The glass shatters against the wall. The piercing crash slices through Isaac’s sensitive hearing and pins him to the spot. For a moment he’s once again the weak, frightened child cowering on the floor, helpless against his father’s rage.
Then the jagged remains of the glass hit the ground. Isaac unclenches his fists slowly, lets out his breath, and does not wolf out. He’s done, he’s just done being afraid today.
The rain soaks Isaac to the skin about six seconds after he leaves Derek’s building. He stands there until his clothes and shoes are wet through, while his mind chases itself around in panicked circles.
He is alone. As terribly, painfully alone as he’d felt walking the halls of Beacon Hills High School with cigarette burns under his sleeves and a secret he didn’t dare mention. Alone as Derek had told him he’d never be again.
He stands in the dark until he feels certain the rain has washed away even the scent of tears.
Mrs. McCall doesn’t ask questions when she lets Isaac in. She doesn’t even comment on the water that’s pooling on her polished hardwood floors as he stands in the hall, dripping. “He’s in his room.” She shoos him towards the stairs. “I’ll bring up some spare towels.”
“Stiles has stayed over here pretty much constantly for the past ten years,” Scott explains as he expertly sets up the air mattress/sleeping bag combo at the foot of his bed. “It’s nothing fancy.”
“It’s great.” Isaac tries not to wonder if Cora’s sleeping in the spare room at the loft, the room he’d thought meant that Derek planned to keep him around.
Isaac had been the first one to accept Derek’s gift, after all. He’d stayed when the others had run. He’d done everything Derek asked.
“Hey.” Scott stands up and touches him on the shoulder. “You want to change or take a shower or something? You’re shaking.”
“Yeah.” Isaac picks up one of the blue and green striped towels Mrs. McCall brought up. “Sorry.”
”You know I’m going to have to find a way to punish you,” Derek says, in the same deadpan way he announces that he’s bought burgers for dinner. “I have my responsibility as an alpha. You know that, don’t you?”
Derek shoves, and Isaac falls back, too far. His claws come out; he tries to catch himself, but there’s only black dirt that crumbles when he touches it. He lands on his back at the bottom of the neat, rectangular grave.
Far above him, Derek is outlined by the yellow light of the moon. “Well, that was your fault,” he says.
“Don’t!” Isaac screams. “What did I do? Derek!”
But Derek’s gone, and there’s dirt pouring in on top of him, a mountain of it, choking him, trapping him.
His eyes snap open to find Scott sprawled over him, pinning him down, his face scrunched into a pained expression. The air mattress is in shreds. The sleeping bag is a nest of fuzzy debris and fabric strips. Isaac’s claws are embedded in Scott’s shoulders.
Scott grunts when Isaac’s claws slide free, but the pained crease between his eyebrows eases a bit. “I’m fine,” he says. Slowly, he climbs off Isaac and sits back on his heels. “What about you?”
“Sorry,” Isaac says again. He’s staring at his fingernails, thinking about how they’d bleed and break when he’d try to scratch his way out of confinement in the freezer chest. Now, they’re slick with Scott’s blood. “Bad dream.”
“I’m not taking your bed.” Isaac can still smell the blood on Scott’s shirt where it’s balled up in the hamper. He resolutely does not look that way.
“Well, the floor is kind of hard, and now covered in shredded plastic,” Scott points out. “So—“
“Don’t you have a couch, or--?”
“Uh, look.” Scott’s face scrunches up again, apologetically this time. “It might be better to be in the same room. In case something happens.”
It’s on the tip of Isaac’s tongue to say he’d never hurt Mrs. McCall, but he can still see the scratches on Allison’s arm, vivid red. “Yeah, okay.”
“The bed’s not that small,” Scott lies.
Isaac decides it’s actually not too uncomfortable, curled against the wall with Scott barricading him in. He tucks his hands into his armpits, hoping it might prevent him from clawing anything other than himself if night terrors make another appearance.
“Hey, um.” Scott shifts, and the mattress dips, tilting them closer. “You can tell me if Derek did something.”
Isaac says nothing, but he shakes his head against the pillow. In his experience, you can tell me means the opposite.
Scott must take his silence for interest, because he presses on. “It sounded like maybe you were yelling his name, before. So if you want to talk, then you should. Because it’s not like I’m on Derek’s side. There aren’t sides. I just mean I’d listen.”
“I’m fine,” Isaac grits out through clenched teeth that are in danger of becoming much sharper.
“I think about it sometimes. About you, I mean. Uh,” Scott hurries on, apparently searching for words that actually convey some meaning. “The last year’s been pretty rough. I mean, with everything you’ve gone through—“
“Stop it.” Isaac rolls over, expecting to see a pitying variety of scrunched Scott expression, but instead Scott is squinting at Isaac like he missed something. “I don’t need your pity,” Isaac clarifies.
“No, I just…” Scott props his head up on his hand, and it pushes his face further in Isaac’s personal bubble. “You do realize you’re kind of amazing, right? I mean, we all face death and danger on basically a daily basis, sure, but I’ve never heard you complain. You just keep getting back up, every time. So, just, y’know. You don’t have to be brave all the time.”
“Shut up.” Isaac rolls over again and presses his forehead to the wall, which is as far as he can get from Scott, who is full of shit. Because if there’s one thing today’s series of disasters proves, it’s that Isaac is still the scared little boy he’s always been.
“I’m serious.” Scott’s quiet chuckle shakes the mattress. “I mean, in my opinion, you’re probably the bravest one of us. So uh… Anyway, if something happened. You can say, if you want.”
“Thanks,” Isaac says, before he can lose his nerve.
When Scott falls asleep, he slumps against Isaac, squishing him into the wall. But Isaac’s instincts don’t scream at him to get away, don’t panic about being pinned by 200 pounds of snoring werewolf. It’s kind of nice, actually, having human contact that isn’t someone trying to hurt, restrain, or terrorize him.
Isaac untucks his hands from around his torso and tangles one with Scott’s where it’s flung over his shoulder. When at last sleep finds him, it brings only good dreams.