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Stiles likes knowing how things work.

His mind is a constant complex whirlwind of thoughts and ideas and fears and dreams (nightmares, really), and while those around him grab their guns or call to their bullshit supernatural powers, all Stiles can do is think and think and think and desperately force his jumbled, messy brain to be a step ahead of everything. (Sometimes, he thinks wearily, it seems very tempting to put an end to his hyperactive brain, permanently. It would certainly make life easier for those he loves.)

Still, even when he isn't over-heating his mere human mental capacities by obsessing over unsolved cases or trying to save their lives or piecing together some unsolvable fucking puzzle or crumbling under guilt and self-hatred (this never happens), Stiles thinks and over-thinks everything, and it pleases him to find a clear and concise manner of sorting things. He has a great many complex systems in his head that he uses to organize his mind, for any problem that isn't completely impossible to organize (and some that are), but the simple ones please him too.

Rating people depending on how aesthetically pleasing they are is one of these simple systems. 

Someone who's a fifteen is damn pleasant to look at, someone who's an eighteen is a knockout. It's an obvious distinction.

It's easy, and neat, and straight-forward. Stiles doesn't think it's mean, not really; it's not like he shares the scores with anyone, or walks up to people to tell them they scored a minus ten on the Stilinski Scale of Asserted Hotness™.

He's been doing it for what feels like eons, since he was around eleven, probably. (He longs for those days a lot, nowadays, when Beacon Hills wasn't shrouded in death and pain and guilt.)

It's not something he's shared, though- not out of fear, or something (although he acknowledges that most of his friends disapprove of rating people for their looks), more like he hasn't ever been asked to.

Sure, there's been times when he's mumbles out a number to himself whilst looking at someone, or responded with fifteens and sixteens when asked about some attractive person, but most people merely looked at him strangely and then wrote it off as another Stiles thing. Which it is, so.

He's sitting with Lydia nearby, feet tapping a frantic rhythm while they wait for their teacher to show up (unless he's dead, which, Stiles has to admit gloomily, isn't statistically unlikely) when they stumble upon the topic.

"So what did you think of the VMAs?" Lydia asks from a seat away.

Stiles turns around slightly, fingers now joining his feet in tapping a distracted beat out against his knees. "Do I take that to mean "Nicki Minaj is throwing some serious shade at industrialised racism in the arts" or "Kim K looked like a bad Skyrim cosplayer"?" Stiles asks, eyes flicking up and down Lydia's face.

She pulls a face, considering (it's more of a moue, really, Lydia doesn't pull faces), before shrugging languidly.

"Let's go with Kim Kardashian first. I don't want to risk our Nicki Minaj conversation being interrupted."

"Don't forget the teacher might be dead, though." Stiles argues, before continuing: "Besides, do you really want the Kardashian bashing to be interrupted either?"

Lydia tilts her head in concession, pretty locks swishing lightly as she does so. "The Kardashian bashing is eternal, Stiles." 

"I see your point." Stiles replies, cracking a grin. "But yeah, it was a disaster. It was the first time in years that my eyes bled without supernatural interference."

Lydia snorts, but her brow rises in warning (not funny, Stiles) before she retorts: "You'd think after all that surgery she'd have found a way to avoid looking like an alien from a bad porno."

"Because," Stiles inquires, "You would have experience with bad pornos?"

Lydia gives him a killer look, prim and proper look suddenly schooling her features. It does not bode well for Stiles' ego.

"Don't project, Stiles. I don't have to fantasize about getting laid, because I actually am."

Stiles pretends he's been stabbed. Lydia smirks. "In all honesty, please stop with the alien pornos. It really isn't that difficult to find someone to have nice, safe, non-imaginary sex with."

"Easy for the nineteen to say." Stiles quips, shooting her a sardonic look.

"The what?"  She's shooting him a perplexed look, so he stops the tapping in order to wave his hands around vaguely.

"The nineteen. You know, like. Scale to twenty."

If anything, Lydia looks even more bemused, and there's been no subject change, so Stiles figures he'd better actually explain it properly.  (Use your big boy words, Stilinski. Actually, scratch that, people still don't get it when you use words.)

"Like, on a scale from one to twenty, how good looking someone is?" 

Lydia blinks, and then gives him a weird look. Stiles bites on his pen. 

She must see something about that that reassures her, because the next thing he knows he's being offered a Sincere Lydia Smile™ that pushes her up to nineteen point seven.

"A nineteen, huh?" Lydia asks, still smiling, her eyes sparkling with amusement and her expression less on edge than usual. "Flattery will get you nowhere, Stilinski."

Stiles makes a "blah, blah" gesture at her, shrugging. "'S not flattery, Lyds. You might be a complete maniac, but I'm not blind."

She laughs at that, grin falling firmly in place- it's the teasing kind of grin, Stiles' favourite, mainly because it lowers Lydia down to his level of banter.

"Isn't there any other girl that's just as pretty and less insane?" Lydia asks, mock-sceptic. "I hear the voices of the dead. Literally."

"Fake modesty is not a good look on you, Miss Perfect. You keep that up and you'll turn into an eighteen point five." Stiles retorts, incapable of smothering his smirk.

Lydia gives a very convincing gasp. Stiles snorts.

"An EIGHTEEN POINT FIVE? Oh, the shame. I'd fall dead on the spot." 

Stiles is about to say something incredibly funny and well-thought out (it's not. it's a dead people joke.) when the teacher bursts into the room, out of breath and yelling about some kind of attack.

Stiles pushes the conversation away into a mental file and yanks his "what to do when shit goes down" closet wide open.

----

 

He's all-but forgotten about the conversation (lies, all lies, Stiles never forgets) when Lydia brings it up one evening. They're at the McCalls, the lot of them, and Stiles is sitting squashed against the sofa's armrest, Malia next to him and Kira next to her, with Lydia sitting on the chair nearby.

"Bucky is hot, but Steve's, like, pretty. And hot. He wins." Malia argues, even as Kira tuts.

"How much do you rate them?" Lydia interrupts, looking at Stiles. He frowns at her, distracted- he's trying to listen to what Scott and Derek are discussing in the kitchen.

Malia and Kira blink in unison. "Rate?"

"Stiles gives people scores out of twenty for their levels of attractiveness." Lydia clarifies, and Stiles' attention goes back to her.

"Really?" Kira asks, disapprovingly. 

"Really?" Malia asks, like she didn't know that was a thing and is glad to hear it.  (This is why Stiles really likes Malia.)

"Just in my head!" Stiles protests, not keen on seeming like a total douchebro. "It's more organized."

Kira looks like she wants to ask something, and Lydia's watching him sharply, but it's Malia that beats them to it, demanding eagerly: "What are me and Kira?"

"Kira and I." Kira reminds, but she looks curious.

"Eighteen for Kira, seventeen for you." Stiles answers without thinking. "Seventeen point five with this haircut, though." 

Malia grins, peering down at her hair, and Kira blushes lightly, giving Stiles a sheepish look.

(He makes eye-contact with Lydia, and that was definitely a smug look.)

"What about Derek?" the were-coyote pushes on, eyes gleaming. 

"Eighteen. Depends on the lighting."

"Are you just being generous and nice?" Malia questions, eyes narrowing.

"No, I'm just surrounded by extremely physically attractive individuals." Stiles answers, with a roll of the eyes like he's stating the obvious (he is).

"What about Isaac?" Kira asks, eyes sparkling.

"And Hayden?" Malia butts in.

"Liam." Lydia adds.

"Sixteen point eight, seventeen point four, and seventeen." Stiles says, without needing to think about it.

"How come Isaac only gets a seventeen and Liam doesn't?" Lydia asks, amused.

Stiles pulls a face. "Liam's still a kid. He has potential." He pauses. "Besides, Isaac has a really stupid scared slash surprised expression."

Kira snorts, covering her grin as Malia barks out a laugh.

Lydia, always on a different plane of existence, gives him a dangerous smile, before inquiring: "What are you?"

The laughter stills.

Derek, having entered the room, casts Stiles an exasperated look like "Why the fuck is everyone staring at you again" (which is totally unfair because this time Stiles literally did nothing wrong).

Stiles scrunches his face up at Derek, then allows his audience a response: "Nine, obviously."

Malia snickers. Derek looks like his interest has been vaguely piqued. 

"You certainly think highly of yourself," Lydia says, lightly mocking. 

Stiles raises a brow. He feels he's been fairly accurate in his judgement, but he's never averse to some Stiles bashing, so he merely tilts his head.

"Why are you on a scale of ten?" Kira asks, before grinning. "You need your own special one?"

Stiles gives them a confused look, as his brain goes "What?".

And then, slowly, maybe a tad patronizingly, he explains: "I'm not. Everyone's on the same scale."

 

There's a moment of silence, and then identical frowns appear on everyone's face.

Stiles is perplexed by their appearance, and then regrets having shared his scale, because he's recognized them as "Worried About Stiles' Self-Esteem" Frowns®.

"Stiles," Kira says, in an obnoxiously careful tone. "You think you're a nine on twenty?"

Stiles nods. "I thought that was fairly obvious."

"Stiles," Lydia says, disapproving frown firmly in place. "You are not a nine."

"Sure." Stiles says, complacently.

Wrong thing to say.

"Stiles, you are so not a nine." Lydia pushes on, struggling with their rule of not complimenting each other unless things are really bad. "You're like- You've had multiple girlfriends!"

"Uh, not really." Stiles says.

"Malia dated you!" Lydia argues, having apparently become their spokes-person. 

"Malia was a coyote for most of her life." Stiles retorts, very dead-pan. "She probably wanted to eat me."

Malia flips him the finger. Stiles accepts it gracefully.

Lydia rolls her eyes, pushing on: "Kira would date you. Kira?"

Kira nods, considering it, before saying apologetically: "I mean, you're not quite my type, but...yeah. I would."

Stiles raises a finger. Lydia waits, brows still raised sceptically. 

She's waiting for him to crumble under her terrifying stare, but it's not gonna happen. Stiles never surrenders in the Stiles Hate Game©.

"Kira," he says, pausing for effect, "is a nice person. Too nice."

Lydia goes "oh, please", her glare turning rather more heated. Stiles shifts on the couch. 

Malia and Kira have both moved back to look at him. He feels oddly unsafe.

“Derek would date you.” Lydia says, then, in a matter-of-fact tone.

“No he wouldn’t.” Stiles snorts, just as Derek goes: “No I wouldn’t.”

Lydia gives them a Look.

Stiles escapes by turning towards Derek, who now looks betrayed, as Lydia’s clever gaze falls on him. (“Sorry,” Stiles mouths. “No other option.”)

Lydia is terrifying and awe-inspiring when she’s in this kind of mood. Stiles doesn’t know if his self-doubt is enough to vanquish it (yes, it is).

The banshee is far from done, her lips curling slightly upwards. “Well, no. Not in this situation.” And after a slight pause: “But if you were his age…”

She leans forwards, eyes glinting victoriously: “What would teenage Derek have done?”

Stiles’ eyes flick back to the werewolf, to see if he’s going to fly into one of his dark moods at the mention of his younger years. Instead, Derek continues to scowl at Lydia, arms crossed and brows heavy. Lydia continues to smirk.

And then, imperceptibly (to the average human, at least), Derek’s eyes flick over to Stiles, and his shoulders sag. He gives Lydia a half-hearted glare. “My teenage self was a fucking idiot. That’s all I have to say on the topic.”

Stiles’ mouth drops open, and Malia hoots.

He’s so shell-shocked by this revelation that it takes him a minute to recover, all whilst Derek almost squirms, looking a shade of amused at Stiles’ dumfounded expression, but then his brain activates again, storing the information very safely away (on another day, he will never let Derek live this down) as he turns around again.

Lydia looks smug. Stiles isn’t done. “Okay, first off, he said it himself: the guy was an idiot. Second off? He relied on his creepy psycho uncle for reliable judgement at the time. ’S no wonder he would have made poor life choices.”

“Thanks, Stiles.” Derek replies, dryly.

Stiles twists slightly to give him a wide grin, before focusing on his current life-long foe. Said foe looks like she’s on the verge of giving up and attempting to physically beat some sense into him. (He wonders if it’s sad that he could probably withstand all the pain by this point.)

“Okay, fine,” Lydia huffs, closing her eyes and exhaling. “Fine. If it’s going to take that much to convince you-”

She opens her eyes. “Based on your looks, right, not your personality- let me make it perfectly clear that I am not suggesting that your personality is my taste-” (Stiles winks at her, and she almost sticks her tongue out at him) “-I would definitely date you. Or, you know. Sleep with you.”

Stiles can hear his past self screaming in delight, and he can’t quite stop the shit-eating grin that spreads on his face (Derek and Lydia? He is never dropping this one), but he is in it to win it.

“As flattered as I am, Lyds,” Stiles begins, and Lydia pinches her nose like she’s already regretting her choice, “Your previous eligible candidates have included a sociopathic, aggressive, murderous werewolf, and Jackson.”

Silence falls. Lydia’s mouth is actually open.

In unison, Malia and Derek snort.

Derek turns away in the background, escaping to the kitchen, as Malia starts snickering.

Stiles keeps his eyes on Lydia.

It takes her a few seconds to recover, and then she straightens her back and crosses her legs and Stiles knows that whatever she’s going to say will completely annihilate him-

“Stiles!” Scott calls from the kitchen, poking his head through the doorway. “I’m going out, come on!”

Stiles jumps up and sprints out. He loves Scott.

——

 

The next weeks are filled to the brim with the usual traumatising supernatural bullshit, except perhaps that Scott and Stiles are almost impossible to separate (more so than usual) after the Incident, so he starts to think he might have gotten off the hook.

Malia, bizarrely, is the one who brings it up first, dropping down next to him one day as he’s furiously scrutinising his Lit homework.

“You are hot, though.” Malia announces, as she sits down. Just like that.

Stiles looks up, mind whirring, and he still doesn’t believe her, but it’s easier to fool himself into pretending she’s honest. She’s Malia.

“Thanks.” Stiles says. “You too.”

She shrugs, steals his pens.

They don’t talk about it again.

——-

 

Lydia is driving silently next to him when she turns towards him, pretty mouth in a thoughtful pout.

“Stiles,” she begins.

“Still a nine.” Stiles warns.

She gives him an exasperated, half-pitying look, but she shuts up, changing tactics.

Lydia is smart, too. It both pleases and scares him.

“Who’s a twenty?” is what she says next, about ten minutes later.

Stiles has been dozing off. “What?”

“I’m a nineteen. Who’s a twenty?”

“You going to be jealous if I tell you?” Stiles asks, more awake now.

Lydia pinches his arm.

“Scott.” Stiles says, rubbing his arm. “Scott’s a twenty.”

Lydia makes a surprised noise, and swerves left a little too sharply at the turn.

“What?!” Stiles yelps, having hit his head against the window.

“Scott’s a twenty?” Lydia questions, still a bit incredulous. It’s because she’s a nineteen, he knows. Stiles still finds it rather rude.

Thing is, though. Scott’s always a twenty. Always will be.

It’s not just how he looks- Stiles knows, objectively, that Lydia is more beautiful, more aesthetically pleasing, but she’s not Scott. Scott is Scott- maybe he’s more of an eighteen, or something, but he’s a million as a person, and Stiles has been by his side for too long to completely distinguish the two.

Scott is by far the top ranking person he knows, because even if he’d been a three he’d still probably be a twenty.

“Oh. Right.” Lydia says.

Stiles startles. He’d said the last part out loud, then.

She looks thoughtful, then, before humming in agreement. “Okay, no, yeah. Fine. If you’re putting it like that, I see what you mean.”

Stiles spreads his hands like “how was that not obvious to any human being”, even though he’s kind of aware that ScottAndStiles is not part of normal humanity.

 

They stop at the red light.

And then Lydia goes: “Stiles, are you in love with Scott?” and Stiles chokes on his own spit and bangs his head against the window again.

“What?” Stiles laughs, because okay, unexpected, but it’s not like people haven’t assumed that he and Scott are dating before. “I mean, yes. Yes, passionately.”

His amused grin fades as Lydia turns slowly. She’s giving him a Serious Look.

Shit.

He would like to say he does something mature, but in reality he slams the door open, lunges out, and slams it shut, before sprinting away.

He is not in the mood for Lydia psychoanalysing his every move to prove his undying love for Scott, thank you very much.

———

 

Stiles doesn’t really think about it that much, to be honest.

It’s certainly not the first time someone’s asked him something like that.

It’s just the fact that it’s Lydia asking, and that she’s serious.

(Last time, it was- but no, that doesn’t matter anymore.)

Still, it gnaws at him, so he talks to Scott.

They’re half-asleep, both exhausted, Scott spread out on Stiles’ bed as Stiles sits slumped at his desk-chair, trying to make sense of his algebra.

“Scott?”

“Yeah?” Scott tries, but it comes out muffled and distorted.

“Lydia’s been asking me weird questions again.”

Scott lifts his head, alarmed, his tired expression conquered by the sudden worry. “What? What kind of weird questions? Is she okay? Are you okay?”

Stiles snorts, spins the chair to kick Scott back down. “Not spooky dark magic questions, Scott. Awkward “what are you and Scott exactly” questions.”

Scott falls back, relieved, but he still looks kind of concerned. “Oh. And it bothers you?”

“Well, no, I mean- it’s Lydia, is all.”

Scott nods. He gets it.

Stiles feels weirdly anxious.

“I mean,” Scott says, after a moment. “I am the hot girl, after all.”

Stiles stares and then cackles, and doesn’t worry about it after that.

——-

 

Scott grows quiet for a few days, once.

No more quiet than usual- Scott’s a pretty quiet guy- but different.

It worries everyone, but most of all it worries Stiles. Scott won’t tell him what’s wrong, and no one else knows, and he doesn’t want to press the matter because maybe it’s about Allison or any of their other dead friends and he doesn’t want to talk about those. (Allison is his fault, anyway. He remembers the Kitsune’s glee.)

They’re having one of their usual meetings, one day, when Scott suddenly stands up halfway through the FBI guy’s blab (and thank fuck for that) and excuses himself.

The room falls quiet as they watch him leave, closing the door quietly behind him.

And then all eyes turn to Stiles.

“What?!” Stiles asks, outraged. He doesn’t know either.

And then, disgruntled: “Fine, fine.”

He heads out after him.

 

“Way to ruin the mood,” Stiles jokes when he reaches Scott. “I was really enjoying that speech.”

“Sorry.” Scott says, absently.

Stiles frowns, watches him. “You all right, Scotty?”

Scott startles a bit, shakes his head like a wet dog (insert werewolf joke here, Stiles thinks), turns to really look at him.

“Stiles, uh. Have you ever thought-” Scott starts, hesitant and stumbling like Scott nearly never is. It makes Stiles’ hairs rise on end, and his pulse speed up apprehensively.

Scott doesn’t want to meet his eyes. Something is profoundly wrong.

“Scott?” Stiles prods, buzzing with nervous energy.

Scott’s eyes meet his reluctantly, maybe even guiltily. He stays quiet, shifting his jaw, watching Stiles strangely, until he finally seems to relax.

“Nevermind.”

“What?” Stiles says, dumbfounded, and then indignantly: “Hey, no, not fair, spit it out!”

Scott smiles distantly, shakes his head. “It’s nothing.”

“Uh, no, fuck you, it’s not nothing, don’t you pull that staring-whimsically-into-the-sunset shit on me, Scott, you were being weird like two seconds ago.” Stiles rants, shoving at him.

Scott snickers, then says: “There’s no sunset to stare into.” which isn’t an answer but is better than the distance, so Stiles drops it.

——

 

A week later Kira and Scott break up.

It comes out of nowhere, and shocks literally everyone, Stiles included. He’d thought-

After Allison, for a while, he’d wondered if Scott’s heart would ever heal. He’d never gotten around to asking, to talking about it, because at the time he was hovering on the brink of utterly self-destructive hatred for himself, and pain and guilt (so much guilt) about Allison, and he could barely approach Scott without flinching. But Kira is nice, and smart, and badass, and understands Scott, and most importantly fitted him well, with a calm gentle happiness that Scott very much deserved.

Stiles had thought they’d last, maybe- if they didn’t die at eighteen, he could see them growing old together in some picket fence house. Fox and Wolf. Nice little arrangement.

Scott and Allison had been the Hunter and the Wolf- Scott is surprisingly apt at finding himself traditions to break. (Maybe Stiles is a fox too, but he doesn’t want to ever think about that.)

Scott and Kira both don’t take it well. No one knew who’d initiated the breakup, but both sides seemed equally saddened and tired, if at least not angry or resentful.

Still, it worries the rest of the group, and it doesn’t surprise Stiles when Lydia comes to sit next to him one day as Scott and Liam talk in low voices a bit further away.

“So, this sucks.” Stiles says conversationally, picking at a scab on his elbow.

Lydia hums.

He follows her eyes to where Malia and Kira are sitting.

Kira has dark circles under her eyes, and she’s quieter than usual. Scott is pale, drawn.

“Really sucks.” Stiles corrects, and Lydia sighs, shifts to rest her head on his shoulder. He stiffens in light surprise, then moves to put his arm around her.

He loves Lydia, always will, but these days he wonders if she hasn’t become another Allison to him. “You’re not wrong, Stilinski. I feel as though every time we’re finally safe from the end of times, some emotional drama comes to deprive us of our peace and quiet.” Lydia muses, crossing her legs.

“Feels like it to me.” Stiles mutters in agreement. He lets his eyes drift shut for a moment, tired.

For a couple of minutes, they sit peacefully, half-awake, leaning against the stairs. Then Lydia jabs him in the side, and he opens his eyes, about to protest, when she leans closer and murmurs: “Look at Kira. Discreetly.”

A few years ago, Stiles would’ve swivelled his head around to stare. Now, he resists the temptation, and carefully peers to the right.

Kira is watching him, sort of mournfully, a quiet resignation painted over her features. Malia, behind her, has a much harder look in her eyes.

Stiles lets his eyes move away, and breathes out a confused: “What’s that all about?”

Lydia shakes her head, slowly, so he can feel it.

“You tell me, Stiles. You tell me.” she says, steadily, like something’s dawned on her.

“Lyds?”

Lydia gets up, casts him a quick look, and then smiles. “I’ll tell you later.”

And with that she walks over to the other girls.

———-

 

Kira finds him in the library one day, half asleep.

“It’s funny…”

Stiles jerks upright, almost falling off his chair as he flails. “Fuck!”

Kira catches him, apologetic, the sadness in her eyes lessening slightly. “Sorry.”

At the sight of her, Stiles’ mouth dries up. He feels extremely self-conscious, all of a sudden.

Kira sighs, sits down opposite him.

“You were saying?” Stiles manages, his feet tapping a nervous staccato against the floor.

“No, I just…” Kira shakes her head. “It’s funny how you- I mean. You think of yourself so lowly, and still manage to…”

“Is this about the rating thing?” Stilles blurts out, anxiously. “Because whatever Lydia told you, I am not on the verge of suicide.”

Kira blinks, then looks like she’s kind of relieved this is where the conversation’s headed. “It’s not. Although, you know.”

“I know what?”

“For an apparent nine, you’re pretty popular.” Kira admits, looking down at the table.

“I am?” Stiles must sound as bewildered as he feels, because Kira looks up and smiles a little.

“Well, yes. Malia, Lydia, the weird thing with Isaac-”

“Okay, let me just point out that was purely one-sided werewolf sexual tension.” Stiles interjects, making her smile seem a little less forced.

“-Not to mention the weird Derek thing-”

“There was totally no weird Derek thing.”

Kira raises a brow.

“All right, there was a weird Derek thing, but like, nothing ever came of it. Probably just more werewolf sexual tension. Or he was just offended that for all his glaring people still got more scared of my weird rambling than of him.” Stiles says in a rush, turning thoughtful towards the end.

“I doubt it was that last one.” Kira replies, lightly amused now.

“It could be, though. Wait, that would also explain all the unwarranted comments about my-” Stiles stops abruptly, remembering his audience. “Sorry. Forgot you weren’t Scott.”

Kira flinches, and Stiles feels like kicking himself.

“Sorry, god, I’m not used to being a decent human being, apparently.” Stiles stutters, but Kira waves his concerns away.

“It’s fine.”

And then, firmly, more to herself than to him: “It’s not your fault, anyway.”

“Uh, thanks?” Stiles answers, because, like, duh.

Kira smiles.

——-

 

Okay. Okay. Maybe Stiles is…kind of thinking. About…things.

Because, like.

Everyone is being weird with him. Lydia is being infuriating and Kira is being sad and Malia looks like she wants to grab him and shake him and Liam is always glancing between him and Scott with a worried look and Scott is avoiding him and it’s really fucking annoying.

And so he thinks back to Scott’s weird conversation and Kira’s weird one and then thinks “oh.”.

Because if Stiles had something to do with the breakup, it would explain the rest.

Except how on Earth he could have had something to do with the breakup, he doesn’t know. The only thing he can think of is that Kira really hated him and Scott felt bad and dumped her, but Kira doesn’t really hate him (he thinks), so that’s not it.

It hits him like a bus when it does.

Lydia’s conversation with him in the car. His subsequent conversation with Scott. His awkward conversation with Scott. His weird conversation with Kira.

He bursts into Lydia’s house furiously, rushing into her room without knocking, livid and betrayed beyond belief.

Lydia gives him a wide-eyed look, from where she’s lying in bed on her phone, but Stiles isn’t in the mood for niceties.

“You fucking convinced Scott I was in love with him.” Stiles hisses, seeing red.

Lydia stares at him, mouth open, before going: “Stiles, no, that’s not-”

“You convinced Scott I was in love with him, and he felt guilty and told Kira, and they broke up because of you being a- a conniving asshole that can’t stop fucking with people’s lives because she thinks it’s funny!” Stiles practically roars, shaking with rage and humiliation. “What the fuck is wrong with you, Lydia?!”

Lydia shrinks into herself, and it takes him a moment to register she’s scared of him.

It startles him enough that his mouth snaps shut, and Lydia takes the opportunity to interrupt. “Stiles, that’s not- I would never do that!”

“Then how do you explain all of this?” Stiles bites out, unwilling to give in to her shaky voice but hoping despite himself that he’s wrong.

“I don’t know!” Lydia says, miserably. “I don’t, Stiles, honestly! I never told- I wouldn’t do that, I swear.”

Stiles looks at her, hard.

And then his shoulders drop wearily, and his anger dissipates into something more messy and stressful, and he feels old.

“Sorry.” Stiles says, regret seeping through his words.

He half-expects Lydia to coldly slam the door in his face, and sees her consider doing it, but then something akin to pity flashes through her eyes and she sighs.

“It’s okay. I…I thought of it, too.”

Stiles raises a perplexed brow.

“Not that I’d told them, dumbass.” Lydia huffs. “That..I don’t know, that I let something slip and they misunderstood. Stiles, I really wouldn’t pull something like that.”

The last part is half a plea, and Stiles feels shame wash over him.

“I know. I know. I just- I don’t get how-”

“It’s like there’s something off. Like you’re almost there, but-”

“One of the factors just doesn’t fit right.” Stiles finishes. They look at each other.

“Stiles..” Lydia starts, slowly. “What if…”

“What if Scott thinks I’m in love with him because of me?” Stiles interrupts, horrified.

“That’s not what-” Lydia starts, then stops. “Stiles?”

Stiles’ mind is racing, and he’s looking back, and fuck, what if Scott does think that, he could, maybe Scott was the one who told Kira, maybe that’s what happened-

“It doesn’t…” Stiles starts, frowning, looking at Lydia in annoyance. “It doesn’t make sense, why would Scott start thinking that now, I’ve been acting the same with him as always-”

Lydia is also frowning, almost in concern, but she’s silent, watching him with shadowed features.

“I mean, unless- Unless he only started noticing how I act now, because of the conversation, but he acts the same, so it’s not like he’d assume..” Stiles trails off. That’s not quite true. Scott doesn’t act the same. Not exactly.

It’s Stiles who’s always chasing after Scott, always clinging, always counting on Scott to fix his fuckups, always looking to Scott as an ideal, always-

“Lyds,” Stiles says, shaky. “Scott and I aren’t that weird, are we?”

“I mean,” Lydia says, tone soothing. “You’re a great deal more…fused than anyone else I know. But you’re Scott and Stiles. It’s not weird.”

“Lyds,” Stiles says, actually shaking now. “Is it normal that- is it normal for Scott and Stiles that I- I act like-”

“Like Scott is the sun itself?” Lydia says, gently. “It’s.” She pauses, shaking her head, like she’s searching for the right thing to say, like there’s only one way this conversation will end the way it’s meant to. “It’s what you do.”

Stiles goes: ‘Fuck. Shit. Fuck.”

“Lyds,” Stiles whispers, into the awful quiet, “I think Scott might be kind of right.”

Lydia says: “I know.” and Stiles sinks slowly to the floor.

“Fuck, Lyds, fuck.”

He hears her clamber out of bed, sees her by his side, feels the murmur of her voice next to him, and all he can think of is Scott and how much of a fuckup he is.

———-

 

Once he’s thought of it, of course, he can’t fucking get the thought out of his head.

He’s miserable all week, trying his best to get over himself and failing miserably, all whilst Lydia is unusually understanding and kind.

There are so many things he’s always just assumed were fine with Scott-and-Stiles, but now that Scott’s seen them and apparently thought them Wrong, he feels sick just knowing them.

How could he not have noticed his own stupid emotions? How it hurts to see Scott hurt, more than it should, and how he laughs when Scott laughs, more than he should, and how he’s always wanting to touch him, to ruffle his hair and tug at his sleeve and poke his foot and be near him at all times, and how he knows him by heart, head to toe, and how fond he is of all the dumbest things about him, and how he worries more about Scott’s happiness than his own life, and what an obvious and glaring crush he’s had on his best friend since they were probably like twelve.

He doesn’t know if he can even use the word crush, really. ScottAndStiles has always been far more than light teenage emotions, so chalking them down to “crush” feels blasphemous.

But he doesn’t even want to begin thinking about the Other words, so he sticks to crush and hates himself for it.

 

It’s a horrible week.

Stiles is avoiding Scott and Scott is avoiding Stiles (god, he’s ruined everything, and Scott probably hates him now), and everyone else is unhappy about it but too uncomfortable to interfere, and he flukes two tests and almost has a panic attack in the lockers.

Saturday night, he’s sitting across his dad, poking at some spaghetti, when the Sheriff speaks up.

“Stiles, is everything okay?”

Stiles looks up.

His dad looks worried (doesn’t he always) and faintly awkward, his hands knotted together. “I understand if you don’t want to…can’t talk about it. God knows there are things…I just…”

Stiles clears his throat, says: “I’m fine, dad, it’s not that kind of thing.”

His father looks slightly relieved, and god, he looks so old and fragile, Stiles needs him to be okay.

“Dad, uh,” he begins, then falters. He can’t say “what would you do if you realised you liked your friend as more than a friend” because a) it’s really, really cliché b) he is not a ten year old and c) his father will immediately know it’s about Scott.

“If you realised that you acted like- or thought, or felt, something, uh, differently from what you thought you did, and it turned out other people knew that before you saw that, and that meant those people felt bad and did things that made everyone unhappy, what would you do?”

His father stares at him, completely lost. Stiles isn’t surprised. No one ever really gets his jumbled way of talking, except Scott, which is a bad thing to think about right now.

“I mean- okay, like. I discovered I’d been doing something I didn’t know about, and it turns out other people knew, and they did something. And now everything is uncomfortable and people are upset.” Stiles tries, and this time his dad frowns like he’s thinking about it.

“You’re not a werewolf too, are you?” is what he asks first. Stiles snorts, can’t help the faint trace of humour in his voice when he replies: “Not yet.”

His dad nods, half-jokingly reassured, before answering: “I think…If these people did something upsetting, because of something you didn’t even know about, you should talk it through with them. And it’s not your fault.”

Stiles bites his lip, sucks in a breath. “Thanks, dad.”

His father doesn’t reply, looking at him with concern etched deeply in his frown.

———-

 

Stiles is on his way to Chemistry when someone grabs his arm.

He makes a surprised noise, whirling around, and then burns red hot all over because Scott's the one who grabbed him.

"Stiles," Scott begins, looking serious and anxious and tired.

"I have class, like, right now." Stiles says, stumbling backwards.

"Stiles." Scott says, more insistent now.

"No, really, I've already failed a test in Chem, I really have to go, dude-"

"We need to talk." Scott says, gravely, and Stiles' heart drops.

He wonders if Scott's Spidey-senses can sense just how scared he is right now.

"Right. Sure. Of course. Talking." Stiles jabbers, and then stops.

Scott gestures outside, and Stiles follows.

Like he always does.

-----

 

Scott keeps walking until they're off the school grounds, until they're in the woods, like he doesn't really want to stop walking and start talking. Stiles can sympathize, but he's also not very fond of this part of the woods, because the memories he has of it are not his own.

He doesn't say anything, though, wary of the verbal puke that will most definitely happen if he opens his mouth.

Scott stops abruptly, and Stiles smashes into his back, clutching at his nose as he jumps away.

Scott whirls around, winces, extends a hand like he's going to help and then jerks it back again.

Stiles feels like he's been slapped.

"Sorry." Scott says, in an alien voice, and Stiles rubs at his nose and shrugs. He'd been dreading the talking, but now he finds he can't even make his throat work.

"Stiles, listen," Scott starts, not looking at him. "There's- I noticed something, right, a while back, and I- I don't- I mean, I'm not like a hundred percent sure about it, but generally-"

Scott pauses, looks at him pleadingly, like Stiles will interrupt. "It's not...easy to say, but."

He's breaking up with him. Scott is friend dumping him.

Stiles is going to die right there, in agony, as the world starts spinning around him.

"It's fine." he chokes out hastily, before Scott can say a word. "I know."

Scott looks taken aback, then crestfallen. "You...you do? Is that why you've been avoiding me?"

You've been avoiding me too, Stiles thinks childishly, and it stings so bad, and next thing he knows it's all pouring out of him in anguished frustration.

"It's fine Scott, okay, I get it, I fucked up, I ruined like the only good thing I have in my life, I'm sorry I messed it up. I never meant for this shit to happen, but obviously I'm too much of a failure to have realized it, and you should really get back with Kira, okay, and I'll stay away, I get it. Don't feel bad, please, it's not your fault, Scott, it's mine, for having this stupid thing for you without even knowing, and I just- I hope you won't hate me, but it's cool if you do, right, I get it."

Scott is frozen when Stiles finally runs out of steam, pale and gobsmacked.

Stiles gets the feeling he'll start crying if he doesn't leave, so he takes a last look at his best friend and manages a: "Bye." before scuffling backwards.

Then he turns and runs, and runs out of the woods, and he can hear Scott shouting "STILES!" after him, but he's far enough that it doesn't matter, so Stiles clambers over the school fence and runs to class to go pick up his stuff.

The door opens loudly, and the whole class stares at him, teacher included.

She seems about to complain for a moment, then her expression changes. "Stiles? Is everything all right?"

Stiles is stuffing his things into his bad aggressively, and doesn't respond until Malia tentatively pokes his arm.

Then he looks up, and feels his his cheeks turn wet, and mumbles out a "I'm going home." before running out again, away, to his dad's office.

By the time he reaches his dad, he's in tears, and Sheriff Stilinski turns around with a look of surprise that morphs into worry and then quiet reassurance when Stiles drops the bag and clings to him desperately.

Stiles stays at home for the next week.

------

 

He has a million missed calls and texts, but he's convinced his dad not to let anyone in, especially not Scott (and he doesn't want to think about the sadness in his father's eyes when it came to that one), so he stays cut off from the world, curled up in his room.

Stiles feels numb.

On the sixth day after the "breakup", Stiles bothers to get up and check his messages.

Most are from Lydia and Malia, and then fifty percent are from Scott.

Stiles hovers, then blocks him.

Lydia's most recent reads "Please, Stiles, we can't lose you both", and Stiles flinches and puts the phone down.

He can't even remember life before Scott. How can he begin to imagine life without him?

----

 

Stiles goes back to school.

His father would let him stay longer, probably (Stiles bets he's called Melissa McCall), but he has nothing to distract him at home.

School isn't much better. The whole population of Beacon Heights have heard of the fight by now, and people Stiles has literally never spoken to keep coming to ask him how he's handling it. He doesn't answer their inquiries, and coldly ignores all his friends. Completely.

Malia bites his arm at some point, to get his attention, and Stiles just blocks her out.

Scott looks like shit. His eyes are red-rimmed and there are bruise-coloured swabs under them, and his hair is a mess and he looks pale. He looks like Stiles, basically.

It's very hard completely tuning him out, especially when he ends up turning around to say, in a dead monotone: "Look, I'm trying to learn something, could you please shut up?" and watching Scott jerk back.

He wanders through school in a daze.

----

 

Kira comes up to him a week later, as he's about to disappear into his first class.

"Stiles!" she shouts, as she walks closer.

Stiles has barely turned towards her when her first connects with his eye, making him swear in pain as he drops his bag.

Kira looks vaguely repentant, but steams on over Stiles's teary-eyed hurt. "Talk to Scott, you- you asshole."

Stiles grunts, stands up, looks at her and winces. "I'm good."

"No," Kira says, Kitsune style glint in her eyes. "No you're not."

Stiles curses under his breath, but lets himself be pushed outside and towards the woods with minor struggling.

(He's kind of desperate to see Scott, anyway, which is pretty pathetic but unsurprising.)

----

 

It's vaguely sickening the way his heart throbs when he finally find himself alone with Scott again.

He misses Scott. Simple as that. It's not the stupid love thing (or maybe it is, who knows, maybe what Stiles has taken for kinship all these years has just been that on his part), even, it's just Scott. Stiles and he are always together, at least mentally. After the past few instances of their separation (Scott off with the pack, Stiles in Eichen House, Theo), Stiles swore to himself he'd never let something get between them again.

Of course he turns out to be the very thing that gets between them.

Scott's werewolf senses must sense his inner melodrama, because he turns around and then jolts upon seeing Stiles.

Scott has no right, Stiles thinks furiously, to look that openly relieved to see him.

"Hey," Scott says, and he sounds like he's about to explode with trepidation.

What now, Stiles thinks.

Out loud, he goes: "Hi" in a voice that's croaky from lack of use.

Scott falters, but then he sets his jaw (Scott language for Cutting Out The Bullshit) and seems to steel himself, if apprehensively. "Okay, first off, please don't run off before I'm finished." is what he says first, sounding dead serious and also a bit anxious about it.

Stiles licks his lips. "Sure. Yeah."

Scott fidgets. "Okay. Okay." He exhales, runs a hand through his hair.

Stiles knew he'd ruined things, but he'd never thought he'd fucked up badly enough to make Scott this uncomfortable around him.

"Uh. Stiles." Scott says, and then, rushed: "So, right. The other day, when we were talking, and you sort of shouted at me and ran off, I- I mean, I thought you said- but, like, I might be wrong, I just want to check."

Stiles closes his eyes, and feels like a man about to drive a Kitsune blade through his own abdomen.

"Yeah." Stiles exhales, then opens his eyes reluctantly.

Scott is staring at him, with expectant eyes, and he looks nervous and hopeful and it doesn't make sense. He's probably hoping he misunderstood.

Well, too late now.

"Yeah, no. You understood it right. Lydia was right, and you were right, and like every fucking person that's ever met me was right. I'm a pathetic fuck who can't even maintain a proper friendship, because I'm apparently head over fucking heels for you." Stiles grits out, and then his head reels a bit because he hadn't even really said that last part to himself yet.

He's not looking at Scott anymore.

"Right," Scott says, distantly, sounding a bit winded. "Right, that's- I mean, I thought that's what you said, but I didn't want to-"

"Assume the worst?" Stiles interrupts, cooly. His eyes flick upwards to meet Scott's.

"No," Scott says, very earnestly, and there's something very Stiles about the way he's shaking a bit all over. "No, that's not it at all, it's-"

He clears his throat. "It's kind of the opposite, actually."

Stiles stares, and then hurt anger like he hasn't felt in a long time stabs through his heart, and he feels a distant darkness hiss within him, luring him in, promising easy vengeance. "

Funny." Stiles spits out, at last, hands balling into fists, words like pure acid on his tongue. "Really fucking funny, Scott, I'm glad I'm such a hilarious joke to you guys."

"What?" Scott says, bewildered, then alarmed. "Stiles, no, I'm not making fun of you."

"Right, yeah, of course." Stiles says, voice rising, as the Nogitsune laughs from afar. "Of course! Because it's not like you're Scott fucking McCall, right, it's not like you can afford to pull this shit, it's not like I might actually care about the fact that I completely destroyed the friendship I cared about the most-"

"Stiles, I'm being serious!" Scott cuts him off, and Stiles almost feels like believing him.

"Scott, I'm not fucking stupid, okay?" Stiles laughs, humourlessly. "You're about a million times out of my league, without even mentioning the fucking rating scale-"

"Stiles, what are you on about?!" Scott almost yells, finally cutting him off. "I don't even- I'm not out of- what rating scale?"

 

Of course.

Of course it's the rating scale they're talking about. Stiles swears he's never using that thing again.

"It's- out of twenty. How hot, or aesthetically pleasing or whatever, the person is."

Scott blinks, so Stiles offers: "So, for example, Lydia's a nineteen, and Derek's an eighteen, and so on."

He can't believe they're having this conversation now, of all times.

"So, what? What does that have to do with you?" Scott asks, looking bemused.

"Are you kidding me?" Stiles asks, incredulous. "Have you seen us?"

Scott blinks.

"All right, fine- what would you rate me?" Stiles asks, patiently, like he's talking to a child.

"I don't know," Scott says, looking perplexed, before giving him a once-over. "A- a twenty?"

"Exactly," Stiles starts, then chokes. "What?!"

Scott holds his hands up defensively: "Or not! Not a twenty, then!"

"Scott, are you blind?" Stiles sputters, gesturing between them. "You're a twenty! That's what a twenty looks right, okay, I'm, like, a nine!"

"Don't be ridiculous," Scott says, pulling a face. "You're definitely a twenty."

"Oh my god. Are you for real? I am so not a twenty. I look neurotic and depressed and generally like a fifty year old crack addict. You, on the other hand, glow like you're in a Beyonce video 24/7." Stiles argues, anger forgotten in face of Scott's stupidity.

"You do not look like a crack addict!" Scott retorts, crossing his arms disapprovingly. "You're really fucking cute. And you have nice eyes. And a great smile."

"Look who's talking!" Stiles exclaims, waving his hands in the air. "You have fucking dimples! And permanently white teeth! And amazing hair!"

Scott looks offended (and yeah, he does look hot while offended, because that's what Scott fucking does) and then states: "You have no right to talk about hair. Your hair is just-" He makes a frustrated noise.

Stiles is about to retort when the absurdity of their situation hits him and his words die on his lips.

The same realisation seems to hit Scott a moment later, because they both fall silent still in their respective annoyed positions, staring.

Stiles’ arms drop from where they were flailing about, and he feels like he could be sick.

This was not expected. This was not expected at all.

“A twenty, though? Seriously?”

It’s not what he was trying to say, at all, but the moment he says it he desperately needs to know the answer.

Scott opens his mouth, closes it, fidgets. “Well, yeah. You’re Stiles.”

Every single assumption Stiles has made about the situation flies out of the window, leaving him with a blank mind and an apparent lack of vocabulary.

“I’m-”

He’s blushing. Why the hell is he blushing? Stiles doesn’t even blush that easily.

Scott looks vaguely awestruck.

Right, Stiles thinks. Sure. Why not.

“Scott, you’re serious.” It comes out as half a question and half an uncertain statement.

“Yeah. I mean, yes. I’m- okay, like. I thought you might’ve figured it out and avoided me because of it. After I broke up with Kira.” Scott answers, hesitantly, guiltily.

“Wait, you broke up with Kira because of..? I thought it was because you thought I- and you felt awkward about it or something! That’s why I avoided you in the first place!” Stiles bursts out, incredulous.

“What? Why would I avoid you for something that dumb?” Scott asks, and then shakes his head: “No, I thought you figured out about me and it made you uncomfortable!”

“We’re so stupid.” Stiles mutters, rubbing at his eyes. “To think we’ve scarred Liam with a pseudo-divorce because of this shit.”

Scott snorts.

It’s dumb- neither of them have actually outright confessed to anything. Stiles is waiting for Scott, and Scott’s waiting for Stiles.

“So, uh, how do you know that you don’t- that this isn’t just you being overly friendly?” Stiles finally asks, before he can scream and hide his face in the ground or something.

It’s Scott turn to turn faintly red, and the way Stiles’ heart does an acrobatic fucking pirouette at that makes him question how he didn’t notice any of this a long time ago.

"Stiles, friends don't- friends aren't like you and me. I-" Scott cuts himself off, gives him a look, then pushes on: "I'm, like, constantly thinking about you, to the extent that when dating Kira I though about you more than her. I would do anything..." He bites his lip. "And I keep having these weird thoughts, which thinking back were pretty fucking obvious signs, about your- your hair and shit, I don't know."

Scott looks away. "When Theo- when I- I didn't think you would ever forgive me. I'd given up on our friendship because I was a stupid asshole, so I wasn't going to complain if you..." He pauses. "The thing was, though, I just couldn't imagine what I'd do if you were gone. Not just in a dramatic way, either- I literally couldn't imagine life without, you know. Us."

Stiles has no answer to that.

"So, yeah." Scott mumbles, running a hand through his hair. "That's...that."

Stiles can't actually answer, so he stands there with wide eyes, staring at Scott and probably looking like he's about to pass out. (If Scott ever dares tell him he's a twenty again, Stiles will hit him. And break his hand in the process.)

Scott looks flustered and kind of concerned.

Stiles makes a super-human effort to regain his voice. "I-" he begins, at a loss for words. He always forgets Scott actually sort of sees Stiles like Stiles sees Scott. "I don't think I can use my brain right now. Give me, like, a week."

Scott smiles, relief and amusement flashing through his eyes, and then he gnaws at his lip. "So, uh. What do we do now?"

 

He's asking Stiles, like Stiles should know. Scott always expects the impossible from Stiles.

"Same as we always do, I guess." Stiles replies, shrugging. "Except like-"

This whole scenario is so far away from what Stiles expects of life that his systems don't seem to have any solutions. Stiles' attempts at improvisation usually result in chaos.

"Can I, like-" Stiles starts, then waves his hands around. He can't do this.

"Can you?" Scott asks, brow furrowed.

They're standing here, in this stupid fucking forest, and Stiles has literally been possessed before. He can do this.

"Can I, uh, kiss you?" Stiles manages, and promptly wants to shoot himself in the face. What the fuck, Stilinski.

Scott's eyes widen, and he sputters a response, and Stiles tries to discreetly be swallowed by the earth.

And then Scott goes "Yeah, uh, yes. Sure."

Stiles freezes.

“…This is probably going to be really awkward."

Scott pulls a face like he's agreeing, but his shoulders are hunched with anticipation.

"Like, super awkward. Oh-my-god-why-am-I-doing-this awkward. I just feel like you should be warned." Stiles says, shuffling forward a bit.

This is so fucking awkward and tense he might die.

"Please don't." Scott says, half-serious, after Stiles realises he said that out loud.

"Right, uh." Stiles takes a nervous breath. He's standing close to Scott now. "Okay."

Hurriedly, because otherwise he'll lose his nerve, he flings his arms around Scott's neck to pull him down, snaps his eyes shut, and kisses him.

Scott makes a muffled, surprised noise that sends a jolt down Stiles' spine, and then he relaxes.

It doesn't last long at all, because Stiles feels on the verge of passing out, so he pulls away and drops his arms and stares.

"Right." Stiles croaks out, dizzy and overwhelmed. "That happened."

Scott's cheeks are tinged with red, his eyes wide and shimmering, and Stiles doesn't think he can deal with that.

He and Scott just....

He and Scott just...

Scott makes a weird noise, and Stiles goes "What?" in a slightly panicked tone.

"No, it's just..." Scott begins, looking down. He sounds vaguely embarrassed.

"Your heartbeat is really loud."

Stiles' heartbeat, ironically, speeds up even more, cheeks now aflame, and Scott swallows hard.

"Well, yeah." Stiles says. "I'm not surprised it i-"

It's Scott's turn to cut him off, closing the space between them and kissing him purposefully. Stiles' knees go weak, so he grips onto Scott's shoulders, and kisses him back.

If he'd thought the last time was overwhelming, this was a thousand times worse (or better). Stiles hasn't properly kissed anyone since Malia, and most definitely not a guy (especially not Scott). He's half-forgotten how awesome kissing is- and Scott is good at kissing just like he's good at everything in his life.

So their noses bump once or twice, and Scott's freakishly strong hold on him is a little too tight, but it's good. It's all good.

 

This time, when they pull apart, it's from Stiles' lack of oxygen.

Even Scott seems a little out of breath, although that's probably more from the situation than an actual physical need.

Stiles doesn't really move away, though, breathing heavily and staring at Scott, still clutching on to him.

Scott gives an incredulous laugh, and Stiles follows, and they both end up giggling, still holding on to each other, shaking with kind of hysterical mirth.

Stiles rates the situation a hundred out of ten.

---

 

"Okay, so." Stiles says, as they head back to school, arm swinging loosely and bumping into Scott's. "Just us, plus kissing. I'm cool with that."

"Super cool with that." Scott agrees, grinning.

"Can we try and not tell the others? That would be hilarious. Think of how angry Lydia would be." Stiles muses, half a plan starting to form in his head.

"Kira would kill me." Scott winces, guilt lessening the smile in his voice.

"Yeah, she kind of punched me this morning." Stiles grimaces, rubbing at his cheek. "Nevermind that, then."

"Besides, I kind of want to tell people." Scott shrugs. "My mom will be insufferable, though."

"So will my dad." Stiles agrees, stopping. "Oh, my God, my dad will never let me live."

Scott snorts, reaching back to tug Stiles after him. "You'll survive."

"Are you sure, though? Because I'm not." Stiles argues, stumbling after him. "Although, actually, can you imagine how Coach will react?"

Scott stops, turns to look at him, identical looks on their faces.

"We have to tell him ASAP." Scott says, extremely seriously.

"Do you think he'll have an aneurysm?" Stiles asks, raising a brow. "He's not a very healthy man."

Scott laughs, starts walking again.

His hand's still wrapped loosely around Stiles' wrist. Stiles doesn't attempt to wriggle loose.

The school's already in front of them by the time Scott breaks the silence. "You are a twenty, though."

Stiles gives him an affronted look. "For a werewolf, you're pretty damn blind, McCall."

"For a genius, you're pretty damn stupid, Stilinski."

Stiles cracks a bit, biting his lip as he smiles and kicking Scott in the shins.

"So I have this idea, right?"

"Here we go again..." Scott groans, but he's smiling too, so Stiles doesn't really give a shit.

"No, okay, but hear me out-"

——

 

"Do you think Stiles is dead?" Malia asks, bored, as she picks at her lunch.

"Why Stiles in particular?" Lydia questions, brow raised.

"Well, Scott doesn't do the dead thing that well, does he?" Malia answers, examining the stew suspiciously.

Kira snorts, and Lydia inclines her head in concession.

"I really hope I didn't fuck things up," Kira sighs, looking down at her hands. "I sort of punched Stiles in the face earlier."

"You what?" Lydia exclaims, wide-eyed. Malia whoops.

Kira shrinks into her seat, before Lydia continues: "Congratulations. We all wish we could punch Stiles."

Kira gives a surprised laugh, and Malia nods enthusiastically.

"Not, like, all the time. Just once."

Lydia sips her drink, making a gesture of agreement, and then the intercom crackles and turns on.

 

 

"Greetings, student body!" Stiles' voice says, cheerfully.

Lydia blinks. There's some commotion as the lunch hall settles down, and then expectant silence.

"Sorry to interrupt your fantastic lunch," Stiles continues, sarcastically, "But we have a rapid announcement to make."

There's noise in the background, and then Scott's voice pipes up, fainter than Stiles. "Hurry up, Stiles, they don't need a monologue."

"I'm offended by the insinuation that people exist who don't appreciate my stunning w- ow, fuck!"

The last part is more of a yelp than anything, and a grumble of laughter ensues in the cafeteria.

"Great, now I'm going to get in trouble for swearing and disruptive use of the school equipment." Stiles mutters, and then clears his throat.

"Oh my god, shut up." Scott snorts, as Lydia shakes her head in exasperation.

"Right- we just wanted to tell you, officially, before the gossip mill got there," Stiles starts, as the whole student body stiffens expectantly, "That the rumour that we got married in Vegas is totally, one hundred percent legit. No joke."

"I hate you." Scott groans, in the background.

There's a loud clamour amongst the students, and Lydia gives Kira a sharp look. What if-

"Shit, no, get off, get off-" Stiles cries, and then, over the sound of a scuffle: "Okay, okay, no, we're actually not married-“

"We're dating." Scott says, exasperated. "Ta-da."

Chaos breaks out amidst the students, whistling and stomping shaking the walls of the mess hall.

"We are married, technically," Stiles says, over the noise. "Remember that time when we were like six and you propo-"

Scott lets out a half-frustrated, half-amused growl, and then the audio cuts off abruptly, leaving the cafeteria to its shouting.

"Fuck yeah." Malia grins, gnawing on Kira's steak. "That asshole guy from the pizza place totally owes me money now."

Kira's cheeks are faintly pink, but she's smiling with a hint of her usual grin, looking at Lydia.

Lydia exhales, slowly. Allison was right.

--—

 

She catches up with the duo as they escape the mob, just before P.E. starts.

"Hi, Lyds." Stiles says, nervous yet grinning. Scott smiles sheepishly.

Lydia smacks them both over the head with her textbook, and then, while they wince, goes: "Fucking finally."

"Still a nine." Stiles warns, his eyes flicking to Scott.

"Don't listen to him. He's delusional." Scott says, calmly, flinging an arm around Stiles' shoulders.

"I'm warning you. If you end up being the gross couple, I will disown you." Lydia threatens, only half-joking.

"Aren't we already?" Stiles asks, tongue in cheek, grinning widely at Lydia's groan.

"I'm the hot girl." Scott confirms, with a smothered smirk.

"Useless, the both of you." Lydia mutters, but she doesn't complain when Stiles and Scott reel her in for a hug.

She does, however, escape quickly when she hears Coach give a strangled scream.

"STILINSKI! McCALL! DO YOU HAVE SOMETHING YOU'D LIKE TO SHARE?"

Scott snickers, and Stiles' eyes light up with malicious glee.

Coach doesn't stand a chance.