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Find The Mark, Let It Be

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Everyone has a soulscar.

It is something Stiles learns when he’s five. Their kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Watson, sits them all down one afternoon, the whole group of children forming a slightly uneven circle on the wooden floor and, leaning a bit so that the kids can look her in the face without craning their necks too much, tells them anything she considers crucial for a five-year-old to know about the topic.

It’s just some basic stuff, he supposes, things most – or at least some of them – are already aware of, but the kids listen to her in silence either way, wide eyed and absolutely enchanted, Stiles included.

“One person can only have one soulscar, but they all look very different,” she tells them, rolling up the sleeve of her blue shirt and exposing her own mark. It’s an undefined shape, kind of artistic looking, purple, made up of a handful of lines and arches and curves. It’s nice, Stiles decides.

A couple of children gasp at the sight of the symbol; Mrs. Watson smiles gently, amused.

“You should know that soulscars are very, very special and very, very important,” she says, her mark still visible. Stiles nods, trying to focus, since the matter is so serious. Mrs. Watson holds up a finger. “There’s only one person in the world whose mark will match your own, but you shouldn’t strain and look for them too hard. Soulmates will always find each other. Remember that, okay?”

The kids nod again, harder this time. Stiles can feel the excitement in the air.

He’s never really thought about the soulscars before, not really. He has already known that they existed, or he’s been aware, more like, somewhere in the back of his head. His parents have soulscars – both in the middles of their right palms. Julie, his Mom’s friend has one - a small, grey half circle on her left cheek, and Mr. Olsen, the owner of the grocery store closest to their house, has a soulscar, too, on the inside of his wrist – it’s a simple green triangle. Even some of the kids in his class have them – behind their ears, on their temples, collarbones; there’s even a boy whose mark’s on the very fingertip of his left pinkie, a tiny five-pointed white star.

So he knows that they exist and that when two people are soulmates, their marks look the same, but he’s never really paid much attention to it.

Some of his classmates look like they haven’t, either, because their eyes are wide, mouth slightly parted, and they stare at Mrs. Watson in abrupt recognition, subconsciously leaning forward to get a little bit closer to the beautiful and suddenly fascinating mark on their teacher’s arm, to examine it better. Stiles wonders if Mrs. Watson thinks they look funny like that, but when he peers up at her to check, everything he discovers is an amused, soft smile on her lips.

It widens, growing even gentler when one of the girls raises her hand, shifting her weight.

“Yes, Amanda?”

Amanda lets her arm drop.

“Does your husband have a soulscar, too?” she asks, all excited, looking at Mrs. Watson expectantly. “Is it the same as yours?”

The woman nods, an answer to both questions.

“Everybody has a soulscar,” she says, repeating so that it sinks in. “Me, my husband. Your parents. You, too.”

Amanda smiles at her brightly, dimples showing, and then instinctively puts a lock of her dark hair behind her ear. Stiles notices her fingertips brushing over a little violet flower on her neck.

He can’t help but wonder when his own soulscar will appear.

 


 

 

He’s seven when he learns that it doesn’t really work like that.

The knowledge comes gradually, slowly, mentioned by different people, hints dropped here and there until he finally manages to put the whole picture together, comprehend its meaning, and when he does, it surprises him, even though it, as Stiles thinks later, really shouldn’t.

Because, apparently, soulscars don’t just appear. They are supposed to get imprinted on your skin the moment you’re born, a sign that you belong to someone else in this world from the very first second of your life, from the very first breath you draw. The mark is like a tattoo – because, although you can’t choose the pattern or the colour or the place it will stay in, you can’t get rid of it, either. Stiles learns that there are places his peers wish they had their soulscars – rare places, extraordinary for the signs to surface in, like foreheads or earlobes – and that there are areas where the marks can be seen very often, like shoulder blades, chests or a back of somebody’s hand.

It’s not that much of an issue, though, seven-year-old Stiles thinks. He doesn’t know what happened to his soulscar, why it’s not anywhere on his skin, but that shouldn’t be a problem, right? It shouldn’t be anyone’s business, where his mark is – or, rather, if he has it or not.

But apparently it is.

It’s on his very first day of primary school, and again – he should have seen it coming, even at the age of seven. It’s all completely normal in the beginning – and by ‘normal’ he means being incredibly stressed out, to the point of his Dad actually having to hug him tightly for a moment and repeat “You’re going to be okay, son,” three times before Stiles finally gives in, lets himself get dragged towards the classroom and forces himself to swallow a couple of times until his throat stops being so tight and closed up.

Among all the stress and nervousness, though, there’s a hint of excitement somewhere there, too. It’s something new, after all, Stiles is finally going to a real school, how cool is that? His dad’s hand is warm is his smaller one - he can feel it even after the touch is gone, even as he sits down in one of the middle rows in the classroom, his fingers subconsciously starting to tap a fast, unsteady rhythm on the desk as soon as he settles. He can already feel the thrill of something prickling at his skin, not really knowing if it’s a good or rather a bad thing.

He doesn’t know any of the faces, he finds as he looks around half-cautiously and full-curiously, but they become slightly less strange and unknown the moment the kids starts to introduce themselves, one by one. Stiles struggles a bit to remember them all, all the names and hobbies and favourite colours or siblings, mainly because he just can’t stop fidgeting in his chair, which leads to some troubles with concentrating as a result (and a brief frown the teacher sends his way), but he does manage to catch some names and those get stuck in his head, kind of.

There’s a girl whose name is Lydia Martin; she has long red hair and big brown eyes and is, Stiles thinks, the prettiest girl he’s seen in his life. No, actually – scratch “thinks”; he knows it the second he sees her, even though he’s never even paid attention to girls, up to this point at least. Her skin is nearly as pale as his own, but other than, they differ completely – he can see it right away; Lydia doesn’t have any moles, freckles, flaws in general and is as self-assures as she is beautiful – it shows in the way she sits, all still and confident, and pouts her lips just a little bit, her gaze skimming over each one of the kids before turning away.

There’s also a boy named Scott, and his eyes are brown, too, but the look in them is not as elusive as in Lydia’s. Scott’s eyes are warm, gleaming, and they remind Stiles of hot chocolate his mom makes in the winter when it’s cold and dark outside and he doesn’t want to go to sleep just yet. Scott seems a little nervous, too, just like Stiles himself, but that doesn’t stop him from smiling at everyone around, a shy, tentative but still nice smile that suits his features well. When his and Stiles’ eyes meet for a moment – just as Scott finishes introducing himself, a little tensely – Stiles actually tries and smiles back at him, and it’s enough for Scott’s eyes to glint and for him to beam.

There’s a boy called Vernon, dark-skinned and already taller than the rest of them; a girl, Sarah, with freckles all over her skin and, according to what she tells them, three little sisters; Thomas, who speaks so quietly Stiles barely catches his name and not much else; Jasper, fidgeting and squirming even more than him; at least a dozen of other children whose names Stiles doesn’t remember. They all seem amiable, though, enough for him to stop stressing out so much for a second and actually let himself hope that school will be fun.

Then, as quickly as he let his excitement grow, it gets cut short because it turns out that the very first thing his classmates do during their recess is compare soulscars.

They all gather in a huddle the very moment the sound of the bell announces a break, and somehow Stiles finds himself crammed into it before he gets a chance to as much as register what’s happening. They seem really eager to compare soulscars as quickly as possible, to lay their eyes on somebody else’s mark, see if it matches their own.

Because they all have one.

And fine, he knew that something was wrong but at the same time kept fooling himself into thinking that maybe the soulscar he was supposed to have was just… late or something. After all, Mom always says that he’s growing so fast right now – so Stiles figured that there’s a possibility his body just forgot about the mark for the time being, so busy with managing all these other changes instead. It’s going to show up eventually, he told himself every morning when he woke up with new hope to discover his soulscar upon looking in the bathroom mirror, only to discover absolutely nothing new.

Now, though – now the realisation strikes him, hits like a ton of bricks, because none of the other kids is still waiting for their mark to show up like he is. They all have one – Scott is rolling up his sleeve impatiently, Sarah brushes her fringe aside, some other girl pulls her blouse up.

The thrill of adrenaline – enthusiasm – he’d felt prickling at his skin is suddenly gone, and Stiles has no idea how, but just like that he realises, as some part of his brain yells at him – he can’t let them know he doesn’t have a soulscar.

He is kind of terrified, for some reason hidden deep inside his mind.

Luckily enough, he manages to force his way through the small crowd his peers’d formed, weaving his way through and somehow manoeuvring out. Stiles hopes to do it skilfully enough for no one to notice, and is almost successful as he gets to his seat unseen and uncaught, then pretends to look for something in his backpack, ignoring whatever is happening in the group he’s just left – the only person to catch a glimpse of him is Lydia herself, but she just eyes him curiously for a second before turning back to a short boy standing in front of her. Internally, Stiles feels incredibly grateful, nearly as much as he is nervous.

This desperate escape of his succeeds mainly thanks to Sarah, though, who gives a shout of both surprise and joy as she realises that hers and Jasper’s – the fidgeting boy’s –  soulscars actually turn out to match. Jasper flushes red upon the revelation, staring at the girl’s mark, a shape resembling willow leaf on her temple, and Sarah grins at him widely.

“We’re soulmates!” she exclaims, as if the rest of them didn’t already know, especially Jasper himself, who only ducks his head, clearly confused.

Stiles, even though he’s still pretending to not be interested in his colleagues’ actions, can’t ignore the applause the small crowd of children erupts into, all laughter and excited shouts and cheers.

He doesn’t wonder when his soulscar’s going to appear this time, but if it’s ever going to appear at all.

 


 

 

It takes him almost the whole ride home to finally gather up the courage and speak up.

“Dad,” he manages. Then the words get stuck in his throat.

His dad shoots him a quick glance in the rearviewmirror, not wanting to keep his eyes off the road for too long, and makes a sound that is probably meant to be a nonchalant version of “What?” but somehow comes out a little bit strangled and strange instead. “Hm?”

His dad is a policeman – a detective. He must’ve realised that something happened by now, and that it’s likely to have very little to do with the fact that it was his son’s first day at school. Or maybe he supposes that this is actually the issue – Stiles doesn’t know. What he does know is that Dad stopped trying to make a conversation after his fourth attempt because everything he managed to get out of Stiles about any possible events of the day was “It was okay.” Normally, the man’d be buried under the avalanche of his son’s questions and little stories and anecdotes and “Listen, dad, you’ll never guess what happened!” – they both know that. Stiles would expect him to get engrossed at whatever adventure his story would include within seconds, and he would bounce on his seat, squirm and talk on and on, only to rush out of the car and repeat everything to Mom as soon as the car rolls onto their driveway.

Instead, Stiles just sits still, staring a hole through the headrest of the car seat in front of him, and it’s so unusual for him that the little sound his dad makes when Stiles finally speaks up sounds packed with badly concealed relief.

Stiles fights the lump in his throat that formed there when he, apparently, wasn’t paying attention, because he can’t recall it growing to the point of where it indisposes forming words. Swallowing once, then twice, he reluctantly flits his gaze, only to focus on his own fingers, gripping the fabric of his pants with enough force for it to crumple.

“Why don’t I have a soulscar?”

It comes out rushed, hasty, and Stiles almost trips over the syllables as the sentence tumbles past his lips, but he feels a little bit lighter all the same, finally having asked the question out loud.

Maybe his dad will know, he thinks. Maybe there is something no one has told him about yet, some kind of condition vital for the mark to surface, rules he’ll make sure to play by when he hears about them at last. His dad’s known the answers to all his questions, every single inquiry his overly curious, nosy child’s ever managed to come up with –why the sky is blue, why cats don’t like dogs very much, how come birds fly. He’s bound to have a reply to this one as well, isn’t he?

Stiles, for the briefest second in his life, lets himself believe it’s the truth.  His dad will give him an answer he needs, fix things just like he always does, whether is a cut that needs treating or cheering Stiles up when he’s upset.

That’s why he moves his eyes from his hands, balled up into fists, and fixes his gaze on the rearviewmirror; full of hope, motionless.

His dad keeps his eyes on the road, focused, most obviously mulling over the question. He’s phrasing his answer right now, for sure, Stiles tells himself, he must be, because if his dad can’t tell him what happened to his mark, then no one can.

Stiles shifts his weight a little, and –

And then his dad flits his gaze to look at him, their eyes meeting for a split second, and all of a sudden it’s enough of an answer.

“I don’t know, son,” his dad says.

Stiles lets out a breath he didn’t realise he was holding, and the world starts spinning again.

Dad sounds wrong. Strange, unusual, and there’s something apologetic in his voice which makes Stiles feel ashamed that he even asked about the soulscar – or, more like, lack thereof – in the first place. It’s okay, he wants to tell him, if only for him to feel better, but then there’s a sting in his eyes and he’s not capable of forming words anymore.

In the end, he just nods, a tiny movement of his head, despite not being sure if his dad will be able to catch it at all. The words still echo in his mind when they finally get home, and in that very moment Stiles decides – he never wants to hear his dad’s voice like this again.

 


 

 

It takes him a week to make sure that he and Scott are definitely some kind of long-lost brothers, twins switched at birth even though they look nearly nothing alike, except for dark hair and brown eyes. They get along great – approximately from the moment they talk to each other for the very first time. Scott doesn’t mind that Stiles is fidgeting and jiggling half the time, running his mouth, all loud and probably annoying. Stiles doesn’t mind when Scott says something silly or bumps their shoulders too hard, on the edge of painful sometimes. Scott is his buddy, and they just work, the two of them, and it feels like he’s never going to need anyone else in his life.

That’s why Scott’s the first person aside from Stiles’ parents to find out about the soulscar.

It’s when they’re nine and in Scott’s room, during one of many, many sleepovers they are both so fond of. The world outside Scott’s bedroom window is already pitch-black, because they’ve been playing video games for too long and haven’t realised how late it’s gotten just until now. Melissa, Scott’s mom, is bound to be asleep by now, since she told them she had to go to sleep early due to her shift at the hospital the next morning and that she trusted – “Please, Scott” – they’d go to bed at reasonable time.

A job well done.

The digital clock on Scott’s bedside table lights up the numbers at the sight of which they quickly decide to turn off the game, Scott a little panicked that his mom’ll wake up and find them still awake – it’s 2:27 AM, the clock tells them. Stiles can’t remember the last time he was up at so late of an hour.

They get under the covers – Scott in his bed, Stiles on his mattress on the floor, loaded with blankets. He lies on his side, looking up, and watches as Scott stretches to turn off his bedside lamp.

In the flickering light, Stiles catches a glimpse of his friend’s soulscar – a little, pointed, golden arrow placed in the crook of his elbow he subconsciously rubs when focused on something.

Then, the dark swallows them both and he can’t see it anymore, but for some reason Stiles doesn’t move his gaze from the place he knows the mark is – and will always be – imprinted on Scott’s skin.

And then, mouth working around the words even before his mind catches up to the action, he asks, biting his tongue not quickly enough, “Do you ever think about your soulmate?”

He knows Scott can’t be asleep yet but at the same time a part of him hopes that he is.

“I… don’t know?” Scott speaks after what it feels like a second too soon, definitely awake. “I mean, yeah, sometimes. But it’s kind of hard to imagine this person, at least for now. Why?”

Stiles swallows, audibly in the silence of the room.

“Nothing,” he shrugs, then remembers that Scott can’t see him. “I just saw your soulscar and thought of it, that’s all.”

Scott hums in response, letting him now that he understands, but he doesn’t seem to plan on falling asleep just yet – Stiles knows him good enough to realise that. He snuggles down into the warmth of his blankets, nestles and wraps them tighter around himself, as if the fabric could ward off what he knows is coming.

It doesn’t help him much when, after a minute or so, Scott asks, “Do you?” because the blankets are just as weak of a shield as he expected. “Ever think about you soulmate?”

And the answer is yes, yes I do, but it doesn’t hold the same meaning as Scott’s. Stiles forbade himself from thinking about the lack of his mark, or at least have been trying to do so since becoming sure it’s definitely not going to appear. The thoughts still come sometimes – usually late at night, like right now, or very early in the morning when he’s still fuzzy from sleep – but he does his best to nip them in the bud.

Scott deserves to know, though, Stiles judges, automatically tensing up. He’s basically family at this point, and he wouldn’t laugh at him or mock him about it. They’re like brothers, he repeats in his mind, Scott’s his best friend. He’ll tell him. There’s no one who deserves to know more than Scott does.

“If I tell you something,” he speaks up, and his voice falters a little, and suddenly he’s so glad Scott can’t see him right now because he doubts he’s ever been so nervous in his life, “will you promise to keep… keep it a secret?”

In his own ears, his voice sounds pleading, unsteady, and he wonders if it sounds like that to Scott, too.

He can almost hear him frowning.

“Yeah,” his friend promises. “Of course.”

So Stiles inhales, shaky, then exhales, braces himself, and admits, his throat tight and voice weak, “I don’t have a soulscar.”

The words ring in quiet as Stiles waits, listening to the rush of blood in his head. Scott’s mattress creaks when he shifts his weight or moves.

“Wh… Wait, what?” Scott’s voice is a little too loud, and Stiles kind of wants to tell him not to yell because what if it wakes up his mom, but then the lamp on the bedside table flickers back to life and that clearly shows Scott doesn’t care about the volume of his voice at the moment. Stiles narrows his eyes because the light blinds him just a little. “It’s impossible, everybody has one!”

Stiles sits up slowly, gaze fixed on the green of one of the blankets, and shrugs. It’s very stiff. “I don’t. I don’t have it.”

Apparently, that’s the confirmation Scott needed, because now he only gapes at Stiles for a moment, eyes huge, mouth parted in disbelief. Then his gaze skims over those parts of Stiles’ body which aren’t covered by clothes or blankets – his forehead, then cheeks, the backs of his hands – only to find nothing because there’s no other possible choice. “But what happened? Did it vanish or – “

“No,” Stiles shakes his head, fumbling with the rim of a blanket. “It… it never even appeared. I don’t know why.”

And then he sees the way Scott looks at him – it might be the light’s fault, but he swears something flickers in his friend’s brown eyes, something disturbingly similar to the look in his dad’s eyes back from the first day of school, and that’s when anxiety really kicks in.

“You won’t tell anyone, right?” he asks, his voice on the verge of panicked. “Please don’t tell anyone, Scott – “

“I won’t, Stiles,” Scott cuts him off because Stiles’ tone is just full blast fear now. “I promise.”

He pierces Stiles’ gaze with his own, suddenly appearing somewhat too mature for a nine-year-old, but it only lasts a second because when Stiles nods, he smiles at him, this big, happy grin of his that makes him look like a puppy.

Scott turns the light off then, they say their Goodnight’s , and Stiles is already half–asleep when he hears Scott again.

“Besides, you never know,” he mutters, and if it was any less silent, the words would get lost in the space of the room, “maybe having no soulscar is some kind of a soulscar, too.”

 


 

 

He is ten when his mom dies.

The mark on his dad’s right palm turns from blue to black.

 


 

 

His world gets a little bent and crooked sometimes, without his mom in it anymore, but eventually Stiles finds his own way of dealing with it, step by step and day after day, until days melt into weeks and weeks melt into months.

The panic attacks occur less and less often, never really stopping – because anxiety disorder is not something one could dismiss so easily – but Stiles learns how to handle them, and so does his dad and Scott as well. He starts sleeping more again, less and less scared to let the dreams (and nightmares) seize him every night. He eats, still little at first, and then gradually more. His dad goes back to work two weeks after the funeral, only to come back home with a badge and a – finally – smile on his face, which means that he got promoted and is the Sheriff now.

Good, Stiles thinks. He deserved it for quite a long time.

There’s still an immense hole in his life, one he doubts he’ll ever be able to fill, a wound gaping because their house is suddenly too big for only two people and too quiet, but he’s still got his dad, and his dad’s still got him, and that has to be enough for the both of them.

Slowly, everything falls back into place.

Lydia Martin still ignores him most of the time, getting prettier and more intelligent every day even though he thought it was not possible.

Scott is still the best person he’d ever hope to be friends with, because he’s always there when Stiles needs him, but also pretends not to hear when Stiles cries in the bathroom at times and not to see when he comes out later and his eyes are red and cheeks are damp, because they both know that pity doesn’t bring much comfort. He makes Stiles laugh, Stiles making him laugh, too, in return, and they start playing lacrosse together – a sport Stiles pretty much sucks at, but it doesn’t matter; it’s always fun, and always with Scott.

Sarah and Jasper remain together, holding hands nearly every time Stiles catches a glimpse of them, and Jasper doesn’t seem so jittery anymore. They… look good together; match, really, even though Stiles can’t help but feel a bit jealous and weird about it. That would mean this whole soulscars system actually works, and it is not fair, since his own mark still remains non-existent.

His body seems to be pretty stubborn about that.

One day, though, as he subconsciously follows Jasper with his eyes around the classroom (until their teacher notices and sends him a frown), gaze fixed on the mark on the boy’s temple, it occurs to him that maybe, if his body is so irritatingly stubborn, his mind should be, too.

It’s the last try, he tells himself. The last chance, and if it doesn’t work, he’ll just give up, because this constant flicker of hope in his chest, the spark being lit and then put out, is getting a little tiring and a whole lot disappointing.

Nevertheless, Stiles digs in.

Whatever he manages to lay his hands on instantly becomes a valuable source of information, whether it’s something on the internet, a newspaper, a book ten times older than him, a TV show or a thing entirely different. First, he gathers it all up – browses any webside connected to the topic of soulscars he stumbles across, making specific notes most of the time; goes to the library, walking in barehanded and walking out with almost a dozen of old volumes, a few magazines and three old documents (and qualms, since he had to lie to the librarian about his age and identity to get all of these); watches interviews, programs, videos and makes notes until it gives him muscle cramps in his hand. He even asks his dad about it, breaking this little promise he’d made himself back when he was seven. Sheriff looks at him, thrown off for a second – probably because Stiles has just interrupted his rant about the cons of using the computer for so long, and at his age – but answers nevertheless, what he knows is not much, though.

So apparently, Stiles is good at research, he discovers.

Then comes the harder part, though, because now he actually has to analyse it all – this vast amount of books and magazines and documents, even his own notes, and narrow it down to something he could work with. He spreads it all on the floor in his room, since the desk is way, way too small, and dives in.

He gets to know a lot of new things – and by “a lot” Stiles actually means so many his mind is not even capable of comprehending them all. The concept of soulscars in general, when they first appeared, some basic researches carried out, myths, medieval beliefs, modern urban legends – it’s all there.

What Stiles double-highlights among dozens of pages his notes consist of, though, are only three things.

The first, an old document the copy of which he’d found in one of the huge books, is a century-old treatise he barely understands. It’s boring, and he actually considers putting it down, actually, when he catches a passage, barely a handful of sentences. The author briefly entertains the idea of not having a soulscar, blaming it on the fact that such human would have to be “conceived without love and care, then possibly abandoned.” Stiles folds it in half, hiding in the depths of his desk drawer, hoping to never find it again, because it’s so, so untrue and so, so unfair.

The second is a short story, clearly theoretical, purely fictional, describing a world entirely different than the one he knows; a reality where people don’t have soulscars at all, none of them. In this world, a strange, yet very believable universe, it’s impossibly easy to make a mistake and fall in love with the wrong person, but if somebody’s lucky enough, they’ll find their soulmate either way. Here, some people are never happy and lead miserable lives, but some are fond of the risk; find that the love they’d discovered was worth whatever price they had to pay in the end. The author represents the lack of soulscars as a sign of power, associates it with free will, and this story is, Stiles thinks, erroneous as well.

The last one, though – a legend he finds, hand-written and so old the pages almost crumble under his fingers – is what draws his attention the most. It’s a myth from some foreign country, odd and fascinating at the same time. It says that sometimes, although very, very rarely, a different kind of soulscar can be found, more powerful one, bizarre. Occasionally, the marks of a few pairs of soulmates don’t appear in the same places on their bodies, or as the same images. Instead, they are connected – either by what each of them shows or by what they’d show together, combined. “When the soulmates blessed with this kind of soulscars finally recognise their mutual affection, their marks will brighten, a sign that they’re bonded,” the legend reads.

It might be not entirely connected to what he’s been looking for, maybe even a bit silly, but Stiles reads it two more times, if only because he finds the idea so captivating, before he puts it away.

Other than that, he finds nothing, though. No logical explanation for him lacking the mark while everyone else has it, nothing he could do to fix it, nothing that would work and make it appear.

So, after nearly a week of interesting, occupying albeit still draining and in the end fruitless work, Stiles puts all his notes in an empty shoebox, places it on the top shelf in his closet – because that’s how, he knows, he’ll forget about it the fastest – and carries all the books back to the library because, really – enough with the disappointments.

 


 

 

There are some moments in his life he sometimes goes back to and defines them as the points when his life took a turn, changing inevitably.

One of those is his first day of high school, because that’s when all hell breaks loose.

And sure, call it lame, that would be kind of true because it’s stupid to think about high school as an extremely important issue, it’s not the high school itself, though, but all of the hints and factors that come together that day. Half of a body found in the woods the night before, Stiles listening in on his dad’s phone call again – a habit he developed, one that he finds very useful and one that Sheriff resents, calling an invasion of privacy; the howling of some animal Scott  swears he heard at some point; it all sums up and explodes the next day, right in his face.

Because, apparently, his best friend becomes a werewolf.

And Stiles doesn’t really believe it at first – there are no wolves in California, no kind of wolves – there’s no way a wolf bit you, Scott – and Beacon Hills has always been a pretty weird place, equally bizarre and boring, but it’s just how it works – up to the point where really strange things start happening around Scott and to Scott and with Scott. Scott McCall, this bony, asthmatic boy, who used to warm the bench next to Stiles throughout their whole lacrosse career, is suddenly a freaking professional, stellar at the sport they both usually suck at, and he moves and jumps and gets every ball, and say whatever you want but people don’t improve like that overnight.

So, before he gets a chance to as much as think about it, Stiles finds himself sitting in front of his laptop, browsing the web in search for something – anything – about what could be possibly happening to Scott, reading and typing, checking, saving pages, scribbling random words on the margin of his English notebook since it’s lying open on his desk anyway.

And as he does so, preoccupied, he can’t help but feel as if he’s twelve again, staying up all night researching, remembering and comparing, throwing himself into the task. This time, though, it’s not about him but Scott – and this time, he actually finds an answer.

Because of course – of course that glowing soulscars and once-in-a-lifetime love and a soulmate you’re supposed to stay with for the rest of your life are not crazy enough for this world, since werewolves actually fucking exist and Stiles’ best friend is apparently one of them now. “Lycanthropy”, it stands, small letters scribbled messily in his notebook, and as Stiles stares at it, he gets this feeling in his chest – one that tells him he’s about to get into something pretty big, something outreaching the borders of Beacon Hills. Scott’s already knee-deep in it, and still sinking, and if something is Scott’s business, it automatically becomes Stiles’ too.

The whole werewolf thing, though – it’s kind of awesome.

 


 

 

Then, there’s Allison.

So many things happen at once during such a short period of time – Scott suddenly being a werewolf, the threat of full moon, Derek Hale, lurking in the woods and always appearing out of nowhere, which usually scares the shit out of Stiles – that he barely manages to look at her for more than what it feels like half a minute at first.

(Besides, that’s mainly thanks to the fact she seems to be hanging out with Lydia a lot, and at Lydia Stiles looks whenever he gets a chance to because nope, his giant crush on her is not going anywhere, not in this century).

Half a minute is enough to notice some things about her, though. She’s a little shy, but must be used to moving, because she quickly makes friends, even though Stiles is sure the fact she’s very pretty is a help, too. She smiles nicely and genuinely, even at the teachers, and is always sweet and graceful.

Scott is crazy about her in less than a second after she comes into the classroom, and later it just gets worse. Whenever he looks at her – and Stiles knows he looks at her a lot – he gets this strange look on his face, one that actually makes him resemble a puppy a little.

“Dude, calm down,” Stiles tells him occasionally, as days pass and Scott falls deeper and deeper while the events in Beacon Hills just get weirder and scarier – getting trapped in school; Derek asking Stiles to cut his freaking arm off, what?; Lydia seeing some creature and getting scared so much she has to be heavily medicated; all the fuzz with Kate Argent, Allison’s father being a hunter– but it seems to do little to Scott, even though Stiles knows that can’t be true.

And Stiles can’t really get it at first, because Scott might be in love, but it’s still kind of confusing (and dangerous). His own feelings for Lydia were never that intense, never made his eyes glint so much, although he’s sure he’s in love with Lydia, too. At first, he tells himself that what Scott’s feeling right now is just overwhelming, sudden, an ideal example of first love; then, he thinks it’s because Allison actually likes Scott, too, and they go on dates and hold hands and look disgustingly good together – this is something that never happened to him and Lydia since he is not sure Lydia Martin even knows Stiles Stilinski exists, too busy with this asshole Whittemore.

It’s two weeks after Allison arrives in Beacon Hills when he finds out the truth, though.

It happens on a Tuesday, as his second lesson’s about to begin – French. Allison’s in this class, too, and from what he’s managed to notice, she’s really good, speaking the language practically fluently, so it only surprises him a little when he sees her already sitting in the classroom as the rest of students slowly fill the room.

She sends him a smile when Stiles sits down behind the desk just next to hers.

“Hi, Allison,” he greets, and she opens her mouth to answer but then the teacher comes in and the lesson begins.

They open their books and start working on some grammar exercises, Stiles barely understands anything at all, though, so it takes him just a few minutes to space out completely, abandoning the task Mrs. Morin asked them to complete, looking around with boredom instead. He eyes the blackboard for a moment, then flitting his gaze to the pictures hanging on the wall on his right, observing Vernon Boyd as he erases something in his notebook, watching Ian Simons and Thomas O’Donnell sending texts to each other, cells hidden under their desks. Then, he catches a movement, so he looks that way.

It’s Allison, raising her hand as a sign that she knows the answer to whatever question Mrs. Morin happened to ask, and that’s when he sees it.

The first thought in his mind is “I should’ve known” because it all makes sense now, surprisingly obvious, although still just a tiny bit startling.

There’s a little pointed, golden arrow in the crook of Allison’s arm.

 


 

 

He doesn’t tell Scott.

Perhaps he should. Stiles might not have a soulscar of his own, but he’s perfectly aware just how big of a deal they are to some – most – people, Scott included. He would be absolutely delighted to know; Stiles can already imagine the way his eyes would widen and mouth would hang open for the shortest second, the sound of wonder he would make, the way his breath would hitch in his throat. He erases the image from his mind, though, because he can’t tell him.

The official explanation is that it’s definitely too hazardous now to focus on things such as love; both Stiles and Scott are still new to this absolutely crazy, yet kind of awesome world of supernatural, and whatever it is that’s happening in Beacon Hills, it seems to be revolving around Scott. Until they figure it out and get rid of the danger, there’s no mentioning soulmates, Stiles determines.

But the other explanation, the unofficial one – it’s a whole lot more personal and a great deal weirder, somehow.

Because he already knew Scott had a mark while he didn’t. He knew Scott would eventually find his soulmate, bump into them somewhere in the world, and he would not because the lack of a soulscar equals the lack of a soulmate, too, doesn’t it? And it’s not like he’s jealous – Stiles just…

He didn’t see it coming.

So he keeps his mouth shut. Lets the memories of Allison’s and Scott’s identical marks settle in the back of his mind, sharing them with no one. He’s not sure if he should feel guilty or not, but the feeling still gnaws at the insides of his chest sometimes, late at night, eats away at him, and in these moments he almost hates himself for being such a shitty and selfish friend.

But then, all of a sudden, there’s nothing to worry about anymore because Scott finds out on his own, and somehow that feels even worse.

“Bro,” Scott calls him one Sunday night, really late, and of course Stiles picks up because of course he’s still awake, “you’ll never guess what happened.”

Scott sounds shocked and incredibly thrilled and confused at the same time, it’s perfectly audible even over the phone.

“Wanna bet?” he doesn’t say. Scott would be surprised. “What?”

And this single word makes the dam break, because Scott literally floods him with information – how he and Allison went on a date and Scott picked her up even though he was still awfully scared of her dad, but the date was so fun and they were kissing and she looked so beautiful and Scott took off her sweater when they were making out in the car, and she took off his jacket and then they saw, both at the same time –

“Her soulscar looks exactly like mine, Stiles!” Scott exclaims, and Stiles wonders if he’s ever heard him so excited before. He doesn’t think so. “A golden arrow, just the size of mine’s, our marks are identical, dude, I found my soulmate – Allison’s my soulmate!”

He tries to think of a response that would be good enough – something along the lines of “That’s so great, Scott!” and “I can’t believe it!” but when he speaks out loud, the words come out weak and pretty unconvincing.

Scott doesn’t mind, though. He barely seems to notice that Stiles replied with something at all, and Stiles –

He can’t find it in himself to blame him.

 


 

 

He’s not ready for anything that happens, even though it’s nothing new, really.

Stiles kind of feels like on the very first day of school again, during that break when all the kids gathered together to compare their soulscars – except for him – because, again, he realises that everyone has a soulscar but him.

It hurts more than it should at this point.

Scott and Allison are nowhere to be seen for three whole days after their miraculous discovery – nowhere near the school, at least. Stiles knows they are savouring the awareness of finally having a soulmate – of being soulmates – and he understands; in his own way at least.

It’s not like Scott ditched him, or something, he keeps repeating in his own head. It’s not like he’s jealous.

(Well, maybe he kind of is. Just a tiny little bit, because he doesn’t think it’s fair – Scott is a werewolf now, could probably break somebody’s rib with his little finger if he wanted, and Stiles is just a human, like everybody else. Scott’s the captain of the team, better than Jackson, while Stiles doubts he’ll ever stop warming the bench, all uncoordinated movements and too much energy, thank you, ADHD. Scott is getting more and more popular; Stiles is still just this weird kid who talks too much and trips every five minutes. Scott has a girlfriend – a soulmate – and a soulscar and an actual future with someone. Stiles doesn’t have any of that.

But it’s fine. He’ll get used to it all, he always does.)

By the time Scott appears back in school, Stiles has already tucked away whatever it was that he felt.

“Long time no see, Scott,” he welcomes him, a little mockingly. “How was the great rendezvous?”

 


 

 

Stiles just kind of gives up at some point, or at least believes he does. It’s high time.

It’s somewhere around the time when Peter fucking Hale finally drops dead, his charming nephew Derek fucking Hale becomes an alpha and stubbornly refuses to pull his own head out of his ass, Allison turns out to be just as badass as she is sweet, Lydia starts to heal, agonizingly slowly, in the hospital, Scott starts to get a grasp on how to handle his werewolf powers and Stiles learns that he is, in fact, good at one thing – running away from danger when the others tell him to.

All the events around the pack slowly begin to calm down.

That’s why Stiles raises his hand one day during one of his English classes – just to make sure that whatever happens some things will never change, even amongst all the chaos and danger and madness in the world – and asks, “Mr. Will, a quick theoretical question – what would you do if you met someone without a soulscar?”

He can feel Scott’s cautionary gaze on him – What are you doing, Stiles? – and just quickly winks at him as an answer.

All his teachers are already used to those, because Stiles likes asking questions completely unrelated to the subject of whatever lesson he’s having. Some of them ignore him, or shoot him an unimpressed glare and just go on, but some – Mr. Will, for example – actually answer, finding it pretty interesting.

And Mr. Will is actually one of the best in regard to coming up with creative replies to Stiles’ random inquires, but this time he just smirks.

“Stiles, it’s impossible,” he says, raising as eyebrow at him. “Everyone has a soulscar.”

That – that is exactly what he wanted to hear.

Because of course – everyone has a soulscar and each one of them is different and soulmates will always find each other, no matter what happens.

Everyone has a soulscar, except for, apparently, Stiles Stilinski, and that’s a constant in this insane world.