react when you just borderline made out with your best friend.
The next day at school, they both pinky-swear not to tell anyone, ever, and the incident is forgotten.
The first thing he does when he gets his head on straight—after the full moon and Derek and the suggestion of the slimmest possibility of a cure—is text Stiles.
Stiles please text me back
I'm back to normal now
I'm sorry about Lydia
His apologies sound hollow, and Stiles must realize this because he never answers. Finally, he can't take it anymore, and Scott gives up and calls him.
"What, Scott?" Stiles answers after only one ring. A little bubble of anger erupts in Scott's stomach—so he was just ignoring him—but he shoves it down and away because he knows it's probably just the effects of the full moon and he doesn't want to be angry anymore. He just wants to apologize.
Still, he doesn't quite know how to go about doing that. "You're still pissed at me," he says, and it ends up being less of a question and more of a statement. But he's just testing the water at this point.
Stiles sighs a world-weary sigh. "Yeah, Scott. In fact, 'pissed' is kind of an understatement right now."
"Look," Scott says, then reverses direction completely. "Can you come over? So I can apologize properly?" He wants to do it face to face. He owes his best friend that, at least.
Stiles sighs again and his end of the line is silent for a while as he contemplates. Finally, after an excruciatingly long pause, he says, "Yeah, okay. Fine. I'll be over."
And twenty minutes later, Stiles—being Stiles—arrives through the window. Scott had dozed off in his armchair but he jerks awake as he hears the telltale sounds of his window opening. He wants desperately to make a 'you-know-I-have-a-front-door' joke, but he knows now is not the time.
"Should've known you'd fall asleep," Stiles mutters as he turns and sits on Scott's bed, facing him.
The window is left open; Scott doesn't know if it's on purpose or if he truly forgot, and lets it be. "Sorry," he says instead, rubbing his face wearily. "It's been a really… reallylong day."
Stiles nods. "Yeah. I know the feeling."
Then there is a moment of silence and it hangs between them heavily, laden with all the things they need to say. But neither of them makes a move to say anything—Stiles is staring at his hands clasped in front of him and Scott is staring at Stiles, trying desperately to figure out where everything went wrong. For a second he wishes it was back to how it used to be; no Allison and no Derek and no werewolves, just Scott and Stiles, together, best friends until the end of time.
At least that hasn't changed, Scott thinks, and the thought gives him a bit of courage. "Look," he starts again, like he had on the phone, "I'm sorry about what I did with Lydia. I'm sorry I was such a dick today. You're my best friend, and… I shouldn't have betrayed your trust like that."
Stiles nods, shrugs, sighs. There's a pause. Then he says, "Nah, man. Don't apologize. I know it was just the full moon, and I was being a dick, too." He looks at Scott at last, smiles a small smile and shakes his head. "Besides, it's impossible to stay mad at you."
Scott returns his smile with a sheepish one of his own and then, tension abated, suggests they watch a movie. Just like old times.
When Scott comes home from Allison's, Stiles is there.
"Wake up, dude," Scott says, unfazed, tapping him on the knee. Stiles is curled up in his armchair like he belongs there, but Scott doesn't mind because he probably kind of does.
Stiles arrives back at consciousness slowly, but Scott doesn't see; he's in the bathroom, brushing his teeth. "Sorry," Stiles apologizes, shifting and stretching his sore limbs. "But the hospital kicked me out after Lydia got stabilized, and my dad's still at the station, and I didn't want to be alone. So I snuck over here. Figured you'd be home eventually."
Scott rinses, spits. "Don't worry about it, man." He understands; he doesn't want to be alone tonight, either. He would've stayed at Allison's, if he could have, but there's still the minor problem of her parents wanting to kill him, so he didn't. But he figures Stiles is the next best thing.
"You didn't shut the window the whole way," he observes as he wanders from the bathroom. It's not Stiles' fault, though; it's suddenly become a tricky window, and doesn't close properly unless jiggled a certain way. Scott does it now, sliding it closed with a satisfying thunk. But when Stiles says nothing in reply, Scott turns and studies his friend; he looks worn, tired, a startling contrast from his usual demeanor. "You okay?"
Stiles rubs his face, his eyes, but doesn't say anything for a while. Then, "It's just been a long day."
"You're telling me." Scott still feels as though he will turn around to find the snarling Alpha behind him, or a smirking Derek with his eyes glowing red.
With nothing more to add, he turns and flops face down on his bed, exhausted, breath wooshing out of him in a sigh. Stiles joins him wordlessly, lying on his back, and in the small space ends up pressing against Scott from shoulder to hip, radiating a soft and deliciously human heat that draws Scott in like a moth to flame.
"I miss this," Stiles says quietly, a little hesitantly. "Just you and me. Ruling the world."
Scott laughs, a quick puff of air through his nose, and turns on his side, lays his head on Stiles' shoulder. "Me too."
Stiles takes a deep breath, like he's surprised but happy, and a small smile graces his face. Scott finds himself inexplicably transfixed, and watches him for a moment before he flips, reaches out, and belatedly turns off his bedside lamp. Then he curls around Stiles again, breathing in his familiar scent, and is asleep within minutes.
The next time he wakes up, it's to the sound of his own screams.
If Stiles had actually been able to fall asleep, Scott's sounds of desperation would have woken him long before the screams started. As it is, he's been shaking him for the better part of a minute before his friend jolts awake, sitting up in bed and dragging Stiles with him.
"Oh god, oh god," Scott moans, then mutters a string of unintelligible swear words.
Stiles pulls him to his chest and rocks him, holding him tightly. He knows nightmares; he's had enough of his own. "You're okay, now," he whispers, daring to drop a kiss to the top of Scott's head. "I'm here. Everything's gonna be okay."
Scott's fingers wind tightly in Stiles' t-shirt. He is silent for a moment, shaking uncontrollably, until he says, "I'm gonna lose everyone, aren't I?"
Stiles hesitates. "Well…" He sighs and soothingly runs a hand down Scott's back, feeling the smooth bumps of his spine. Hearing that, he's not sure if he wants to know what this nightmare was about. "I can't speak for anyone else, but you know I'll always be here for you, man. I'm not gonna leave anytime soon."
"But what if you do?" Scott whimpers into his collarbone.
"I won't," he replies, with utmost certainty. "Not if I have anything to say about it." And that's that.
Stiles holds Scott for a long time afterwards.
When they lie back down, Stiles keeps his arm around his shoulders and Scott lays his arm across Stiles' chest, burrowing closer to him. Stiles presses another kiss to his temple and, legs and arms entangled, they drift off to sleep again.
As usual, their mutual need for each other remains unsaid, but it's one of those things that doesn't need to be put into words. Not anymore.