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Onwards and Upwards

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Stiles isn’t a huge fan of college parties, but they’re part of the lifestyle, so he figures he should try them once or twice. He doesn’t like to drink very much. His tolerance is higher, even though he’s not actually a werewolf, and he often skips straight from sober to sick without a stop at ‘pleasantly drunk’ in between. It doesn’t seem to bother the others. Stiles remembers his father sometimes joking about his mother’s liquor tolerance, so maybe it’s just something he inherited.

Erica is the only one who really likes the parties. Most of the other werewolves don’t like the scent of so many horny and wasted people crammed into such a small space. Erica doesn’t seem to mind it, though, and it’s an easy way to get laid. It’s that or Tinder, and she says that the fuckboy ratio is a lot higher on Tinder than at the parties.

This is a party that Danny got invited to by some of his college friends, and he says it’s probably going to be more fun than most. It’s a Halloween party, and Stiles loves Halloween. About half the pack dresses in a variety of costumes, hops into the Jeep and heads up to Berkeley.

Stiles is dressed as Spiderman, and he finds himself having a relatively good time. There’s not as much booze as some college parties, and it’s less crowded. He dances and sticks to soda and eats a bunch of chips. The costume is a little warm, but he’s handling it. Erica is dressed in the skimpiest pirate outfit that’s ever been designed, so she’s doing a lot better, flirting with everyone with a pulse.

Around one AM, Stiles is yawning so widely that he can barely see. Scott and Allison are ready to pack it in, too. Danny’s vanished with a cute boy. Boyd and his girlfriend left about an hour ago. Scott’s the most awake, so he says he’ll drive. Erica says she’s going to stay, and not to wait up.

The streets are mostly empty, and they’re about to get on the San Mateo bridge, when Stiles’ phone rings. He yawns again and sees Erica’s number. “I swear, if she’s changed her mind and wants us to turn around and pick her up . . .” She picks up. “Hey, what’s up?”

“Stiles, I – ” Erica’s voice is breathy and higher-pitched than usual. “I think I might have – there was this guy, and he wouldn’t – and I hit him, but I hit him too hard, I don’t feel right – ”

Scott already has the Jeep turned around in a screech of wheels, making an illegal U-Turn that would have been at home in Grand Theft Auto. He races back towards the party at three times the speed they had left it at.

“Erica, slow down,” Stiles says, taking care to keep his voice calm and firm. “Is he breathing? Check to see if he’s breathing.”

“Y-Yeah,” Erica says. “Pulse is steady. I slammed his face into the window.”

“What window?” Stiles asks. “Where are you?”

“His car window. He walked me back to his car. I wasn’t feeling well, but I started to – I didn’t want to go with him, but when I tried to pull away, he tried to make me get into the car. That’s when I hit him.”

“Okay. I want you to take a deep breath. Okay? Just breathe with me. We’re going to be there in a few minutes. Are you hurt?”

“No,” she says, voice trembling, but evening out.

“You said you felt weird. Weird, how?”

“Just kind of – like, unfocused? Floaty? Like, he was talking to me but I wasn’t really listening, like it didn’t matter somehow? It’s a hard sensation to describe.”

“Sounds like he slipped something into her drink,” Scott says, glancing over for a bare moment before redirecting his attention to the road. “It messed her up long enough to go with him, but wore off a lot faster for her than it would for a regular human. Probably made her control over her powers slip up. That’s why she hit him so hard without meaning to.”

Stiles nods a little. “How are you feeling now?”

“Better. C-Calming down a little. Shit, I think he’s coming around.”

“Okay. We’ll be right there.”

They pull into the parking lot a minute later. Stiles has been so focused on keeping Erica calm that he hasn’t had much of an emotional reaction so far. When he sees her standing there, makeup smeared by tears, the shoulder of her tiny blouse half torn off, he nearly flips his shit. Only Scott’s hand squeezing his shoulder keeps him from losing it.

“Hey, you,” he says, cupping her cheek in one hand. Scott is crowding in, trying to take a look at her. He looks at her eyes and takes her pulse and proclaims that she’s okay. Then he kneels down beside the man Erica had hit. He’s groaning and cradling his face in one hand. There’s a spiderweb of cuts from where his cheek jaw slammed into the window, and it’s already grotesquely swollen.

“Does he need an ambulance?” Stiles asks.

“Nah,” Scott says, feeling the man’s face. “Nothing’s broken. Not hard enough that he would have a concussion, either. Hey, you all right?” he adds, getting the guy on his feet. There’s quiet rage in Scott’s voice, but he treats the man like any other patient. “Hey, look at me. What’s your name?”

“What? ‘S’Frank,” he says, with a slur that’s caused more by his split lip than any head trauma.

“Look at the light, okay?” Scott asks, producing a pen light that hangs on his keychain with professional sleight-of-hand.

“Ow, what the fuck, man.” Frank reels back from the light.

“Count backwards from ten,” Scott says, and Frank does it. “Yeah, he’s okay.”

“Good,” Stiles says. “That means I can kill him.”

He starts forward, half expecting Scott or Allison to grab him. Neither of them do, so he winds up with Frank’s shirt in both of his hands, yanking the guy up from where he’s been leaning on the car. He’s just about to beat the shit out of the guy when a new voice says, “What’s going on here?”

Stiles turns to see a police officer standing in the parking lot entrance, pointing a flashlight at them. He reluctantly lets Frank go. “Hey, Officer, this man just drugged my girlfriend and tried to abduct her, so I’m glad you’re here.”

“This bitch broke my fucking face!” Frank interrupts. “And my fucking car!”

“Okay, settle down,” the officer says, taking a few more steps forward. He shines the flashlight at Frank, frowning when he sees his injuries, then up and down Erica. “You did that to him?”

“He tried to force me into his car,” Erica says.

“Yeah?” the officer says. He looks her up and down again. “Have you been drinking?”

“What?” Erica says. “I mean, sure, but – ”

“You don’t really look like you’ve been drugged,” the officer says.

“Really?” Stiles can’t help but interrupt. “Is that what you really think we should be focusing on here? Uh, sir. Come on, he tried to force her into his car.”

“I did not!” Frank says. “She wanted to go. She’s been hitting on me all night. Then suddenly she went crazy and slammed my head into my car!”

“I flirted with you for literally three seconds!”

“Well, I can see how he might have gotten the idea that you were interested,” the officer says.

“Are you fucking kidding me – ” Erica starts.

As much as Stiles would love to let her rip the police officer apart, he’s not sure it’s the best idea. He tries to rein things in. “Okay, Officer, can we maybe focus less on what my girlfriend wore to a Halloween party and more on the fact that this man tried to abduct her? Can we call an ambulance? If you want proof of what the guy tried to do, how about we take Erica to the hospital and do some blood tests on her?”

The officer gives him a thousand yard stare, but then he does get on his radio and request an ambulance. When he puts his radio back down, he gestures to Frank and says, “That’s for him. Need to make sure he doesn’t have a concussion. You,” he adds, reaching for Erica’s elbow, “are going to come down to the station with me.”

“What the fuck, no, I’m not going anywhere with you,” Erica says, pulling away.

“I’m assuming that this young man is going to want to press assault charges, so – ”

“Listen to me, you son of a bitch, he was going to rape me, and to be honest he’s luck that I didn’t put the tailpipe up his ass – ”

“Dressed like that, I’m surprised he’s the only one who got that idea,” the officer says.

“Oh, you did not just say that – ”

Stiles steps forward and takes Erica’s hand. “I’m going with her,” he says.

“Kid, you’re not going anywhere. She’s under arrest. Go home.”

“Then arrest me too, for all I care.”

“Go home, kid,” the officer says. “Spend some time thinking about why you let your girlfriend dress like a – ”

Stiles draws back and punches him across the face.

A bare moment later, he’s pinned to the hood of the officer’s car with the breath knocked out of him. He has a feeling that the officer is lucky that Allison didn’t put an arrow in his throat for this manhandling of their alpha, but she somehow managed to refrain.

“Fine, if you want to be arrested so badly,” the officer growls, getting Stiles in handcuffs and tossing him into the back of the cruiser. Erica joins him there a moment later, pissed as all hell.

“Let me explain some things to you,” Erica says, once the car is on the road. She somehow manages to refrain from vulgarity, and Stiles is impressed. “Let me go back to the beginning and explain why judging a girl by what she’s wearing is an old-fashioned, misogynistic attitude. It goes back to bodily autonomy.” Stiles glances up front and sees the cop doing his best to ignore her. “See, just because someone is cooking a steak in front of you doesn’t mean you have the right to eat it. Just because a guy is standing at a bank counting his money doesn’t mean you’re entitled to take it. We can all agree on that, right? So by that logic, even if I was walking around naked, it doesn’t mean that any guy is entitled to my fucking body.

“And by saying a girl who’s dressed a certain way is asking to be raped, what you’re saying is that a girl should change her behavior to avoid being raped. But the problem with that logic is that what you’re really saying is ‘make sure he rapes some other girl’. Frank wanted to get laid tonight regardless of what the girls thought about it, right? So he picked a girl in a short skirt. If I hadn’t been there, he would have just picked someone else.

“Plus, maybe I was trying to get laid tonight,” Erica continues. “I mean, I did sort of have it in mind. So yeah, I dressed up to look sexy. That doesn’t mean he gets to fuck with my drink and try to drag me out to his car. Hell, he wasn’t even that ugly, if he’d actually tried to have a conversation with me, he might’ve gotten lucky without the need for fucking pharmaceuticals.”

“You wanna shut up back there?” the cop finally says. “I thought this guy was your boyfriend.”

“That doesn’t mean I tell her what to do with her vagina,” Stiles retorts. “And you’re gonna hear a lot more than this, buddy. Just wait until you get to your departmentally mandated sensitivity training. Because you have no idea who you just arrested.”

“Oh, yeah? Your dad some lawyer, politician bigshot?” The cop sneers at him.

“Worse,” Stiles says. “He’s Sheriff Thomas Motherfucking Stilinski, and you’re going to eat every misogynistic word you spewed tonight.” He settles back into his seat and pulls Erica against his shoulder.

From an academic perspective, getting processed is actually kind of interesting. He gets his fingerprints done and tries to give the camera his best Blue Steel look during his mugshot. He’s put in one of the holding cells, but Erica is only a door down, and they can still talk. The cops on duty don’t seem to care if they do. Stiles doesn’t like the cell, because it’s pretty small and he can feel his claustrophobia starting to kick in. But he’s so angry that he can mostly keep it at bay.

“Bet the others are climbing the walls by now,” Erica says at one point.

“Yep,” Stiles says. He’s also willing to bet that they woke Mac up so she could hack into Frank’s records and ruin his life. But he’s not about to say that where cops could hear. If they didn’t want to arrest Frank, fine. The pack had their own brand of justice. “Sometimes I think my dad must be disappointed in me,” he says thoughtfully.

“For this, are you kidding? He’s going to give you a medal.”

Stiles laughs. “Nah.” He says, underneath his breath, “Just thinking about the revenge we’re going to enact.”

Down the hall, Erica giggles.

Ten minutes later, they can hear shouting out in the main office. “ – did you think you were doing? I did not want to spend the entire night with a pissed off country sheriff shouting in my God damned ear!”

“But sir, the guy’s face – ”

“I don’t give a damn about his face! Send them both to the hospital and sort it out there! The girl says she was drugged, and you just brush that off because she was wearing a sexy outfit? On Halloween? Jesus Christ, Jenkins! Have you looked at a Halloween costume store lately? If there’s a single women’s costume that covers more than thirty percent of her body, I’ll eat my fucking badge!”

“She didn’t act like she was drugged – ”

“Because every girl on the planet reacts to Rohypnol or GHB or Special K the exact same way, right? You didn’t tell me that you had a degree in pharmacology, Jenkins! Maybe she’d taken some speed earlier that night. Maybe she has a medical condition. Maybe you should have taken her to the hospital so a professional could figure it out!”

“Sir, I didn’t think – ”

“No, you didn’t fucking think, and now I have eight different people breathing down my neck about how this department treats sexually assaulted young ladies, and by tomorrow morning it’s going to be eighty different people. Just go wait in my office. I have to deal with this.”

There’s silence for several long minutes. Then a middle aged man comes back into the holding cell area. He unlocks Erica’s cell. “Follow me,” he says. “You’re being released.”

“What about my boyfriend?” she asks.

The man glances down the hallway. “Your boyfriend is going to be here a little longer while we process the paperwork. He assaulted an officer of the peace.”

“Oh, man, am I actually being charged?” Stiles asks, wincing.

“You punched an officer in the face, son,” the senior officer says. “Frankly, you’re lucky you didn’t get shot.”

“Yeah, I’ve been shot, it’s no fun,” Stiles says.

The officer doesn’t respond to that. “Your friend is paying your bail,” he says. “We’ll have you out of here in a half hour or so. But yes, you are being charged with assault and resisting arrest.”

“But I didn’t resist once he actually agreed to arrest me,” Stiles points out.

“Let the lawyers hash that out,” the man says, then sighs. “Look. I talked to your dad, I know he’s a cop. He’s getting things straightened out. You’ve got a clean record and hell, you’ve done a fair share of your own police work from everything he told me. It’ll just be a misdemeanor since you weren’t carrying a weapon. They’ll slap a fine on you and everyone will forget all about it.”

“Except my dad,” Stiles says, groaning.

The man shakes his head and gestures for Erica to follow. Stiles paces around the cell. He’s released about forty minutes later and comes out to find the pack gathered in the parking lot. Derek pulls him into an embrace, giving a low growl, and the rest exchange greetings with him. “Better call your dad,” Derek says. “I talked to him half an hour ago and he’s furious.”

“Great,” Stiles says, and pulls his phone out of his pocket. It’s nearly three AM at this point, but his father is certainly up, so he dials home. “Hey, Dad.”

“What is wrong with you?!” Tom greets him. “You hit a cop?”

“He wouldn’t let me go to the station with Erica,” Stiles says.

“You couldn’t have, I don’t know, followed him in your perfectly functional car?” Tom sounds incredulous.

“Uh. I guess I wasn’t thinking clearly enough for that.”

“Well, no shit, son,” Tom says. He gives a long groan. “Jesus. Well, I’ve talked to the lawyer, he says it’ll probably only be a fine, due to your record and the circumstances, your ‘girlfriend’ having been assaulted and all. Should’ve just hit the kid who did it.”

“Don’t worry, I have plans for him,” Stiles says.

“Christ, don’t tell me that.” Some warmth returns to Tom’s voice. “But if you had to be arrested for something, you know what, I’ll take it. I’m real proud of you, bucko.”

Stiles feels his cheeks flush pink. “Yeah, uh, I’m proud of me too. I think. Is that the right response?”

“Not by a long shot.”

“Didn’t think so.”

“Go home and go to bed. We’ll talk tomorrow.”

“Okay. Love-you-bye,” Stiles says, and waits for the words to be echoed before he hangs up. He gets one arm around Derek’s waist and the other around Erica’s shoulders. “So that happened,” he says.

Derek rolls his eyes. “You’re an idiot,” he says. But then he leans down and presses a kiss into Stiles’ temple. “Let’s go home.”