1. The Sheriff “John” Stilinski
As the Sheriff of Beacon Hills, John Stilinski interviewed and questioned numerous townsfolk every day. Some guilty, some innocent; some old, some young; some for murder, and some for unpaid speeding tickets. John had solved countless crimes and arrested numerous criminals, but through it all, he still found the most disturbing cases to be ones involving children. Unfortunately, his latest case did involve a child.
Isaac Lahey was a 15 year old student at Beacon Hills High School, he played lacrosse, had a part time job and was turning 16 in just over a week. Overall, he was a regular teenage boy. Except today John had to arrest him under suspicion of murdering his own father.
Isaac had been quiet and behaved exceptionally in the cell (unlike most who would yell and swear at the officers), though he had curled in a ball in the corner, his hands gripping his legs tightly. Through the small window John could see that Isaac had clenched his eyes shut and appeared to be counting to himself. Okay so maybe his behaviour was actually extremely worrying.
Sighing softly, John let himself into the cell with a water bottle and a sandwich, swiftly passing them to Isaac as he uncurled and moved to the bench. Isaac quickly scoffed the sandwich down like he hadn’t eaten in days, before sipping at the water at a much more content pace. Teenage boys, John thought to himself amusedly before it turned much darker, or maybe he hasn’t eaten for days.
“Isaac, when was the last time you ate?” John asked, almost fearing the answer.
Isaac frowned and gave John an uncomfortable look, “Last night at dinner wi-with my dad.”
“I’m sorry for your loss Isaac,” John said solemnly, watching as Isaac looked at him with a guarded expression. He nodded slowly, clearly not planning on saying anything but not wanting to seem unresponsive.
Isaac looked to the ground, his frame was hunched over and his hands were clutching the water bottle tightly. John could see the tears welling in his eyes despite Isaac’s stoic expression. Without thinking much of it John leaned over to give Isaac a hug (because suspected criminal or not, he was a 15 year old boy who just lost his father) only to have Isaac recoil away and stare at him with fearful eyes.
“I’m sorry,” John said gently, “I didn’t mean to startle you. You looked upset and like you needed a hug.”
Isaac managed to send John a cold look, despite the tears still lingering in his eyes, “Isn’t that a bit unprofessional?”
“You’re right, it was. I’m sorry,” John conceded.
Thinking deeply about how Isaac reacted, about the black eye that Isaac had at the graveyard, and what that Whittemore had said about Mr Lahey, John left the cell.
Erica was sat in the abandoned train station that was currently the home for her alpha. Derek had told her that he wouldn’t be back to meet her for training until after 4 and it was now 3:23.
Okay, so she was early… And maybe a bit too eager to start training… but being early wasn’t bad, she could get used to her surroundings and maybe get an advantage for when they started. She could impress Derek and he’ll see that he made a great choice in choosing her as a member of his pack. Sure, the pack was only Derek, Isaac and her so far, but it would grow. He had said something about Jackson and Scott joining, but at the time she was too distracted with the magnificent smells and sounds that she was taking in.
She didn’t mind too much that Scott and Jackson were probably going to be included; Jackson was a douche bag of epic proportions, but he was a popular douche bag, and if they were pack he would have to make sure she was popular too. Not to mention that Scott, while clearly being utterly besotted by Allison, was a damn fine piece of eye candy who just happened to be best friends with Stiles Stilinski (aka future husband). Isaac though… well she didn’t even know who Isaac was.
She had been wracking her brain for any idea of who he was since she was bitten the day before, and yet she still had no recollection of any Isaac at Beacon Hills High School. Did that mean he was one of the many in the sea of faces who laughed at her and called her names? Was he so average that he literally blended in with the crowds? Did he go by a nickname at school and Isaac was his real name? Or maybe he was actually Greenburg… no, Isaac Greenburg didn’t sound right. Maybe he was even more of an outcast than Erica?
Erica’s head perked up as she heard footsteps approaching, taking in a new scent that came closer. It wasn’t Derek, she could tell. A brief moment of panic waved through her when her brain helpfully supplied the image of a police officer arresting her for trespassing, but she quickly calmed when a curly haired teenage boy walked in warily.
The boy was familiar with thick, light brown hair, a defined jaw and hunched shoulders as he walked cautiously closer towards the train cart that Erica was in. They made eye contact as he drew near and Erica could see the fear and nervousness that his blank expression was hiding. This was Isaac, Erica recognized. She had seen him at school, they were even in the same chemistry class, but she had completely forgotten he existed.
“Hi Isaac,” Erica smiled softly.
Isaac’s mouth pulled at the slide, as if a hook had jerked up one of his cheeks into what might have passed as a half smile if it had reached his eyes. He didn’t say anything, just nodded and sat down on a seat just left of being opposite to her. He was watching her cautiously, as if he still wasn’t sure what to make of her.
After almost ten seconds Erica scowled, she found that indescribable stares she got from strangers were almost more frustrating than the gawking and snickering, “Is there a reason why you’re staring at me?”
Isaac jerked back minutely, and looked down, swallowing loudly, “I um, I was debating whether or not to try and start a conversation about Iron Man because of your shirt… but I wasn’t sure how to bring it up without it seeming like I was staring at your chest.”
There was a moment where Erica wondered if she was dreaming before she felt a grin light up her face as she jumped forward and sat next to him, choosing to ignore that he flinched back, “We can definitely have a conversation about Iron Man. You could tell this was Tony’s arc reactor and dude, that makes you awesome!”
Isaac laughed lightly, but Erica doubted it was genuine, “Thanks. I guess it’s lucky that you were wearing that shirt then, otherwise we probably wouldn’t have much to talk about.”
“Hmm that’s true,” Erica nodded thoughtfully, “So… are you into the movies or comics?”
A more genuine half smile appeared, far more attractive than the pathetic attempt from a few moments ago, and he let out a small breathe as he relaxed slightly, “Both, but I like the comics better. You?”
“I actually like the movies better,” Erica admitted sheepishly, “I don’t read all that much Marvel to be honest, and when I do it’s usually X-Men. I’m actually more of a DC fan.”
Isaac nodded, “I’ve read some DC, and I really enjoyed the Hush series, but I like Marvel better.”
Erica made a light ‘oooh’ sound and nodded, “I have Hush at home, I got it for my birthday a few weeks ago but I haven’t read it yet. Don’t spoil it for me, or I will not hesitate to castrate you.”
Isaac snorted, “Like I would ever spoil something like that. I know better than to ruin the reading of comics.”
“It’s awesome to meet someone who understands the importance of no spoilers,” Erica said, giving him a delighted smile as she lurched forward to hug him. She stopped however when he pulled back, giving her another indescribable look and the glimmer of fear in his eyes again.
Red bloomed lightly across Isaac’s cheeks as he looked down, “Sorry…”
Erica smiled tightly at him, “No, I’m sorry. I just got a bit carried away…”
Isaac shook his head slightly, and his lips quirked up again, “So what’s your favourite Marvel movie then?”
Isaac was clearly trying to act as though the awkward near hug never happened, and Erica was more than willing to play along, “The Avengers, but I loved Iron Man 2. The Black Widow is so badass.”
“Yes, likethat scene in the hallway in Iron Man 2 when she took out all those security guards!”
Lacrosse was something Beacon Hills cared about way too much. Each game the stands would be filled completely with cheering admirers for the guys on the field. The ending of each game always involved a quick team hug to show a form of unity or something; it had been tradition at Beacon Hills, no one questioned it.
Since he was goalie, Danny was often the last player on the lacrosse field to join the big team hug. He usually had to run from the opposing side of the field from everyone else so he would only catch the end as the team broke off to celebrate and cheer with each other and mingle with the crowd. Sometimes he would miss the hug all together.
As such, Danny frequently got hugs as he walked to the locker room, team members would run up to him and give him a solid pat on the back while hugging him gruffly. They all made sure to congratulate him on defending the goals because he truly was a skilled goalie (and maybe because Finstock was nervous he would complain he didn’t get reassured of his skills and accuse the team of being homophobic… but that was because Finstock was insane).
That’s why when Isaac Lahey walked towards him, Danny opened his arms up and leaned in for a hug, only to have Isaac jerk backwards quickly, looking terrified. Quickly apologising, Isaac shuffled away stealthily, his gaze low and expression tight.
Feeling slightly wounded, Danny wondered if maybe he had found the one person on the team who wasn’t comfortable with him being gay.
Okay, so maybe renting out War Horse wasn’t Scott’s best idea for a fun movie night with Isaac and Stiles. It honestly was, as Stiles put it, “A beautiful work of cinema,” while also being the most upsetting thing since breaking up with Allison for the first time.
They had started well with watching The Princess Bride followed by Ghostbusters, but Scott’s movie choice seemed to ruin the cheerful mood brought by the previous films. Not 40 minutes in Scott started to hear sniffles come from Stiles, and the scent of salty water from Isaac.
Glancing to his left at Stiles, Scott could see that he was burying his face in his pillow, eyes peeking over the top so as not to miss anything important. On Scott’s right Isaac was hugging himself with his knees against his chest, his chin resting on them as tears smoothly slid down his cheeks.
As the movie progressed and one of the horses died, Scott heard an almost inaudible whine come from Isaac. Scott quickly scrubbed his eyes and shuffled over to pull Isaac into a hug, only to have him duck away and scoot backwards with a strangled yelp.
“Umm…” Scott mumbled intelligently.
Isaac replied with an equally genius response of “Uhh…”
Stiles stared at them both with eyebrows raised, “I have no idea what I just witnessed, but if it’s some weird start to a mating ritual or something, Scott buddy, sorry to break it to you but I don’t think he’s into you.”
Scott laughed, “If it was a mating ritual you wouldn’t be here.”
Isaac nodded solemnly, “The mating rituals are done in private fields of the woods under the glow of a waning gibbous.”
“Thank you, I’ll add this crucial information to my book I’m writing, it’s called ‘What to do when you’re teeth are pointy and you’re getting furry!’,” Stiles replied sagely.
They all stared at each other for a moment before snickering and turning back to the movie, all silently deciding not to bring up what happened.
Before getting back together with Scott, Allison decided she needed to apologise. She had wondered if she could play it off as temporary insanity from her mother’s death, but it wasn’t a court room so no, that wouldn’t work. She had to face the consequences for what she had done and whom she had hurt. She would have apologised to Erica and Boyd first, but they were still missing, so she decided Isaac was next.
Fortunately (or maybe unfortunately) he lived with Derek (whom she had tried to forgive after she confronted him calmly so he could explain what happened) so she could apologise to both of them quickly. Plus she knew where Derek lived so that made things easier.
Derek’s apartment was on the first floor, unheated, dirty and in the bad end of town, but it was enough. It had two bedrooms, a lounge and a (admittedly cramped) kitchen. The walls were a cheery yellow that had faded and now seemed rather obnoxious, and the beige carpet gave off a strong smell of cats. The only upside was that the bedrooms were spacious and well kept with an en suite bathroom that had a shower with the perfect amount of pressure (she had to use it once after she joined in at training and slid down a muddy slope).
Allison sighed as she knocked; she hadn’t been alone with Isaac and Derek before, she’d always had someone to buffer the awkwardness and lingering uneasiness.
Derek raised his eyebrows when he answered, “Has something happened?”
“No, everything’s fine,” come on Allison, you can do this! “I was wondering if I could talk to Isaac.”
Derek appeared startled for a moment before he let her in, “He’s in his room.”
Allison didn’t have the chance to knock on Isaac’s door as he was suddenly all in her vision. He’d opened the door prematurely. Dude, get out of my grill.
Isaac gave her an odd look before waving her in his room, keeping his door open so Derek could see from where he was seated on the lounge reading a book. Is he reading Percy Jackson?! Isaac’s room was clean. Like, OCD kind of clean. The bed was made impeccably, the floor had no random crap littered carelessly, his desk was more organised than an ikea model and his bookshelf was dustless. Is that in alphabetical order? …yes. It is. Organised much?
“You wanted to talk to me?” Isaac said, regaining her attention from his plethora of books.
Allison smiled uncomfortably, “I just wanted to apologise.”
Isaac gave her a puzzled look, “For what?”
“For shooting you, for trying to kill you. That whole shebang,” Allison grimaced, I need to spend less time with Stiles.
Isaac swallowed as his mouth turned down, “Oh. Right.”
“Listen, I mean- my mum just died a-and I wasn’t really thinking well,” Allison bit her lip, angry that she couldn’t word this properly, “I just wanted you to know I’m sorry. I’m so sorry for doing that.”
Isaac nodded though his gaze was at his socked feet (oh god was I meant to take my shoes off?!), “That’s okay. Just um, don’t shoot me again please.”
“I have no intention to do that again. I promise,” Allison grinned. His mouth perked up at her contagious beam and Allison found herself leaning in for a hug without even realising it because Isaac never smiled but he did just then and how can someone be so adorable?! Suddenly Isaac recoiled back, eyes wide and looking startled.
“Sorry!” Allison exclaimed, “I’ll just go. I’m- I didn’t mean to do that.”
Isaac nodded stiffly, lips pressed together and frowning at his feet again. Allison quickly left the room, glancing at Derek who was getting up looking worried. Derek looked at her, nodded and then walked to Isaac’s room.
Allison left the apartment, wondering if she had just screwed up her apology. That nod could have meant anything. Shut up subconscious.
Isaac’s heart was thumping quickly, his breathing was erratic and Derek was worried. He had listened to the short conversation between Allison and Isaac, and he had seemed fine, maybe a little uncomfortable, for the whole time until the hug. Or more precisely the almost hug.
Isaac was now on the floor, he was staring at his socks as he curled in a small ball. Derek seriously wondered if he had any idea of what was happening around him or if he was stuck in his panic.
Derek sat down next to Isaac slowly, noting how he had tensed even more and his lips were pressed tightly together. Derek waited for almost 5 minutes until Isaac’s heart rate had dropped and his breathing became more even before talking, “Isaac.”
Isaac was silent, his mouth quivered slightly but he turned his head towards Derek to indicate he was listening.
“Are you okay?”
Isaac smiled scathingly, “Peachy.”
“Isaac,” Derek frowned heavily, “I’m not going to make you talk to me, but this isn’t the first time you’ve reacted to a hug.”
Isaac tensed up further, his jaw clenching visibly, “I don’t want to talk about it.”
“I didn’t think you would but…” Derek frowned, “I want you to answer this honestly Isaac; if I were to hug you right now, what would you do?”
“I-I would um,” Isaac’s jaw unclenched, but he slumped over more curling in, “I’d pull away before you could get your arms around me.”
“Why are you afraid of hugs?” Derek couldn’t even stop himself from asking.
Isaac looked up at Derek in shock over the blunt question, “Why would you want to know?”
Derek was silent for a moment, thinking about how to answer without making Isaac more uncomfortable, “I want to know if I’ll ever be able to hug you if you need it-“
“I don’t need hugs,” Isaac interrupted sharply.
“-or if I need it.” Derek finished, letting what he said sink in.
Isaac let out a small whine and his hands vanished into the sleeves of his hoodie, “Why would you need a hug?”
Derek forced himself not to snort since Isaac looked completely serious about the question, “Because believe it or not, I have feelings. I like to get hugs too sometimes. It’s a comforting feeling. Isaac… when was the last time someone gave you a hug that you accepted?”
Isaac’s mouth quivered again as he shrugged, “The last time my dad took me to the basement.”
“What.” A cold ball of dread was building in Derek’s gut as he remembered the Lahey basement; the freezer, the bloody scratch marks, the dry blood encrusting the belt hanging on the wall.
“When dad would take me to the basement he would hug me,” Isaac repeated, his voice wavering while his face was the epitome of blank, “He would hug me and apologise. Then he would beat me and lock me in the freezer.”
Derek dug his claws into his leg to keep from shifting at the rage he felt towards Isaac’s pathetic excuse of a father. The wolf inside was howling and begging; to be let out, to tear apart Lahey, leave him in total utter agony to die slowly. Unfortunately Lahey was already dead.
Taking a deep breath to (unsuccessfully) calm himself down, Derek forced his voice to remain low and soft, “He’d apologise?”
Face still blank and eyes staring unseeingly at the carpet, Isaac nodded, “He’d say he was sorry he had to do it. Sorry I was so useless. Sorry I was so stupid. Sorry I’m so worthless. Sorry I’m a disappointment. Sorry I can’t do anything right,” Isaac’s voice broke and his blank mask shattered as his eyes welled and spilled over, “Sorry I’m a waste of space. Sorry I’m not good at anything. I’m sorry I’m not good enough. I’m sorry I was born. I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m sorry!”
Isaac was sobbing now, deep heart wrenching sobs as he curled up tighter and threaded his fingers into his hair and tugged roughly.
Derek felt like crying too. He wasn’t oblivious to the tense change in Isaac’s admission, and he could see that Isaac truly believed he was all those things. His father had so deeply ingrained them into Isaac that he honestly thought he was like that. Derek felt the wolf want to break free and howl, to comfort Isaac and shield him from a threat that was no longer there. Derek shoved the wolf away but gave into the protective urge to look after Isaac by slowly removing one of Isaac’s hands from his hair and threading it through his own fingers.
With their fingers interlocked Derek thought back to how Laura would comfort him and rubbed soothing circles into Isaac’s skin, wishing that he could wrap Isaac in his arms and hide him from the world. Derek found himself murmuring things to Isaac, words of comfort and reassurances that Isaac wasn’t useless, that he wasn’t worthless, that he wasn’t a waste of space, that he wasn’t stupid, that he wasn’t a disappointment.
Derek wasn’t sure how long it took for Isaac to calm down, but when Isaac took his hand back both of their palms were slick with sweat and Isaac’s cheeks were stained with drying tears.
“I’m sorr-” Isaac started, his voice croaky.
“You don’t need to apologise,” Derek interrupted softly, “You never have to apologise for that. Was that the first time you’ve broken down?”
Isaac shook his head, “It’s the first time I haven’t been alone though.”
“Well you won’t have to do it alone anymore,” Derek replied thoughtfully, “I’ll be here for you if you need me.”
“You don’t need to-”
Isaac smiled shakily, “Thank you…”
There would be no kind way to say this so Derek had to be blunt, though he made his tone as gentle as possible, “I know you’ve got nothing but bad memories when it comes to hugs, but what your father did wasn’t hugging you. He trapped you before hurting you. That’s not a hug. A hug is something that makes you feel good. Something that comforts you or makes you happy.”
Isaac bit his lip, “I know. But it was the closest thing to a hug that he would give me since Camden died. I called them hugs so it wouldn’t seem as bad. But I guess it just fucked me up more. Now every time someone tries to hug me all I can see is my dad planning on putting me in the freezer again.”
It was horrifying, the way Isaac had been treated. And the way Isaac’s mind and emotions had been messed up trying to cope broke Derek’s heart.
“I’m going to hug you now, okay?” Isaac gave Derek a petrified expression and leaned away from him at the suggestion, “Isaac, I’m not going to hurt you. I promise I won’t hurt you. I just want you to see that hugs don’t mean something bad.”
Isaac nodded, whether it was because Derek was his alpha or because he wanted to get a hug Derek didn’t know. Derek moved in slowly, twisting so he was facing Isaac and so that he could look him in the eyes. Isaac was shaking and his eyes were wet but he leant in, meeting Derek halfway in what might have been the most awkward looking hug in the century. Isaac’s arms remained limply at his sides while Derek’s wrapped around him, making sure to keep his arms loose enough that if Isaac wanted to escape he could pull away easily.
They stayed like that for a few minutes, not moving or saying anything, before Isaac cautiously encircled his arms around Derek. Then he moved suddenly, rubbing his face into Derek’s shoulder and clinging to his shirt tightly; Derek matched him, making his hug more solid while nuzzling Isaac hair.
Time passed and limbs had gone numb before Derek felt Isaac’s heart and breathing rate even out as he fell asleep, still tight and safe in the embrace.