Melissa had been summoned to the high school enough times in the past two years that receiving the call to come pick up her son because he'd been suspended for fighting wasn't exactly a surprise. Not a surprise, particularly considering some of the things that she knew now, but it was aggravating nevertheless. At least the principal wasn't an Argent anymore, she thought as she pulled her car to a jerky stop in the visitor's parking lot. She'd been looked down on enough from the adults in that family for one lifetime, thank you very much, and she hoped that the new principal didn't discriminate against students who happened to be werewolves. Actually, she mentally revised as she walked into the school, she hoped that the principal was blissfully unaware of the existence of werewolves. A school full of teenagers was bad enough without adding werewolves to the equation.
Thankfully class was in session and she was able to walk down the hall to the main office without having to fight her way through crowds of teenage boys who didn't remember to look down when they were walking. Melissa remembered that well enough from her own high school days and she wasn't overly keen to repeat the experience. She glanced over the occupants of the main office as she stepped inside: a girl and a boy sat as far apart from each as they could on a bench against one wall, the girl focused on the cellphone in her hands as she typed rapidly and the boy glancing at her every few seconds, but other than that the main area was free of any delinquent students.
"I'm here for Scott McCall," she told the secretary, who looked up when she reached the front counter.
The secretary frowned, clearly puzzled. "I don't have Scott down here today. Just that one," she nodded toward the vice principal's office where a slouched figure was barely visible through the window in the door. "You were listed as his emergency contact."
Melissa blinked, easily recognizing Isaac by his hair and his posture, and looked down at the student registration card that the secretary slid across the counter to her. Most of the card was filled out in Isaac's handwriting, the word 'deceased' written neatly in the spaces for his parents. Under emergency contacts there were two names; the first she could make out was Derek Hale, though it had been crossed out with a line that dented the card, and the second was her name and cellphone number, written in Scott's handwriting with the same pen that had been used to cross off Derek's name. There was no address listed, no other phone numbers, and she tapped her finger against the edge of the card as she thought.
"If there's been a mistake we can remove the contact information," the secretary offered.
"There's no mistake, he's mine," Melissa said as she reached for a pen. "I just need to finish filling out the rest of the information. I don't know why Scott didn't put our address."
The secretary nodded. "I know with mine if I don't tell them specifically they won't even think about the most obvious things. And even sometimes when I do tell them!"
Melissa smiled knowingly as she finished adding their home address along with their home phone number and her work number. Werewolves seemed to lead to more emergencies than she'd like to think about and she made a mental note to get Isaac's cellphone number so she could reach him as well - even if it was just so she could tell him to pick up some milk on his way home. "Alright, where do I sign to take him?"
"Actually, the vice principal has the teacher who witnessed the altercation in his office right now, so I'll just let them all know you're here and you can finish up the paperwork with them," the secretary said as she picked up Isaac's registration card. "Just one moment."
Melissa leaned against the counter and watched as the secretary knocked on the office door and ducked her head inside. Beyond the secretary she could see as Isaac heard that someone was there for him as well as his surprised and confused expression as looked up and he saw her waiting. Clearly Scott hadn't told Isaac about the alterations he'd made to Isaac's registration card either. She wasn't angry with Scott, after what she'd heard she certainly didn't want Derek to be called in as Isaac's emergency contact, but a little heads up would have been nice for everyone involved. Melissa raised her eyebrows in response to Isaac, whose expression seemed to have gotten stuck on perplexed.
"They're ready for you now," the secretary said as she returned to the counter.
"Thank you," Melissa said as she made the somewhat familiar trek into the vice principal's office. As much as she'd like to say otherwise, she had done this a time or three for Scott when he'd run into trouble in various instances - almost all of them related to werewolf issues in one way or another.
"Mrs. McCall, we're glad you could make it," the vice principal said, standing and shaking her hand from across his desk as soon as she was inside his office. "I'm Harold Moore, I joined the staff at the start of the school year."
"Nice to meet you Mr. Moore," she replied as she took a seat next to Isaac. "I only wish it was under better circumstances."
The vice principal nodded. "Unfortunately I do wind up meeting many parents this way rather than at back to school night or school events. I'm not sure you're entirely aware of the situation?"
Melissa glanced to where Isaac was now glaring at the empty wall, his shoulders hunched and his slouch even more pronounced. "I was told he got into a fight," she said as she returned her attention to the vice principal. She hadn't seen any marks on Isaac but given how quickly he healed that didn't mean he hadn't been hurt.
"To say it was a fight may not be entirely accurate. According to eyewitness reports, including from Coach Finstock," Mr. Moore said, nodding to where the Coach was sitting to the side of the desk, "Isaac assaulted one of his teammates on the cross country team while they were at a rest stop on their away meet this week. According to the witnesses, the attack was completely unprovoked and the victim did not attempt to defend himself or to attack Isaac in return."
"Never seen anything like it," the Coach said with a shake of his head. "Usually other guy at least takes a swing or two."
Melissa looked to Isaac again, whose arms were now folded, and she wondered if that was so he could keep his claws hidden against his chest. "Okay," she said when it became obvious that Isaac wasn't going to speak to either dispute or confirm this information.
"Another concern we have is that only a week ago Isaac was accused of attacking the same person. At the time we had only circumstantial evidence that Isaac was involved and he only served a lunch-time detention. However, given the severity of this attack, we may need to look at that under a new light," the vice principal continued, looking down at his notes. "The student who was victimized declined to press charges and his guardian agreed that wasn't necessary. At this point we're looking at a three day suspension."
"Is the other student alright?" Melissa asked. "You're making this sound like there was some serious damage done."
The Coach leaned forward in his chair. "Ethan bled from the mouth and nose for a while, but he was well enough to take first in his race. Usually we would remove Isaac from the team for this, but he's one of my best runners so obviously you can understand why that's not possible."
Melissa nodded, relieved to know that the person Isaac had attacked was one of the other werewolves in the school, and probably one of the members of the Alpha Pack at that.
"Isaac," the vice principal said, turning slightly so he was focused entirely on Isaac. "Can you tell us what prompted you to attack Ethan?"
Isaac gave a one-shouldered shrug and continued to stare at the wall.
"Out loud, if you would," the vice principal pressed.
When Isaac finally gave in and answered why he attacked Ethan, pausing with his lips open like he was weighing his words carefully, Melissa just hoped that something vaguely normal for a teenage boy in a world without werewolves would come from his mouth.
"Because he's a giant dick," Isaac said, the words breaking the impatient silence in the vice principal's office.
Close enough. Melissa winced slightly even though she understood that Isaac was trying to force them to end the conversation since there wasn't much Isaac could say about why he'd attacked Ethan that didn't involve anyone's status as a member of the local supernatural community.
"If it's because there is two of him, it freaks me out a little too," the Coach added in a low voice as if he was speaking confidentially to Isaac.
Melissa was mostly used to the Coach's eccentricities after last year's lacrosse season but sometimes she simply had no idea what he was talking about. Now was one of those times. From Isaac's furrowed brows it seemed he didn't either.
"Ethan and his twin Aiden are new students this year," the vice principal clarified after a moment. "Isaac, give us something here. Is Ethan bothering you? Maybe said something to you before you attacked him in the hall last week?"
Isaac sighed. "I didn't attack him last week."
"Just at the rest stop on Monday?" the vice principal pressed.
"Yes. Are we done?" Isaac asked, raising his chin to focus his glare across the desk instead of at the wall.
The vice principal frowned and leaned in, resting his elbows on the desk. "Isaac, I don't believe that you just decided to attack Ethan out of nowhere. We're trying to help you."
"Well don't. I don't want your help," Isaac said, his voice tight.
Melissa shook her head when the vice principal looked at her beseechingly. "I'll sign his suspension paperwork if you have it ready," she said. She had her own questions for Isaac, but they weren't anything that she could ask here.
"When he returns next Monday I'd like for him to be set up to see our school counselor, the papers are in the packet. For the suspension I just need the top form signed now, there's a copy of the same paper for you to take home as well," the vice principal said, handing over a set of papers. "Isaac, I hope that we'll be able to work with you this year. I'm not your enemy."
Isaac wisely said nothing as Melissa signed the suspension form and returned it to the vice principal's desk. "Thank you for you time," she said as she stood. It had gone over better than she had hoped, considering that Argent probably would have used this as grounds to have Isaac expelled, but Isaac was rubbing his forehead like he was getting a migraine.
Melissa led the way out of the office, pausing and watching as Isaac slung his backpack over one shoulder and followed her out without looking back at where the vice principal and the Coach were both staring at Isaac. "My car is in the visitor's lot," she told Isaac as soon as they were in the main hallway.
Isaac's brow furrowed and he jammed his hands in the pockets of his jeans. "You don't have to..."
What exactly Melissa didn't have to do she never found out as Isaac trailed off and he glanced down the hallway in the opposite direction. "Do you have all the books and everything you need from your locker until Monday?" she asked instead.
Isaac nodded quickly.
"Okay then, let's go. We can talk at home," she said, waiting until Isaac was at least looking in her direction again before taking a step. Even if Isaac hadn't been a werewolf there would be no way she could have dragged him out of the school, but Isaac followed her out of the building and to her car, giving it a suspicious look when she unlocked the passenger seat before walking around to her own side.
After a moment Isaac got in and put on his seatbelt, his hands fiddling with the loop on top of his backpack. "I can leave," Isaac said shortly after they pulled out of the high school parking lot. "I didn't mean for you to think I was asking live with you when I asked Scott if I could stay for a day or two. I don't even know how the school got your number."
Melissa found herself biting her lip as she decided what she wanted to address first. "Well, I don't want you to leave and I'm sure Scott doesn't either. Having two teenagers in the house instead of one isn't a problem and I like having you around. I can't speak for Scott, but I'm pretty sure he does too." Melissa knew for a fact that Scott liked having Isaac around, though she still hadn't figured out exactly how much of that was because they were werewolves and how much was something else. What she did know was that Scott and Stiles didn't look at each other the way that Scott and Isaac did.
Isaac didn't look convinced, his frown only deepening as he stared at the dashboard. Melissa supposed that she wouldn't be convinced that easily either, considering that he'd been thrown out of his previous home with no warning whatsoever.
"Isaac, consider my home your home. You have a key, right?" she asked, knowing that Scott had given him one last week.
"Yeah," Isaac said, a hint of suspicion in his voice.
"Good. I know werewolves don't exactly need a key to get into most places, but in general I would prefer that both of you use your keys instead of doing damage to the house to get inside. Also, coming to get you isn't a problem. I've shown up plenty of times for Scott and I'm sure I will again. I don't mind that the school called me, though I will have a talk with Scott about telling us before he changes your emergency contact information or things like that," Melissa said, unable to resist the urge to roll her eyes as she came to a stop at a red light. "So, none of that is a problem, okay?"
"Okay," Isaac said after a long silence, waiting until Melissa was speeding up again before he spoke.
Melissa nodded and decided to go for it while she at least had Isaac speaking. In non-emergency situations Isaac was surprisingly shy. It was impossible for her to get food preferences from him or get a real answer when she asked if he needed money for new socks or whatever. Later on Scott had told her that Isaac wasn't overly fond of fish and that Isaac needed some new shirts and stuff because he'd been borrowing some clothes from Peter and Derek. For now using Scott as a go-between worked, but she'd like it if Isaac would relax a little around her in the kitchen and the living room the same way that he would in the morgue or while discussing whatever disaster had just struck. "However, it is a problem for you to attack one of your classmates in front of a teacher," she said, keeping her tone as neutral as she could.
"Ethan's a member of the Alpha Pack," Isaac stated, his hands curling with the words.
"I understand that, and I absolutely understand and support you protecting yourself. Did the Coach miss something at the rest stop? Something that Ethan did?" Melissa asked, wondering not for the first time if she should talk to Scott about transferring them to East Beacon High School.
Isaac shook his head. "Not at the rest stop. He nearly killed Scott over the weekend though. Scott was still hurt on the bus, long after I healed."
Melissa's stomach clenched because she knew that Isaac wasn't exaggerating when he said that Scott had nearly died. As far as she could tell, Scott and Isaac never exaggerated when it came to what they got up to as werewolves. "And you were worried that Ethan might find an opportunity to hurt Scott while he was already injured?" she clarified.
"Not really," Isaac said. "I mean, he could have, but that wasn't what I was thinking."
She waited as they turned down the side street that would take them the rest of the way home, giving Isaac time to sort out what he needed to tell her. Working in the hospital and parenting Scott had taught her a lot about teenage boys, and even though Isaac and Scott were very different people, some things seemed universal.
"I was thinking that I couldn't let them hurt Scott like that and get away with it. I was thinking that even though Ethan is an Alpha and could hurt me way worse than I could hurt him, I wanted him to know what I would do if he went after Scott again. I wanted what happened to Scott to matter," Isaac said, his voice going quiet as he stared resolutely out the front window. "I didn't attack Ethan in the school though. Aiden did that, not me."
"I believe you," Melissa said as she parked in the driveway and turned off the car, the air heavy between them in the sudden quiet. There was a lot Isaac hadn't said, a lot left in the open there that made Melissa want to reach over and hug Isaac, but from the way Isaac's shoulders tensed anyone came close she thought that Isaac probably hadn't had many hugs in his life. Correction, she thought as she opened the side door that led into the kitchen, Isaac trailing after her and clutching his backpack - Isaac's shoulders tensed when anyone but Scott came close. At some point she needed to sit Scott down and get some answers from her son about what exactly was happening there, but she thought that could wait until after they solved the Alpha Pack crisis, or at least until there wasn't dead bodies showing up every other day.
She dropped the packet of papers on the kitchen table along with her purse and checked the time. She had a few hours before she had to head to her shift at the hospital and she still had a handful of things she'd wanted to get done that morning. "Alright, let's cut straight to the chase. Regardless of Ethan's involvement in the Alpha Pack, attacking him for no apparent reason in front of a teacher just isn't going to cut it. I understand that your intentions were good, but we need to work on the execution a little. I have a standing rule with Scott and I figure it's only fair if it applies to you too. You get suspended from school, you get grounded for as long as you're suspended along with the following weekend. Deal?" she asked. Again, grounding a werewolf - one she wasn't technically even responsible for - was probably a little bit more tricky than grounding a human teenager, but she thought she could handle it.
Isaac blinked, his shoulders hunched as he folded his arms again. "Grounded?"
It was Melissa's turn to blink at Isaac's obvious and genuine confusion. She didn't know any teenagers who hadn't been grounded at least once, but then she was usually dealing with Scott and Stiles, so she supposed her sample size wasn't very large. "Grounded. You stay in the house; no tv, no computer unless its for school work."
Isaac nervously licked his lips as he continued to stare at her. "What happens to me while I'm grounded?"
"What do you mean?" Melissa asked, purposefully relaxing her posture and keeping her distance from Isaac. His question had sent chills up her arms - she'd heard enough from Scott to know that Isaac's punishments when Isaac had been living with his father had been cruel and outright abusive.
Isaac shrugged, the twist of his body screaming his discomfort. "You want me to clean stuff? Or stay in the basement or something?" he asked, his voice only wavering slightly at the word basement.
"Nope," she said. She sometimes did have Scott do extra chores when he was grounded, but for right now she figured just keeping Isaac home where he was less likely to wind up being torn to shreds by the Alpha Pack was good enough. "Just stay in the house, do your homework, spend some time resting and thinking of better ways to handle attending the same school as the Alpha Pack - or even whether you might want to consider transferring to the other high school. If you want to help Scott with dinner, that might not be a bad idea. That's it."
"What if the Alpha Pack shows up here?" Isaac asked, his eyes narrowing in suspicion.
"If someone shows up here looking to hurt you, do what you need to in order to get to safety. If that means you run and get somewhere public where they won't attack you, do it. If it means you call 911 to get a sheriff's deputy to come by, do that. Historically the hospital hasn't exactly been a safe haven for werewolves, but if I'm at work and you feel safer there, go there," Melissa said, silently hoping that the Alpha Pack never showed up at her house for either Scott or Isaac. The lizard creature that had turned out to be Jackson had been bad enough, along with Gerard Argent, but she thought that the Alpha Pack would be a lot quicker to kill and a lot less likely to simply use her as a demonstration of just how helpless humans could be in the face of the supernatural. "I don't want you to get hurt."
Isaac's head jerked up and he stared at her, his lips slightly parted until he swallowed hard. "I guess I know where he gets it from," he said, apropos of nothing.
When Melissa realized that Isaac was still waiting for something from her, though what it was she wasn't quite sure, she looked down at the list of things she'd wanted to get done that morning. She'd abandoned the list mid-thought on the table when her cellphone had rung only about an hour earlier, and she nearly sighed at the realization that most of the list was errands that needed to be run. She didn't want to leave the house right away, not while Isaac was still so clearly on edge, but she recalled that she had wanted to finish sorting through some of the junk they'd taken out of the guest bedroom so that Isaac could have a room to himself. "I've got a couple of things to do around the house. Why don't you go sort out what you school work you'll need to do these next few days?" she suggested.
"Okay," Isaac nodded and backed a few steps away. "I just have to stay in the house? That's it?" Isaac asked, pausing in the doorway that led to the main hallway.
"That's it," Melissa promised, watching as Isaac frowned with concentration and then nodded and left.
As soon as she was sure Isaac was gone she sunk down into one of the kitchen chairs and silently asked herself if she was doing the right thing. Ever since learning that werewolves could hear well - like 'conversations from the other side of the house' well - she'd tried to curb her tendency to reason with herself out-loud. She had always been one to think verbally, it helped her get organized and make a plan of action, but ever since Mark left she'd found herself doing it more and more. Part of her wrote it off as just relaxing a little and letting herself resurface after trying so hard for so many years to change and be someone different, but she also wondered if it was her way of substituting for not having another parent to check-in with and make sure she was having reasoned responses. Not that she and Mark had ever agreed on how to raise Scott, not in the ways it had really mattered.
She still remembered that night - when she'd had Scott for one of the few weekends that Mark had let her take him - and Scott had waited until they were driving back to Mark's house before he'd told her that he wanted to come back and live with her. The way he'd said it, his eyes fixed forward and his hands twisting in the strands of his backpack, Melissa had known right then that she would do absolutely anything to get Scott back. Now that Scott was back with her, and had been for almost two full years, Mark hadn't made any effort to visit with Scott on the two weekends a month he was allowed visitation nor on holidays, and Scott had only asked her once if his dad was ever going to try to see him. For the first few months she'd worried about Mark taking Scott from school and disappearing entirely. Mark certainly had the resources to do so and she'd heard a lot of stories about people whose former spouses had taken their children and were never seen or heard from again. She had only relaxed when she realized that when Scott had told the judge he wanted to live with her, Mark had seen it as the same choice Melissa had made when she'd made it clear that she wanted a divorce and she wasn't going to be dissuaded this time.
Maybe that was why she'd become attached to Isaac so easily, because he reminded her of Scott in a lot of ways. Their responses were often different, but she could see the way they both weighed things in their mind and how aware they were of the people around them. Scott had relaxed again to the young teen she'd known a few months after he returned to living with her - she could only hope that enough time would help Isaac relax around her as well.
Apart from Stiles, Isaac was the first friend that Scott had ever brought around - though she suspected that she would have only met Isaac in passing if it hadn't been for his abruptly urgent need of somewhere to live. She was attached to Stiles, partially because there had been entire years when Scott and Stiles had been almost literally attached at the hip, but he had always been reluctant to let her mother him in any way. Stiles seemed to see her as somewhere between a trusted adult and an equal; as someone he could ask questions of when she knew something he wanted to know, as someone he occasionally needed to circumvent when he and Scott were up to doing things that teenagers tended to do, but never really as a parent in the same way that Scott looked up to Sheriff Stilinski. Melissa could understand why, she'd been around for the protracted death of Mrs. Stilinski, and she'd watched as Stiles isolated himself and became very self-reliant. She knew the Sheriff was trying, she didn't know a better man or a better father, but with kids and teenagers sometimes there was only so much they would let the adults in their lives do for them.
"I'm doing the right thing," Melissa told herself in a whisper as she let her thoughts settle back on Isaac. In this case grounding him was less about punishment and more about keeping him somewhere accounted for while he wasn't in school - the Alpha Pack was clearly very dangerous and they potentially had a serial killer running loose on top of that. She knew that Isaac would be seventeen in a few months but in the back of her mind ever since Scott had come to her and explained everything he knew about Isaac's situation she'd been considering the possibility of seeking temporary guardianship over Isaac. She still didn't know how Isaac had escaped the notice of the Department of Child and Family Services, though his unusual circumstances had probably increased his chances of slipping through the cracks in the system, but she was positive that they would have never approved of Derek Hale as a guardian. The knowledge that Derek was Isaac's Alpha, and that Derek had on many occasions asked Scott to be in his pack, had been enough for her to give Derek the benefit of the doubt at the time when she'd first learned about the werewolf population of Beacon Hills, but after Scott had told her what Isaac had told him, she didn't want Derek near either of them. She didn't know enough about werewolves and pack though to know if Derek came and demanded that Isaac returned to his pack if Isaac would even have a choice.
It was another question that she wanted to ask someone who wasn't Scott, partially because she didn't know if Scott knew enough about werewolves to know the answer, but mostly because she didn't want to worry him more than he already was. The presence of the Alpha Pack and the serial killer was already taking its toll on Scott, Stiles, and Isaac, and the last thing she wanted to do was add another potential enemy for them to worry about. She looked up from where she'd been absently writing on her to-do list, the dark and thick lines not forming any words and having covered most of the original items. After thinking for a moment she crumpled the list and threw it away before pulling out her phone to text Scott to pick up bread and milk on his way home from the vet this afternoon and that there was chicken in the fridge for dinner. She'd been sitting and worrying long enough that it was almost lunch time - it felt like breakfast had been ages ago - and she decided that food was necessary before she worried herself out of being hungry. She set aside the packet of papers the vice principal had sent home, planning on going over them later when she had a better idea of what she could possibly do.
A quick survey of the fridge and pantry reminded her of why grocery shopping had been on her to-do list for the day, but there were two cans of tomato soup hiding behind a bag of noodles and there was a container of sliced deli turkey that needed to be eaten before it spoiled - but no bread or milk in the house. She fished out the last of the cream, the mayonnaise, and the mustard from the fridge and got to work - creamy tomato soup with turkey rolls seemed like the perfect meal considering what she had immediately available. It didn't take long to get the soup heating up on the stove and she put away dishes from the dishwasher while she waited for the soup to come to a slow boil. By the time she had everything set out on the table, the soup just the right temperature for a slightly chilly fall day, she realized that she hadn't heard so much as a peep from Isaac since he'd left the room over an hour ago. The walls of the house weren't that thick and even though the house was more space than the three of them needed she usually could hear Scott and Isaac walking about when they were upstairs, or the sound of them talking, or just general movement in the house. She hadn't even heard the steps squeak when Isaac went upstairs.
Silence struck Melissa as more frightening than it had only months ago. Knowing that werewolves and lizard-things existed - really existed, considering her own son was a werewolf - had opened her mind to the possibility of what else could potentially be out there, things she'd long ago dismissed as legends and scary stories and people just being silly. She was a little old to believe in the boogeyman, but she'd seen a teenaged boy-lizard die and come back to life, she'd seen her son shot and healed without so much as a scar, and she'd seen creatures with glowing eyes and claws and fangs lurking in the darkness. It didn't help that two of those same creatures came down for breakfast on late Saturday mornings with their hair all fuzzy and wild and their eyes blurry as they set to work devouring everything in her kitchen. Scott had told her a little bit about wolfsbane bullets and how the Argents used bows and arrows because the arrows made it more difficult for werewolves to heal, but she had been reluctant to do anything other than keep the supply of Mountain Ash that Deaton had sent home with Scott early in the summer. She hated the idea of having something purposely designed to hurt her own child in her house, even when there were other werewolves out there who could pose a threat. Once she had scolded herself - in Mark's voice, naturally - that Scott wasn't three and wasn't going to get into the wolfsbane by accident, but had then spent about thirty minutes sitting on the floor laughing hysterically at the idea of raising a werewolf toddler. It happened in werewolf families all the time, she was sure, but there was only so much absurdity that could invade her life under the guise of reality that she could take at a time. It had been a long summer.
Melissa stepped quietly from the kitchen, not making too much effort to disguise her footsteps because any werewolf would easily be able to tell where she was regardless, but she didn't have to go far in order to find Isaac. In the living room she found Isaac's school notebook open on the coffee table, a pen next to it, and Isaac asleep and slumped over on the couch with a textbook half sliding off his lap. She was about to leave him sleeping, he looked exhausted pretty much every time she saw him, but a second later she heard a low pitched whimper and saw that his hands were clenched and pulled in tight against his chest.
Scott had told her that Isaac had chronic nightmares after she'd walked by the guest bedroom one morning and peeked in to find both Scott and Isaac squished together in the twin bed. In the moment she hadn't had enough time to do more than remind Scott that they were both going to be late for school if they didn't get a move on and she was already late for work as it was, but the memory of them in bed together had crossed her mind more than once in the meantime. It wasn't that she didn't believe Scott about Isaac having nightmares, and she appreciated that Scott was kind enough to comfort his friend even when it meant leaving his own bed in the middle of the night, but something about the situation had struck her as odd nevertheless. Maybe it was part of the werewolf thing again - she vaguely recalled a nature documentary she'd watched years before she knew about werewolves that said wolf packs would usually sleep in close contact - but she'd seen Scott and Stiles sleep in the same bed during sleepovers and it didn't feel like the same thing either. Part of her wanted to say that it was almost romantic, if not quite sexual, but at the very least Isaac and Scott had both had their night clothes on. Scott hadn't said much about Allison since the spring, other than to tell her they were taking a break while they sorted some stuff out, but she hadn't heard anything to indicate that Scott's feelings towards Allison had changed either.
Another whimper from Isaac drew her from her musings and she had a brief moment to wonder how she should go about waking a sleeping werewolf when the problem solved itself. Isaac jolted in his sleep, his textbook falling to the floor with a loud thump. He woke with glowing eyes and claws slipping out from his fingertips, moving automatically to crouch on the floor like some kind of predator.
Melissa felt her heart pounding as Isaac stared at her from beyond the couch and she waited until his claws retracted before she spoke. "Just wanted to let you know that lunch is ready. We should eat before it gets cold. Why don't you go wash up?" she asked, Isaac's eyes finally returning to stormy gray with her last words.
Isaac nodded, standing as she walked slowly from the room. Back in the kitchen Melissa put her hand to her chest and sunk down into her chair, keeping her breathing even as her heart rate returned to normal. It took a minute or two but she finally heard the squeak of the faucet in the downstairs bathroom and then a few moments later Isaac joined her at the kitchen table. Their meal was quiet for the most part, Isaac thanking her and telling her that the food was good the only conversation, and Melissa could tell that Isaac was still waiting for her response to his display of claws in the living room.
She had barely known how to have the 'I don't mind that you're a werewolf' conversation with Scott and had no idea how to approach it with Isaac, so she simply helped him tidy up the kitchen when they were finished eating and tried not to watch him as he tried not to be obvious about the way he was watching her hands.
"Remember, no tv. Call me if you need anything. I'll be back late, but Scott should be here before dinner" she said a few hours later as she prepared to leave the house, Isaac looking up from his homework with a wary expression before he quickly nodded. She waited until she was inside her car before she sighed and wondered - not for the first time - what the hell she'd gotten herself into.
"What happened?" she asked, hurrying around the counter as she assessed Scott for any indication of injuries. There were no indication that his clothes were torn or stained, which was a good sign, but she wasn't sure she trusted Scott to tell her if he was hurt - not now at least.
Scott held up a plastic sack and smiled. "I brought you dinner. Isaac would have come too, but he says that he's grounded?"
Melissa accepted the sack and peered inside. "Yes, grounded. You know the rules. Chicken Alfredo?" she asked as she looked at the plastic container inside the sack. Scott could cook some basic meals, but this was beyond what he would usually attempt without her around.
"Isaac's a pretty good cook. But seriously, you can't ground Isaac," Scott insisted, following her over to the nurse's station and leaning against the counter. "That's not fair."
"He's living with us which means the house rules apply. That sounds fair to me," Melissa pointed out. She opened the container and nearly moaned at the smell. "Are you sure you didn't get this at a restaurant?"
Scott frowned. "Isaac did most of the cooking, I just did what he told me. And, really, being grounded is freaking him out. He twitches every time we hear the neighbors outside or when a car drives by. Even though he's asked me like five times now if he really just has to stay in the house, he still stares at me like he thinks I'm not telling him something. It's harder to hear a lie when it's just something that you're not saying, even though I've told him that I've been grounded like a million times and nothing bad has happened."
Melissa carefully put the lid back on the container and used a post-it note to make sure her meal was marked with her name. This was one meal she wasn't going to let Judy - the second night nurse on the floor - get away with stealing. "You can hear when someone is lying?" she asked, keeping her voice casual. She knew that most of the time Scott didn't mean to keep things from her, just that some things had become so normal to him that he forgot to mention them.
"By listening to their heartbeat usually, though it's a little bit tricky. Isaac's better at it than I am, but he pretty much does it all the time. Like, even when Coach is talking, though I don't know what he possibly could be getting from that. Half the stuff Coach says doesn't make sense anyway," Scott said with a small shrug. "Anyway, do you have to ground Isaac? He only went after Ethan after finding out that I was still hurt. I'm not saying that he should have, but it wasn't him just randomly attacking someone."
"Yes, I have to ground Isaac. He - and you - have to figure some better way to deal with this Alpha Pack business during school hours. I've got a few ideas that we can talk over later on, but for right now I don't want him roaming the town alone while the Alpha Pack is coming after all of you," Melissa said firmly. "But, if it makes you feel better, you're grounded too."
"What did I do?" Scott exclaimed, giving her a wounded look.
Melissa frowned, wavering with her frustration and anxiety and love for her son. "Let's see here, you nearly died because you didn't tell me that you were hurt? Scott, I don't care that you're a werewolf, but I don't want you to die because you don't want to come to me with something. Especially when it's something I can help with. I may not be able to fight off a werewolf, but I can help keep you and Isaac alive."
"We'll be okay, mom," Scott said, leaning over the counter so that he could hug Melissa. "We'll figure it out."
"I'm sure we will," Melissa said as she hugged Scott tight before releasing him as she noticed Judy's approach from down the hallway. "But you're still grounded until Monday. Unless you're at school or at work, you're at home with Isaac, got it?"
Scott smiled as he started to back away from the counter. "Thanks, mom," he said, his voice completely free from sarcasm.
"And no tv or video games!" she called as he retreated. Scott didn't respond but she knew that he had heard her. There was a lot in that conversation that she had wanted to ask, but hadn't dared. Not yet. She was still worried about Derek, worried about the possibility of the Alpha Pack really hurting Scott or Isaac while they were at school, and she knew at some point she needed to talk to Scott about how often he wound up in Isaac's bed.
"Teenagers, huh?" Judy asked as she sat down next to Melissa and started transferring information from her clipboard into the computer system.
Melissa sunk down next to Judy and set her hand over the top of the meal that Scott and Isaac had made for her. "Yeah, something like that."