Almost three times a week now, he goes to the gym, but instead of participating in the cardio classes, finds himself running with his headphones in on the treadmill. Stiles pushes himself, listening to all these motivating songs on repeat. More and more and more. It’s something to fill the space, and if he fills a few hours at the gym when no one needs him, and leaves the research they all want on his bed, what of it? Peter’s toothy gang can do whatever they want with it, he’s beyond caring now.
As always, the pounding of his feet and the music, and the feeling, that’s all that matters.
They’re having Pizza this time, with Scott and Isaac too, and his Dad, watching the game. Scott gets three slices piled on his plate, as John comments. “Best pizza I ever handed out money for. Everyone deserves a treat every now and then…”
Scott dove in for another slice from the huge box, grinning and the Sheriff did a double take. “Now that’s what I call a healthy appetite…”
“I’m eating for two.” Scott supplied, and although his father laughed, Stiles supposed that wasn’t so far from the truth. Feeding a wolf and a person must be hard. And those shifts must take up calories…no wonder Werewolves got fit.
“You eat for two, he eats for nobody.” John replied darkly, glancing back at Stiles. The boy jumped, lifting his head to look at the others, then looking down at the untouched slice on his plate.
“Something wrong with it?” Scott asked, voice a little worried.
“What?” Stiles still seemed dazed, a little dizzy even.
“Your food?” The werewolf pressed, with that disgustingly compassionate look on his face.
“Then eat it.” John snapped. “Come on…”
After a moment of swallowing, and imagining the greasiness sliding back down his throat, he shook his head, cold hands resting on his knees. He liked how his body felt, these days. Firmer. Sharper.Less vulnerable. “I’m not hungry.”
“It’s the big game. We order pizza you like, specifically, and then you don’t eat it.” John looked tired, a little pissed off.
Isaac piped up, sauce around his chin. “You could just give him some space-”
“We gave him space!” John said, in a low voice. “And now there’s a letter from school. You’re failing, Stiles. Three subjects. Why didn’t you tell me?”
Stiles’ head ducked down, and under the table, he started clicking his knuckles, cheeks sucked in, looking down and thinking about it. About it all.
“That’s it, this diet is over.”
“I’ve only lost a couple of pounds, nothing like...serious.” He said, softly, as if to complain.
“I said, that’s the end, Stiles. You look sick, you’re failing.” John chewed his pizza, viciously. “What would your mother say?”
The comment felt like a stab in the gut, with the sound of chewing and swallowing all around him. He swallowed around nothing, feeling the anger rise up in him, the hurt. What would she think? Or would she have held him and asked him what was wrong by now? Would she have noticed more than the lack of food being swallowed up by a teenage boy? For a while now, there had been no wise-crack answers. No words. Just a lot of space inside him.
“Just eat your food, okay?” John said, softer, and then the silence was taken up by the game on the television, louder than their chewing. Stiles tried to rip some off his slice, as small as he could, and put it in his mouth, without letting it touch his lips. He counted the chews, and swallowed in a measured way. And took a sip of water and started again.
Upstairs, without them, while the baseball was still playing, Stiles turned on the radio in his room, loud, and went into the bathroom. Everything was cool, and pale, a little clinical, like most bathrooms, and he knelt, as in prayer, before the porcelain throne. It was kind of a ritual now, to clasp his hands together, and beg someone up there to let him be a little stronger, and a little lighter.
He listened to the sound of his own retching as if from the outside, another person listening in. The seventeen year old could barely feel it, anyway. The coughs sounded broken and painful, and hard, but whoever was puking themselves open inside him just kept doing it, until the water below was a mess of mangled tomato sauce and meat and cheese.
Flush, wash hands, wipe mouth, clean teeth, look yourself in the eye, fail at that, walk away.
He took off his clothes to get on the scale, slowly unbuttoning his jeans with the expression of someone who is not really there. Stood on with shaking legs, and watched the numbers.
109. 109. 109.
He was pulling on a pyjama shirt, boxers hanging loose off his hips with a safety pin, back to the door when he heard it open. Scott, stood behind him, and in that split second, everything changed.
As Scott took in his hips to waist ratio, how tiny his limbs had become, the way each bone jutted a little too far out, and in between each bone, the gaps sucked a little too far in. His waist was tiny, skin pale and bruised, and suddenly, the gaunt way his cheeks had been emptying made so much more sense. As Scott gasped, Stiles turned around, shirt on, eyes full of fear.
“Get out. Just get out!” He shouted, leant back against the sink for support but Scott was staring at him, eyes wide and hurt, face horrified. “Oh my god, Stiles. Oh my-”
“What have you done? Your bones…” Scott tried to approach him but Stiles back away, expression feral, whole mind set in panic mode.
“Sheriff Stilinski!” Scott yelled in a panic, his breathing short and worried, and for a moment it felt like his best friend had betrayed him, although he couldn’t understand himself what he’d betrayed.
So Stiles grabbed his arm, trying to shut him up. “Don’t. Shut up, Don’t tell him, shut up. Stop!” But it was too late. Because by then, Scott had already pulled away from him, starting down the stairs to find the Sheriff.
And the last thing Stiles could think of to scream was, “You’re lazy and greedy and JEALOUS.”
Jealous of what?