1. Danny Mahealani
Beacon Hills High isn't exactly the world's most normal high school. Honestly, Danny's pretty sure that there's no way it could be classified as normal ever. They have a lacrosse team.
Not that Danny's complaining, because he really loves lacrosse and he's happy he still gets to play it, but the fact that they have a lacrosse team kind of says something about their school. It sort of screams freak, which Danny is pretty sure should be the exact opposite of what their school should be doing given the . . . specialized nature of Beacon Hills High.
Really, the whole point of having an integrated supernatural/mutant/civilian school is that it's supposed to be normal. Nothing is supposed to blow up, no one is supposed to get eaten by plants, people aren't supposed to get bitten by werewolves, and no one is supposed to know about what Danny can do. He's careful about it, never uses his power conspicuously and tries to act as much like a civilian as possible. He thought he'd been doing pretty well, considering that there weren't even rumors that he was a mutant.
"You want me to do what?"
Stiles takes a deep breath and manages to calm his vibrating, like the problem was that he'd been talking too fast for Danny to catch what he said. Danny's good at processing information quickly, though. It's a side effect of his powers. When Stiles speaks again, it's almost normal speed.
"Trace a text."
"I came here to do lab work." Danny stops himself from folding his arms across his chest defensively. The fact that he feels defensive is never a good thing, and showing it would be a bad idea. "That's what lab partners do."
There's a sigh from Stiles, who is agitated and incessantly tapping his fingers against his desk. "And we will! Once you trace the text."
Adjusting his bag, Danny looks right at Stiles. He stills, and Danny secretly thanks Jackson for teaching him how to look at people and make them pay attention. Usually he uses it in more flirty situations, but he supposes it works fine here too. "And what makes you think I know how?"
"You." Stiles squirms under Danny's gaze. "In the computer lab, you turn on computers by tapping the side of the monitor. That's not how they work, you've got to be a technopath."
"That's just to wake them from sleep mode." It's not a lie that will convince Stiles, Danny thinks, but it's the one he always uses on other people. It worked on Jackson, and Jackson knows him better than anyone. Jackson doesn't understand how computers work at all, though. "It doesn't turn them on."
There's a choked-off sort of snort from Stiles, who's flapping his hands around in front of his face. "Sorry, sorry. Do people actually believe that?"
Sighing, Danny grabs the chair Stiles had pulled up earlier. "I'm not a technopath. Let's do the stupid lab report."
Clearly kind of annoyed that Danny isn't admitting anything, Stiles turns toward his computer and types something. He's hitting the keys pretty hard, and Danny wants to reach out and soothe the computer. He doesn't. He settles onto his chair, catching sight of the weird dude that's been sitting and reading a book in Stile's room since Danny got there.
"Who's he again?"
Panic flashes across Stile's face, quickly replaced by something like disgust. "My cousin. Miguel."
It sounds like a lie. Danny may not be like Issac, who can sense lies, or a werewolf but he knows what people look like when they're lying and Stiles is probably lying. When Danny glances at him again, "Miguel" looks at them and then goes back to reading.
"Is that blood on his shirt?" He doesn't know why he asks, because the answer is actually pretty obvious. Stiles turns to look at "Miguel" and panics again.
"What? Oh, yeah. Yes. He gets these horrible . . . nosebleeds." Flailing for a second, Stiles turns again. "Hey, Miguel."
"Miguel" looks up from his book. He seems extraordinarily upset with the fact that Stiles has dared to address him, and Danny thinks that even Jackson would be impressed at the level of this had better be worth it written onto this guy's face.
"I thought I told you you could borrow one of my shirts." Stiles tilts his head in the direction of his dresser, fingers tapping the back of his chair. The look on "Miguel's" face says that Stiles has told him no such thing.
He slams his book shut, tossing it on Stile's bed, and stands while he strips his shirt off. Stiles starts saying something about how he won't tell anyone that Danny is a technopath and whatever whatever, but Danny's a little distracted by the very hot, half-naked man in Stile's bedroom.
Breaking off mid-sentence, Stiles turns. "Yes, Miguel?"
"This? No fit."
Stiles rolls his eyes. "Then try another one."
Danny thinks that Stiles apologizes, but he's really really distracted by this maybe-Miguel. Look, it's not his fault the guy walked out of an Abercrombie photoshoot, okay? Stiles stops drumming his fingers on the table and grins an unholy grin. Honestly, if Danny weren't 100% sure that Stiles was a speedster because he'd seen him zip through the halls so fast lockers swung shut, he'd say that Stiles' power was actually evil mastermind plotting. That has to be a power, right?
"Hey. That one looks pretty good, huh?" Stiles smacks his arm and Danny barely registers it. "What do you think, Danny?"
Blinking, Danny tries to say something. "Huh?"
"The shirt." Stiles looks like the cat that got the cream and Danny hates that he's going to play right into Stiles' hand.
"It's. Not really his color." Which is true—Stiles maybe-cousin maybe-Miguel looks awful in orange and that's not really a good blue on him either. It makes him look like he's got a bad spray-tan. Danny mostly says it so that he'll take the shirt off and try on another one, though.
"You swing for a different team, but you still play ball. Don't you, Danny boy?"
Stiles is far too smug for Danny's liking. He would have punched him by now, but years of dealing with Jackson and his explosive tendencies have made Danny into something approaching a zen master. "You're a horrible person."
"I know." Stiles is bouncing his leg under the table. "It keeps me awake at night. Anyway! About that text."
Both Danny and Stiles turn to look at maybe-Miguel, who has the body of a Greek god or something. He's holding that brown shirt Stiles always wears which Danny is 90% sure belonged to Scott originally. It looks better on Stiles.
"None of these fit."
Taking a deep breath, Danny calms himself before turning toward Stiles' laptop. "I'll need the ISP, the phone number, and the exact time of text."
Stiles flails a little and Danny valiantly ignores it in favor of touching his fingers to the screen of Stiles' laptop and wiring himself into the internet directly. When Stiles rattles off the information he needs, Danny shifts through all the information flowing through his head until he's got the exact text that Stiles wants traced. He follows it backwards through the datastream until he's got the origin point and then closes his hands around it and pulls at it until it comes loose and he's sitting in Stiles' bedroom again.
Shaking off the residual datastream, Danny looks over at Stiles. He feels exhausted, and he gets the feeling that he looks as bad as he feels. "Can we do our lab report now?"
2. Lydia Martin
Everyone knows that Lydia Martin is a telepath, and it hasn't affected her popularity at all over the years.
If she had to give a reason for why her social standing hasn't suffered while other telepaths went from the top of the food chain to the bottom, Lydia would say that she's always been fairly good at reading people and getting into their heads so when her powers manifested, it was like nothing had changed. She still knew too much about people, and she was still of the opinion that most of them were stupid.
The only thing that changed was that instead of being able to ignore people when they said things, she had to ignore people when they said things and when they thought things.
For the most part, Lydia keeps her mental shields up so thick that no one can get though, but sometimes she'll let them down a little or sometimes the thoughts around her are too loud to ignore. That's why she knows Scott is a werewolf—not that she's going to tell anybody, even though that's in violation of the Supernatural Act of 1987. Supernaturals and mutants aren't supposed to mix, and Scott McCall is the world's biggest empath. If Lydia were less concerned with keeping up the perfect image she has, she might have befriended Scott purely because they deal with the same sort of things.
As it is, with whatever Allison and Scott have going, Lydia thinks that might actually be a possibility. They're not really dating, but they're not not dating. It's complicated.
"Something wrong, Allison?"
"Nothing's wrong. I just. [frustrated noise]" Allison looks down, making sure she's actually on the elevator. "I've got a lot on my mind."
Curiously, Lydia lets her shield down enough that Allison's surface thoughts wash over her. They're mostly in flashes of images with feelings, and Lydia doesn't examine them too closely. She gets the overwhelming sense of helplessness and worry, all intertwined with scott and werewolves, which is enough. Lydia doesn't make a habit of really reading people's thoughts.
"You could smile at least." Lydia turns toward Allison, flashing her a smile in the hopes that she'll get one in return. "Haven't you heard the saying never frown, someone could be falling in love with your smile?"
Allison doesn't smile, but she does snort. It's an annoyed huff that Lydia recognizes as being the one Allison uses when someone says something that she thinks is stupid or girly. Touching Allison's arm, Lydia tries for cheerful.
"Smile, Allison. I'm buying you a dress."
"I have to admit, as far as apologies go that's more than I expected."
"Excellent." Lydia turns her head, feigning disinterest.
"But not as much as I'm going to ask." When Lydia turns, Allison looks a little nervous. Lydia flicks through Allison's surfaces thoughts again and then only thing she gets is a distinct impression of stiles. She frowns.
"What? What's that supposed to mean?"
"It means you're going to cancel on whatever dumb, roided up jock you said yes to and you're going to go with someone else." Allison's not meeting Lydia's eyes, and she's radiating nervousness. Lydia kind of sees where this is going, but decides to play dumb. The less people know that she flicks through their thoughts to figure out what she wants to know, the better.
Glancing over at Lydia, Allison looks toward a makeup counter where Stiles Stilinski is sniffing at something that comes in a pink box. He hasn't changed since third grade when he first declared he was in love with her, and Lydia hasn't really paid much attention to him. She knows he's a speedster and that's the reason he talks so fast (and thinks so fast it occasionally gives Lydia a headache), she knows he plays lacrosse, and she knows he's Scott McCall's best friend. Well. Technically Lydia knows a lot more about him, but she pretends she doesn't. Things you've learned because people were thinking about them too loudly to block out aren't things you should pretend not to know unless the situation is dire.
Apparently whatever's in the box (Lydia thinks it's perfume, the box looks like something Jackson once gave her as a make-up present) doesn't agree with Stiles, because he starts sneezing and making a fool of himself. It's possible that Lydia hates Allison a little.
"Oh, don't frown, Lydia." Allison's not nervous anymore. She's amused. Lydia can't tell if she's more angry at Allison for springing this on her or herself for not cutting it off once she realized what was going on. "Someone could be falling in love with your smile."
Lydia glares at Allison, mostly for throwing her words back, and Allison just shrugs. She's grinning from ear-to-ear, though, so Lydia tries not to do anything too drastic. Allison doesn't actually smile as much as she should, and Lydia doesn't want to take happiness from her. Stiles catches sight of them and tries to look suave. He ends up somewhere near awkward and prepubescent. Lydia puts on her bravest face. She'll get through this the same way she gets through most things: by ignoring them.
It's isn't necessarily the best strategy, but it hasn't failed her yet.
The problem is that Stiles refuses to be ignored. They've been wandering around Macy's for a while now and she's got Stiles holding all the dresses she's pulled from the racks. She figures that if he's going to be there, then he should at least make himself useful. The problem is that he doesn't shut up. Actually, Lydia's not sure that Stiles knows how to shut up.
"So are you trying these on right now?" Lydia dumps another five dresses into his arms. "All of them? I. Is this a 24-hour Macy's?"
Lydia stalks off without answering Stiles. She knows that he'll follow her like a puppy, because he's always followed her like a puppy, and she doesn't feel like indulging him in the slightest.
Honestly, Allison owes Lydia for this.
3. Allison Argent
The Argent family is always moving, and Allison's mostly used to it by now so she doesn't even think twice about it when her mother says they're moving to some town called Beacon Hills. She just packs up all her stuff into neat little boxes and looks up where they're going. Beacon Hills isn't exactly a huge town, but it's not the smallest place she's lived either. Her dad's job takes them to a lot of places close to the woods, and Beacon Hills seems like a typical mid-sized town surrounded by a lot of greenery.
She looks up the school she'll be attending next, and has to stare blankly at the page for several minutes. Logically, Allison knows that there's integrated schools. Her mother and father are always telling her about them and how they caused a huge problem when they were first getting started. It's just that Allison has never gone to one. She's been at schools where there were a couple of mutants here and there, but she's never gone to a fully integrated school.
Her grandfather is a little old-fashioned, and Allison thinks it rubbed off on her parents. They don't really believe that humans can live peacefully with mutants or supernaturals, which means that they don't really believe in integrated schools. Allison doesn't know if she believes that, but she guesses it doesn't really matter because she's going to be stuck at an integrated school for the foreseeable future.
There are worse situations to be in (and Allison would know because she's been in some of them), but this isn't a situation that Allison really knows how to handle. She's nervous to be somewhere new in a way she hasn't been before.
As it turns out, though, Beacon Hills is pretty much like any other school only it has more mishaps. Allison's pretty sure the chemistry lab doesn't blow up once a week at most other schools, but maybe she's only been to weird schools before.
Whatever the case, she's coming to realize that she doesn't share her parent's views. Integrated schools seem to be working just fine, and Allison is pretty happy that she's at Beacon Hills.
Then she nearly runs over a dog while she's changing the song on her iPod.
There's a vet office just up the street, and it's raining, but Allison scoops up the poor thing and puts it in the back of the car. The vet's office looks like it might be closed, but Allison pounds on the door anyways. She doesn't know what else to do, so she keeps knocking, hoping someone is there.
The kid from lacrosse practice the other day opens the door, and Allison just.
"[hysterical] I didn't see it! I took my eyes off the road for, like, two seconds just to change the song on my iPod and this doog—it just came out of nowhere."
The kid is saying something, but Allison can't hear him over the rain and the blood rushing in her ears. He asks her where the dog is, calm and gentle.
"No. I mean, yes. I know where I hit it, but the dog is—"
"Great. Where is it?"
"It's in my car."
Without even waiting for him, Allison turns to go get the dog. She hopes the kid is following her. When she opens the trunk, though, the dog is angry. It barks at her, harsh and loud, and Allison recoils in fear. There's warm hands on her shoulders.
"She's just frightened."
"That makes two of us."
"Let me see if I have any better luck." He moves forward, and the dog barks at him too, but he just stares at it and the dog lowers its head, whining sadly. He carries her inside and Allison follows, because it's warmer and not raining. He checks the dog over, carefully.
"I think her leg is broken." He turns back toward the dog, rusting its fur. "I've seen the doctor do plenty of splints. I can do it myself, and then give her a painkiller for now." He turns back towards Allison and she nods, hugging her arms to herself more tightly. "Hey, I have a shirt in my bag."
"Oh, I don't want to trouble you." It's a little bit of a lie, but Allison doesn't know how to say I don't know how my mother will react to me wearing a strange shirt. He turns toward his bag anyway, digging through it.
"Here." The shirt he's holding out is soft grey, and Allison takes it even though she knows she shouldn't. She changes, and when she comes back out, he's finishing up the splint.
"Thanks for doing this. I feel . . . really stupid."
He looks toward her, amused. "How come?"
"I don't know. 'cause I freaked out like a total girl."
"You are a girl." He says it like it's so simple and it's not. Allison is an Argent.
"I freaked out like a girly-girl and I'm not a girly-girl."
"What kind of girl are you?"
Allison looks toward the dog and thinks of her mother, her aunt. "Tougher than that. At least, I thought I was."
"Hey, I'd be freaked out too. In fact . . ." He looks at her, sincere and warm. "I'd probably cry. And not like a man either, like. The biggest girly-girl ever."
Allison giggles, even though she tries not to. He smiles at her. "I'm an empath, and I can tell you that emotions make you strong, not weak."
He meets her eyes, and Allison believes him even though she shouldn't.
4. Stiles Stilinski
Scott and Stiles have been friends forever, so when Scott becomes a werewolf, Stiles knows something is wrong. He's just. Not expecting it to be something that illegal.
Still, Stiles is an excellent best friend, and so he continues to help Scott hide his lycanthropy in the name of keeping his best friend around even though he kind of hates Scott at the moment because Stiles happens to think the rules about supernatural and mutant mixing are stupid and kind of archaic.
Werewolves are apparently also kind of stupid and archaic, which is why Stiles thinks Derek Hale might be the single stupidest criminal ever. Like, seriously. Who tries to create a pack and then doesn't know anything about running a pack? Stupid.
"What? He wants you to tap into your animal side and get angry?"
They're walking down the hall at a relatively slow pace that's still faster than most of the students. Stiles just can't want that slow, though. He's tried. At least Scott can keep up with him easily now.
"Alright. Well, correct me if I'm wrong, but every time you do that you try to kill someone. And that someone's usually me."
"I know! That's what he means when he says he doesn't know if he can teach me. I have to be able to control it."
Stiles stops messing with his backpack strap and rolls his eyes. Personally, he thinks the problem is that Derek is a full wolf and Scott's an empath at heart. He feels everything too much, and Derek doesn't even understand what emotions are.
"Well, how's he going to do that?"
"I don't know. I don't think he does either."
Oh for—seriously, Derek Hale has to be the worst alpha ever. Stiles covers his face with a hand.
"Okay. Just. When are you seeing him again?"
"He told me not to talk about it, just. Act normal and get through the day—"
Stiles smacks Scott in the arm and stops him. "When."
"He's. Picking me up at the animal clinic after work."
If Derek's picking Scott up after work, then that means Stiles doesn't have that much time. It's fine, he's smarter and faster than Derek so it won't matter. "After work, okay. That gives me until the end of the school day, then."
"To do what?"
. . . Stiles loves Scott, but he's never been able to keep up that well. Stiles doesn't hold it against it, nobody keeps up very well with him. "To teach you myself."
They're at lunch, so while they're walking to cafeteria, Stiles tries to come up with a plan. He's bouncing his leg, a nervous habit he's never rid himself of, and watching Scott be an idiot. Really, hiding behind a book does not make a person invisible. It just makes them look suspicious. He pulls the book down.
"I think the book is making it more obvious. Besides." Stiles turns to look at Allison. "She's reading anyway."
"Did you come up with a plan yet?"
Well. Stiles has a plan, because Stiles always has a plan. He's had a plan for fifteen minutes now. "I think so."
"Does that mean you don't hate me now?"
Scott is so earnest, and Stiles knows this trick. He is not going to fall for the McCall puppydog eyes. "No. But your crap has infiltrated my life, so now I have to do something about it. Plus, I'm definitely a better Yoda than Derek."
"Okay, yeah. You teach me."
"Yeah. I'll be your Yoda."
"Yeah. You . . . be my Yoda."
"Your Yoda I will be." Stiles snots. Yoda jokes just never get old. "I said it backwards—"
"Yeah. Yeah, I know." Scott is snippy, and if this is how he gets whenever he breaks up with a girl, Stiles is never forgiving him.
"Alright, you know what? I definitely still hate you. Oh yeah."
Grabbing his book back from Scott, Stiles starts walking away. He heads to the locker room, assuming that Scott will follow. This is obviously a stupid assumption, because he has to run back and find Scott when he turns around and notices he's missing. They get to the locker room, though, and then they're out on the field and ready to enact Stiles' brilliant plan. He sets down the lacrosse bag and stick and sits down next to it, digging around for the—
"Put this on." Stiles holds out the heart rate thingy, and Scott looks at it blankly before taking it.
"Isn't this one of the heart rate monitors for the track team?"
"Yeah, I borrowed it."
"Temporarily misappropriated." For someone who is a big illegal mutant-werewolf hybrid, Scott sure is a stickler for the law. "Coach uses it to monitor his heart rate with his phone while he jogs. You're gonna wear it for the rest of the day."
". . . Isn't that coach's phone?"
Stiles nods. "That I stole."
He doesn't say that it's not the first time he's stolen it. Scott doesn't need to know that. It was only one time and for a very good reason. Honest.
Stiles sighs. "Alright. Well, you heart rates goes up when you go wolf, right?" Scott nods. "When you play lacrosse, when you're with Allison, whenever you get angry. Maybe learning to control it is tied to learning to control your heart rate."
For being a shoddy, five minute plan? Stiles thinks it's pure genius. He knows that he's hit something when all the wheels in Scott's head finish turning and he grins.
"Like the Incredible Hulk."
"Kind of like the Incredible Hulk, yeah." That's good. Maybe Stiles should have started with that so Scott understood better.
"I'm. I'm like the Incredible Hulk."
Okay. Maybe not. Scott is way too smug for Stiles' liking right now. "Would you shut up and put the strap on?"
While Scott's putting the monitor on, Stiles grins. He didn't tell Scott about what they were going to do next and oh. Oh, it's gonna be good.
5. Scott McCall
When Scott McCall is eleven, he's known as the world's biggest crybaby.
When Scott McCall is sixteen, he's still known as the world's biggest crybaby and the bite does very little to change this, because it doesn't change who Scott is fundamentally.
If you ask Scott, being an empath kind of sucks because not only does Scott feel things more intensely, he feels everything that everyone around him feels too—which makes being a regular high school student kind of difficult sometimes. When he gets bit and turned into a werewolf, then all of his senses are heightened, not just his emotional ones, and it's all a little overwhelming at first.
In short: being both an empath and a werewolf sucks and Scott just wants it to go away. He wants to go back to being just the world biggest crybaby, and Derek tells him that killing the alpha is supposed to do that. So when Peter Hale kills Kate Argent and he's going to kill Allison too, Scott shows up. He won't let anyone else get hurt by what he has to go through, and Derek seems to be on his side. He tells Allison to run and she does, leaving him and Derek to fight Peter.
Peter is stronger than both of them, throwing them to the side like they're nothing more than annoying nuisances. He turns into an ugly, misshapen wolf creature, and for a moment it looks like they're going to lose, but then stupid, stupid Stiles shows up with Jackson of all people. They arrive in the Porsche, and Stiles tosses something at Peter, who catches it. There a moment of stillness while Stiles looks on in horror.
Scott takes that to mean that whatever Stiles' plan was? It's not working out. Looking around, Scott sees Allison's bow, and he tosses it to her. She catches it, cocking an arrow and shooting it at the thing in Peter's hand. It explodes, engulfing Peter in flames. Jackson throws something too, then, and it seems like everything is burning. Peter thrashes, lunging toward Allison and Scott won't allow it. He leaps forward, landing a kick to Peter's chest. It makes Peter stumble away, hitting a tree.
The fire seems to have take its toll, and Peter collapses. They're all frozen for a moment, high on fear and adrenaline, and then Scott can feel the relief that washes over them all.
Allison kneels next to him, and Scott looks away. He can't meet her eyes, but then Allison catches his face in her hand and leans in to kiss him. Scott can hear her heart beating, and can feel her nervousness and determination. He's lost it in, his whole world reduces to the space of Allison kissing him, and then she pulls away. She looks at him, her affection washing over him, and Scott has to ask.
"Why did you do that?"
"Because I love you."
It's soft, a whisper only meant for him, and Scott catches her love and hugs it close like a blanket. He turns away when he hears leaves being crushes and someone walking, just in time to see Derek approaching his uncle's corpse. Peter's not quite dead—Scott can hear his breathing—and Derek stands over him. Scott glances at Allison and then runs over to where Derek is, reaching out for him.
"Wait! You said the cure comes from the one that bit you. Derek, if you do this I'm dead. Her father, her family—what am I supposed to do?"
Scott can feel Derek's remorse, Derek's regret, but then it all switches to anger and rage when Peter says something Scott can't hear over all the emotions. Derek raises his claw and Scott can't control the panic that he broadcasts.
"Wait! No, no—don't!"
Derek slashes through Peter's throat, immune to Scott's broadcasting in the way that all supernatural creatures are, as everyone else falls to their knees under the force of it. Slowly, Derek rises and looks at Scott, eyes red.
"I'm the Alpha now."
The stand there like that, looking at each other, for a long, long moment. In the background, Scott can hear Jackson moaning, can hear Stiles asking if Allison and her dad are okay, but nothing else matters but the fact that Derek ripped away the only chance Scott had of being normal again. Of not being hunted down by the government.
Part of him wants to do what he always does: cry with frustration. That's how he's been dealing with his problems for years, and it's worked well so far. Scott is stronger than that now, though. Letting your emotions show is important, and Scott knows that, but right now that's not going to help him. Crying won't help him here, so Scott looks Derek straight in the eye.
"Is there another cure?"
"No. The only cure now is death." Derek is haughty, arrogant, and Scott lets his fingernails cut into his palms so he doesn't lunge at Derek. That won't solve anything either.
"There's always another solution. I'm going to find it, Derek."
The laugh Derek lets out echoes amongst the trees, harsh and cruel. It doesn't matter to Scott, though, because he can tell it's hollow. Everything about the way Derek is acting now is hollow, because Derek's guilt hangs in the air, heavy and unyielding, and Scott can tell he's sorry for what he's done. It doesn't matter if Derek Hale is the Alpha now, because he'll help Scott to find his cure. His guilt will eat him alive otherwise, and that's the thing nobody realizes about empaths.
Scott doesn't use the other aspects of his powers, because he likes to think of himself as a nice person. He likes to think that he's better than manipulating people's emotions deliberately, methodically, but it's still something he knows how to do. The thing people often forget is that empathy isn't just amplifying you own feelings and knowing how others feel, broadcasting your emotions too loudly. You can take other people's emotions and amplify them too.
So Scott takes Derek's guilt into his hands and pulls on it, stretching it out and wrapping it around Derek tighter and tighter until he feels nothing but guilt that seems like it'll suffocate him.
"And you're going to help me."