Stiles distinctly remembered setting his alarm clock to play 'Eye of the Tiger' at precisely six o'clock in the morning, but that wasn’t what woke him.
"Mm," he groaned, tugging the blankets up to cover his face as something nuzzled along the back of his neck. He swatted at the thing half-heartedly. "Five more minutes."
There's a soft puff of warm air along the skin of his shoulder and the sound of someone quietly snickering.
"Wake up," Jordan said, and the gentle nuzzling turned into warm lips pressing into that tender place behind Stiles' ear, which was very distracting.
"No alarm," Stiles argued, semi-coherently. "Still sleep."
"I turned it off."
"Fucker," Stiles grumbled, though he shifted in his position, making more of his neck available for Jordan's ministrations. "That's my theme song. It was going to dictate the tone of my entire day."
Jordan snickered again and pointed out, wryly, "You throw your pillow at it before you reach the chorus. I'm trying something new. Is it working?"
"Mm." Stiles tipped his head back as Jordan's tongue crossed from his shoulder blade up the length of his neck to end with a sucking kiss just under his jaw. "You're evil."
"The evilest," Jordan agreed.
Wriggling, Stiles turned to face the other man, their bodies slotting together, sleep-warm and easy. It was, in Stiles' opinion, the best possible way to wake up at six o'clock in the morning. Possibly the best way to wake up at any time. Careless of the smell of their breath, used to it after such a long time together, they shared a lingering kiss. Stiles' arms settled heavy and only marginally coordinated along Jordan's shoulder, keeping the man pinned close. "God, you're hot," he said with a grin. "Good morning."
"You're not so bad yourself." Jordan leaned down for another kiss, a short peck that Stiles managed to turn into something wet and promising. That was his specialty.
After a moment, Jordan pulled back, just enough to form words. "Stiles. You're going to be late."
"M'kay," Stiles said, mostly distracted with the feel of Jordan under his hands, his lips.
"Wait, Stiles." Jordan's hand dropped down onto Stiles' head, the pressure and the curl of fingers caught somewhere between holding him close and tugging him back. "It's seven." And then again, a moment later, "It's seven o'clock, Stiles. If I'm late for work again this week your dad is going to kill me."
"Holy god, don't do that!" Stiles whined, jerking back like he'd been singed. "Why are you talking about my dad when I'm trying to initiate some hanky-panky? Jesus!"
"Sorry." Although Jordan didn't look sorry at all.
"Jerk," Stiles muttered. "No blowjob for you."
"We don't have time anyway, that's what I've been trying to tell you."
Grumbling, Stiles hauled himself out of bed. "I set the alarm for six specifically so we could have sexy times."
"I know. That's why I turned it off. The last time we had sex before I went into work, I had to sit through the most awkward morning briefing. Stiles, your dad knew."
Stiles gaped. "You're seriously letting my dad cockblock me?"
"The way he looked at me... Stiles, you have no idea!"
"Please," Stiles scoffed. "I know exactly how he looked at you, he'd look at me the same way every time I jerked off before dinner. It's no excuse." He stumbled off in the general direction of the bathroom, leaving Jordan to collect his uniform from the floor.
Sometimes Stiles had trouble believing that this was his actual life. True, this had been the plan since he was eleven years old and had decided that he was going to become a doctor, but he'd figured that love and marriage would be something that would come along later, after his residency was finished, maybe. Not that everything would slot so easily into place. Stiles was pretty sure that Jordan was 'the one'. Which was probably a good thing, considering they were getting married in three months.
Still, despite his deep love of making plans Stiles so rarely saw those plans translate into reality. Plus, it had been pretty rough for a while. Stiles's awkward childhood had translated into a semi-mortifying adolescence. His brief plan to lessen the burden of his med school debt by achieving a sports scholarship was dashed when he was benched for the entire duration of his time on the high school lacrosse team. Save for that one memorable game where he received an award for MVP simply for managing to not fall on his face even once (which had surprised everyone, including himself), and that everyone (with the exception of his dad) pretty much immediately forgot ever happened.
Still, he made it. Somehow. This was it. The culmination of his brilliant eleven year old self's careful strategizing and it was, in short, pretty much perfect.
"Hey dude," Scott greeted, when Stiles dragged himself out of the bedroom, still in the process of pulling on his clothes.
"Is that coffee?" Stiles reached out, fingers flexing as he strained for the cup.
"Get away, this is my coffee," Scott grumbled, jerking the mug out of reach with one hand while the other pressed, palm-flat against Stiles' forehead to keep him at bay. "There's a whole pot over there."
"I love you," Stiles repeated, this time to the coffee pot. "Mm, get inside ma belly."
"You're so embarrassing," Scott said, sipping his coffee. "Did Jordan stay over last night?"
Stiles grunted, more interested in consuming the contents of the coffee pot while simultaneously smearing peanut butter onto a piece of toast than answering such an obvious question.
"I don't know why he doesn't just move in, dude. I wouldn't mind. Honest."
"We're saving ourselves for marriage," Stiles said around a mouthful of bread and peanut butter.
"When he's not over here, you're over at his place. I'm just saying, why bother waiting three more months. You guys are perfect together."
"Nonsense." Jordan chose that moment to come out of the bedroom, in the process of his fastening his belt around his hips. Stiles raised his voice purposely and entirely unnecessarily as he continues, "A perfect boyfriend would have made breakfast instead of leaving me to survive till lunchtime on bread and peanut butter."
Jordan smirked. "Well I was going to say we could swing by Mabel's, pick-up one of those breakfast sandwiches you like, but if you prefer peanut butter …"
Stiles chucked the slice of bread into the garbage, already hallway to the door. "Bye Scott!"
"You guys are ridiculous," Scott muttered.
"Have fun chopping the balls off of puppies all day!" Stiles hollered, shutting the door behind him.
"That's not all I do!" Scott retorted, just like he always did. The words so familiar by now that Stiles could fill in the words that were muffled through the closed door.
"Hey," Stiles noted idly between bites of his breakfast sandwich. "Now instead of an awkward morning briefing with my dad thinking about all the naughty, awesome things we got up to, you can think about how you endangered the life of his only son because you're a prude and turned off the alarm to cheat me out of morning sex."
Jordan, who had been sneaking bites of his own breakfast sandwich during a red light, looked guilty. "Promise me you won't tell him."
"I don't have to," Stiles shrugged. "Your guilty conscience will do all the work for me."
Playing along, Jordan looked immediately chagrinned, hunching in on himself and sighing dramatically. "He'd kill me for endangering your life like this. It's shameful. I'm a horrible person."
Stiles finished his sandwich just as Jordan pulled up to the curb in front of the hospital. He crumbled up his wrapper, stuffing it into the paper bag before he leaned over to give Jordan a kiss. "Have fun enforcing the law. We have to have extra sex tonight to make up for this morning."
"Mm," Jordan said. "That sounds horrible. I certainly won't be looking forward to that at all."
A second later, Jordan pushed him gently pack with a palm to the chest. "I know what you're up to. You're trying to send me to work with a hard on."
"It'd serve you right."
Laughing, Jordan nudged him back further and Stiles grabbed his bag, reaching for the car door. "Have fun saving lives," Jordan called, and Stiles waved and jogged into the hospital with a shit-eating grin on his face.
"Hey, so you'll never guess what happened," Stiles started.
"Something weird," Stiles corrected, and then launched into an account of how a teen had been brought in by the EMTs having collapsed playing basketball. He'd been cyanotic and the chief resident was MIA. Malia, another resident, had wanted to wait but Stiles had known that they couldn't afford to, had made the call and gone ahead and saved the kid's life. "And then Malia sat with me during lunch break and asked if I wanted to go with her to a boat party after work."
"Wait wait," Jordan said. "That's a lot for me to take in. So, you saved a kid's life and … Are we talking about your arch nemesis, Malia? The one you're convinced is trying to kill you?"
"She growls at me all the time," Stiles muttered. "But yeah. How many other 'Malia's' do you know?"
"Wow. So she's embracing your overall perfection rather than trying to destroy you? Well played, Malia the rival."
"Oh, my god. You're so embarrassing. Shut up." He rubbed a hand over his face because he's convinced he's turning red.
"Maybe you should go."
"What? No way. We have plans tonight. Sexy plans. Those are literally my favorite kind of plans."
Jordan laughed. "Stiles, in three months we're going to be married. You'll be stuck with me for the rest of your life. Go out and have fun. Get a little crazy. Let loose. What's the worst that could happen?"
Famous last words.
Everything had seemed so normal, too. He'd felt a little awkward and out-of-place, the way Stiles usually felt at parties when not accompanied by Scott. The majority of the people on the boat were total strangers, there was Malia and a few other people he knew from the hospital, but they were sitting in clumps, one group crammed into the hot tub together, the other taking-up the curved seating on the bow. He'd said 'hi' but there had been no room for him in either group, literally, and he'd felt so awkward looming over them.
Boat parties were new to him and he hadn't realized that he could bring a swimsuit and chill in the hot tub. He also hadn't realized there'd be drugs present, which was maybe a little naïve of him. Stiles can't help thinking about the frown on his dad's face if he could see what Stiles was seeing right now. So many drugs.
As a sheriff's kid Stiles knew better than to drink too much when he had to get home on his own, and he wasn't into drugs, but it wasn't the first party he'd been to where they'd been present. No big. It wasn't like the party was out of control.
Until suddenly, it was.
So far out of control that Stiles can't really process it at all.
He's hunkered down under the refreshment table, fingers fumbling as he sends an emergency mass text to his dad and Jordan and Scott. Someone staggers and falls, a man, his arm reaching out, almost touching Stiles' knee. There's blood on the man's hand, his eyes are wide open and vacant and Stiles tries not to look at him, shifts away cautiously further under the table.
The smell of smoke and fire overrides the scent of the cool night air and open water. The top deck of the ship is burning, Stiles watches as the flames creep up the mast. After a moment there's a low, deep groan and a sharp crack as the mast fractures, wood splitting and sending the whole thing into the water. The people that were clinging to it drop like skittles as it falls, hit the water with a screech and a splash. He can't stay here. The ship is going to sink eventually.
Everywhere he looks there's chaos. People are running, crouching, sobbing, bleeding. There's other people out there, red-eyed and pale as death. They stagger about, grunting and groaning, their jaws clicking; they crouch over the bodies with their teeth bared, lips smeared with blood.
Stiles has to get off this boat.
For a split second everything seems to align. There's a break in the pandemonium, time slowing as a path clears on the deck. If he doesn't go now. Right now. Then he might never get another chance, he'll die on this boat and that is unacceptable. Stiles has no intention of dying today.
He breaks cover, scrambling out from beneath the table and sprinting as fast as he can, heading toward the side of the boat: all he needs to do is throw himself over the rail, once he hits the water he'll be home free. He'll be safe. Stiles can tread water for hours, and that's what he'll do. He'll tread water until the police come, until his dad gets here, until Jordan shows up and fishes him out and wraps him in a blanket.
He'll tread water as long as he needs to, just so long as he gets away from this murder boat.
Barely three steps from the railing and a hand closes over Stiles' arm, a vice-grip that drags him to a stand still. Stiles doesn't give himself time to panic, or maybe he's already so deep into panic that there's no room for anything else. Just his terror and his mission: get to the rail of the boat, jump off, tread water.
Instinctively Stiles yanks on the stranger's arm, trying to pry himself loose. The man stares at him, the whites of his eyes turned blood red and irises dark as the night sky. Stiles knows about werewolves, has seen werewolves before. But that isn't this.
That isn't anything like this.
Whatever this guy is, he's not something from the Official Supernatural Registry.
The guy grins, wide and menacing and Stiles kicks out as hard as he can sending the stranger staggering back. "Fuck," Stiles hisses as the man's nail drags down the skin of Stiles' arm. It stings, but he doesn't let himself dwell because he's free. Stiles takes a step and hurls himself over the railing of the boat, curling into himself, clutching his arm to his chest as he falls towards the water. Home free. Home fucking free.
He hits the water and blacks out.
When he opens his eyes again it feels like he's suffocating. He's soaking wet and the world is a shadowy yellow and the air tastes recycled. He's choking. Groggy, struggling to breathe, Stiles reaches out, his fingers bumping against something.
Rubber. He's encased in rubber.
A dark line splits the yellow-rubber world in two. A zipper. Stiles presses his fingers against it, desperate to breathe. The bag splits open.
Stiles sits up, the air freezing against his damp skin and he chokes, spits up lungfuls of lake water. "Gross," he mutters. "That tastes nasty." His voice is a weak rasp. He glances around. He's on a beach. Police and EMTs are swarming everywhere, shouting at each other and into walkie-talkies. There are rows upon rows of yellow rubber bags laid out on the sand.
And Stiles is sitting in one of them.
"Oh my god!" someone cries. Stiles looks, meets the wide-eyes of an EMT who's staring, mouth open, face pale like he's just seen a ghost. He's looking right at Stiles "Oh my god," the man says again, and then turns and runs away.
"Rude," Stiles murmurs to himself. He feels fine. He's hungry as hell but for all that he just spit up water and was apparently mistaken for a corpse he actually feels pretty normal.
The more he sits though, the more intense the hunger gets. It's all he can think about.
When did last eat? How long has it been since the boat party? They had shitty hor d'oeuvres for the most part but Stiles had helped himself to a lot of the mini quiches because he's a lightweight and Jordan always looks so fondly exasperated when Stiles staggers home drunk and uncoordinated, but Stiles had plans. Sexy plans. He hadn't wanted to be too drunk to make good on those.
No one is paying any attention to him. There's a group of deputies who are fishing more bodies out of the water. Further out, Stiles can see more deputies scrambling around the wreckage of the boat. Apparently it didn't sink after all. Maybe Stiles should have stayed put. Even more deputies are standing around up on the road in tight-packed groups, talking in hushed voices. There's no sign of the Sheriff's car or of his dad. No sign of Jordan.
Stiles tries to wave someone down but he's so hungry and he's surrounded by body bags and he needs to call his dad. He needs to call Jordan and Scott. They're probably all worried sick. He pulls himself to his feet and then staggers. His body is stiff and uncoordinated, it's actually difficult to think straight let alone walk. He's starving. Stiles has never been so hungry in his life.
Stumbling along the beach he loses track of where he's going or why. He walks because he's already walking. He'll stop when he finds what he's looking for.
What is he looking for? He doesn't even know.
There's a body lying half in the water. A woman, pearls around her neck, she's wearing a sparkly tank-top, lying face down, arms stretched up across the sand like she was trying to crawl. She's dead. Her eyes are open but sightless, her hair falling out of what might have once been an elaborate up-do, the loose hair covers the part of her skull that's missing.
Stiles stops walking.
He's so hungry.
On clumsy feet he staggers down to the edge of the water, crouches. Breathes in deep. He whispers, "Brains."