"We’re not friends."
“Oh yeah,” Stiles says, visibly backing down. Boyd takes another look at the locker and thinks of another, clear except for a single picture of a smiling blonde and a sloppily graffitied Batman symbol someone thought would be a great addition to the empty space. Then he walks away, ending the conversation before Stilinski can take it any further. He only makes it a few yards down the hall before he’s stopped.
“Okay, no,” Stiles says, catching up to his side and grabbing his arm. Though he lets go when Boyd glances down at it and raises an eyebrow, raising his hands placatingly. “How are we not friends?”
Boyd stares at him incredulously.
“So maybe we haven’t talked that much. But we’ve totally had moments, dude. And you’re nonverbal ninety percent of the time anyway.
“Moments,” Boyd repeats. “What, like when I was being tortured and watched you get the crap beaten out of you?”
“Well, I didn’t say they were good moments.”
Boyd sighs and continues on his way. Stiles doesn’t follow this time, but he does shout after him, “Alright, buddy, talk to you later!”
Anyone who has ever been in the same room as the Stilinski kid knows how annoying he can be, but somehow Boyd hadn’t realized how persistent he is. He finds Boyd outside during lunch, carrying two trays of food and trailing Scott and Isaac behind him. Boyd looks at Isaac questioningly but is only met with a shrug.
“Look!” Stiles says, attempting to gesture grandly at his followers and almost dropping the trays. “I come bearing pals! Quick, guys, give him your puppy eyes.” Scott, of course, does. Isaac just looks at Stiles like he’s an idiot, which is Boyd’s sentiment exactly. When Stiles holds the tray out to him, he doesn’t take it. At least not until Stiles shakes it a bit and almost tips a cup of jello into Boyd’s lap.
“What do you want?”
Boyd isn’t really sure how “go away” turned into him having lunch with the three stooges, but there they are. Eating. And talking. Around Boyd. Like this is totally normal, something they do every day. Like Boyd hadn’t spent three months locked away by a crazy pack of alpha werewolves; hadn’t lost his best friend. Like the unknown killer and hunters and werewolves all out for blood aren’t any concern.
When Stiles’ phone goes off, he jerks, scrambling to get it out of his pocket at the cost of half his sandwich. His face goes serious, worried, nothing like the person who was laughing about Finstock stories less than a minute ago. His hands shake as he unlocks the screen.
“It’s from Lydia,” Stiles says, mostly to Scott. “She found… I, uh, I have to go. See you later?”
And, just like that, he’s gone.
“Does he seem jumpier than usual?” Isaac asks. And Scott sighs.
“He thinks the killings are ritual sacrifices, and the alphas aren’t doing them. He’s obsessed with figuring it out.” Scott looks uncomfortable and starts stacking Stiles’ trash, and the rest of his lunch, onto his own tray. “The first victim… she was a good friend of his. And he was the last one to see her. I think he feels kind of responsible.”
“He was one of the last to see Erica and I before we were taken.” It’s not fair. Boyd knows it isn’t. But there’s so much rage building in him. It’s all he has left to hold on to anymore.
Scott frowns at him, standing with the trays of lunch remains. “If you think he didn’t care, didn’t sleep with the police scanner on for weeks until his dad confiscated it, waiting for some sign of you… you’re not as smart as I thought you were.”
The smell of blood permeates the entire bus. It’s amazing the humans can’t smell it. That doesn’t really matter, though, because Boyd can, and it’s a constant reminder of one more thing, one more person, that’s been taken from him. The constant roiling anger, hatred, makes it hard to keep control; hard not to attack the wolf sitting mere seats from him. Hard not to take revenge.
Isaac tells him not to do anything stupid. It’s useless and unhelpful, and Boyd kind of wishes he would just go away. He’s not even really a packmate anymore, and is yet another reminder of what’s been lost. Fighting back the change, Boyd listens. He listens to the chime of Danny’s phone, over and over, and his twin talking about a family member in critical condition. The bastard alive, when Derek’s dead. He listens to Stiles, talking to Scott, to himself, to Finstock. Hears him yelling.
The change recedes. Isaac is the one to snap on the enemy alpha when they stop.
The hotel… something about it has Boyd feeling disconnected. There’s a sense of foreboding about it. He doesn’t feel like himself. And when Stiles comes up to him at the vending machine, there’s a part of him that wants to answer, wants to indulge this oddity a bit. Part of him wants a friend, one who might understand what it is to lose someone and feel like there must have been something you could have done. But he can’t. He looks at Stiles, and he wants to say something, tries, but he just… can’t. When the candy gets stuck, he shoves his frustration into punching through the glass.
It only gets worse from there, though. He sees Alicia in the ice, hears her voice, relives that night. When Erica’s voice joins the fray, he can’t handle it anymore. Boyd doesn’t want to die, not really, doesn’t want to kill himself, but it just… seems like the thing to do.
Until Stiles saves him.
He comes and sits next to Boyd on the bus, once they’ve all agreed not to step foot in the hotel again. Nothing is said for several minutes, not a sound made. Stiles doesn’t even fidget or tap his feet. He just sits down and stares straight ahead, looking every bit as worn down and haunted as Boyd feels.
“I kept four werewolves from committing suicide tonight,” he says finally. “Had to talk down my best friend. And as tired as I am, I’d prefer at least three of you to stay alive. I know… I know you don’t really have many friends. So, if you ever needed to talk. I’d listen.” When Boyd doesn’t respond for over a minute, he nods and moves to leave, but Boyd grabs his arm.
“Why?” he asks. “Why do you want to be friends with me? Do you even know anything about me?” Suddenly, Stiles looks very uncomfortable.
“I- uh… yeah. Probably more than I should admit to knowing?” Boyd stares at him, because he’s learned that, if you do it intensely enough for long enough, Stiles will always cave. “So I may have accessed some police files that I shouldn’t technically have access to. Can you blame me? I mean, you’re not exactly the greatest sharer and I have an insatiable curiosity.”
“Curiosity killed the cat.” It’s lame, cliche, but Boyd is exhausted and not exactly at his best.
Stiles grins. “But satisfaction brought him back.”
Somehow, Stiles finds out Derek’s alive first, and he calls Boyd almost immediately.
“He’s an idiot and is apparently aiming for the lone wolf thing,” Stiles says. “So I kind of doubt he would’ve told you himself, and I thought you deserved to know… Anyway, there’s, uh, a few other people I should probably tell. Like Scott. So, I’ll see you at school I guess?”
And he does. Stiles comes to eat lunch with him again the next day, this time without the tagalongs, and he doesn’t say anything after handing Boyd the tray of food until Boyd says something first. As they’re parting ways, Stiles stops him, shifting a bit.
“Is she… Erica,” he says, words coming out tight and choked, and if his eyes look a little wet, Boyd won’t say a thing. “Is she buried somewhere? I’d like to visit her.”
He’ll never tell Stiles, or anyone, but Boyd follows Stiles to Erica’s grave that night, keeping just out of sight. And cries to hear the pain in Stiles’ voice as he apologizes, for not looking harder, finding them faster. For not being a better Batman. The next time Boyd looks at Erica’s locker, he realizes where the graffiti came from and knows he’s done shutting Stiles out.
They have lunch together again, but this time Boyd seeks Stiles out. He’s not ready for the deep stuff, to talk about Alicia or what happened over the summer, but he doesn’t need to. They find more than enough to talk about, lighter things, and the pure joy on Stiles’ face when he manages to make Boyd smile is… It’s something else.
He tells Stiles the plan before he and Isaac go to Derek’s, and Stiles puts a hand on his shoulder, and says, quite somberly, “That’s a horrible plan, doomed to failure, and you should absolutely go for it. Though maybe consider a backup power source.”
It surprises Boyd as much as anyone else, at the end of the night, with everyone alive and mostly whole, when he grabs Stiles as soon as he rushes in, wrapping him in a tight hug. And then, when that isn’t enough, grabbing either side of his head and pulling him into a kiss.
Equally surprising is when Stiles kisses back, deep, hard, and frantic. He pulls back with a smile, taking half a step back to examine Boyd for injuries. When Derek pointedly clears his throat, though, Stiles rolls his eyes, glances over that direction for a split second, then kisses Boyd again. And Boyd finds he’s pretty okay with that.