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"I'm sorry Mr. Stilinski. The court rules in favor of Mr. Hale retaining most of the custody."

"He's my son! I carried him!"

"I know. And I know you've been trying really hard, Stiles. But the reality is...you're not looking so well these days. After what happened to your father, I understand. But Derek's lawyers brought it up and argued it and it worked. As far the the courts are concerned, you can barely provide for yourself, your mental health is still in question, and-"

"Stop. Just...thank you Danny. For everything."

"What are you going to do?" Danny asked with a concerned frown.

"Drink." Stiles scoffed as he pocketed his hands and turned away.

"Seriously?"

"What else can I do right now?"

Danny sighed but let him go. He'd check on him later. For now he'd go and search for any sort of loophole he could exploit. 


 

"Theo! I'm empty!" Stiles hailed the bartender. 

Theo walked over and filled up Stiles's glass. "Take it easy tonight, huh? I don't need you passing out at the counter again."

Stiles sipped his drink and smirked at the bartender. "What about in your bed?"

The bartender smirked and was about to reply when a bill was smacked on the counter. Stiles and Theo turned to look at the old guy with the shades and suit who said, "It's going to have to wait."

"Who the fuck are you?" Stiles asked while trying to take another sip from his drip. 

But the old man reached out and snatched it away and then showed his badge. "US government. You're Stilinski, right?"

Stiles sighed, already getting a migraine. "I feel like I'm going to regret saying yes." 

"Probably. But your country needs you right now so come on. I have coffee in the car. I'll brief you on the way." The suit said before he turned and walked away. 

Stiles shared a look with Theo before he reached over and pulled him for a kiss. "I'll come back."

"You better. You still owe your tab." Theo replied with a smirk, trying to hide his mild concern. As far as Stiles has been coming there, which has been a few months, he's been retired from his military post. He works security from time to time in different places, but 68% of the time that isn't being spent on trying to get his kid back is spent in that bar. 

They screwed when Stiles felt the need for human contact became too demanding, but it didn't mean anything. Just a way to blow off steam. 


 

"Sir...I understand the level of important of this mission. It's...it's shaken my to the core knowing this is going on right now." Stiles said after he chugged down the rest of the coffee Cabe got for him. 

"Trust me, son, this isn't even half of it." Cabe's grimace did nothing to calm Stiles down. He's terrified to learn that hackers got possession of military bases and have weapons pointing at the US. Not for himself but for his son...to think any harm could come to him made Stiles want to hurl. 

"Why am I here? I'm a civilian now....you found me in a bar at 2PM. I'm not the sort of guy you need on this mission." 

"I know what I need. You need some spit and polish is all. And don't worry, it's not like you're the worst one to work with right now."

"Um...concerning. You did say that the US is on the brink of civil war, right?"

"I did. So you better give it your all."


 

Stiles has been in some awkward situations himself. With his personality it was just hard not to be. But these people, Team Scorpion, have somehow topped the level of awkwardness to a degree he's never been capable of doing himself before. And again, that said a lot!

When the general came in, Stiles and the other guy Tim were the only ones to show respect. The rest of the team was...quirky. 

Then they reestablished contact with one of the rouge birds and as Stiles tried to sober up even more, he was having flashbacks to his own time in the service when shit really hit the fan. As the team talked about possible ways to regain control, of not just the aircraft, but also the warships, Stiles's mind raced as well and added his two cents. 

The team split up and there was some real tension when Walter suggested he and the Paige lady go together. He suddenly began to understand what the awkward tension might be about...plus the Tony guy really sucked at being subtle. It reminded him a lot of his high school self actually. 

"Stilinski's going with them." Cabe said before Tim or Walter could say anything. 

Walter paused and looked at Cabe in a bit of shock and slight betrayal. "He's not part of the team. He doesn't know how-"

"He's ex-military. You and Paige are civilians. He knows protocol, you know hacking, Paige will somehow get you all to come back alive. It's not a suggestion, it's an order." Cabe said in more of a fatherly way than a supervisor way, but it got through to Walter. 

Stiles, not wanting to play Dr. Phil in any way today, just nodded in agreement. He met eyes with Tim and the other soldier silently asked him to keep an eye on things and he nodded once to him. He didn't particularly enjoyed playing baby sitter this way but if it kept war-machines from firing at his home country, he'd do it.


 

"Guys...I hate to interrupt this seriously awkward moment, but...there's a missile heading straight for us."

"Oh god..." Paige mumbled, eyes wide with fear.

"Come on!" Walter packed up as fast as he could and rushed them towards the elevator. But then he explained how that wouldn't be fast enough. 

As he talked and explained the math of it, Stiles understood what the next phase of the plan was and used the back of his elbow to break the glass and get the ax out and passed it to Walter, who passed him part of Sylvester's modeling clay. Helping Paige pull the doors after Walter cracked them open with the ax, they only looked back a second, seeing the missile almost hit the building before they grabbed on to the rope and slid down as fast as gravity would allow. 

They barely managed to reach the bottom before the fire from the blast reached nearly as far as they got. Stiles felt the lick of the flames but nothing that would bench him. 

Then they heard a cable snap.

"The cable." Paige gasped. 

Walter picked up the ax, "Come on. Open, open, open!" 

With the instruction and impending doom, mixed with adrenaline, Paige and Stiles with Walter's aid helped open the elevator doors of that floor. Paige got through first, then Stiles helped Walter. They heard the other cables snap and the elevator begin to drop. Stiles did see his life flash before his eyes before Paige and Walter simultaneously pulled him through just in the nick of time. He felt the ghost touch of the elevator against his shoe and had to lie there for a moment to grasp the knowledge that he wasn't dead.


Once outside the building they were working fast to get to the next step and stop the hackers. The time was really winding down on them and it seemed like there was inner turmoil coming from in the team. When Walter spoke the thing that Paige couldn't hear but the rest of them could in the comms...he now fully knew what happened. 

 The tension between Paige and Walter was bad, and so was the one with Toby and Happy, but Stiles did his best to keep on track with his mission. When Walter said he was going to board the warship that the hackers controlled, Stiles jumped in last minute with him. For a few seconds they thought they were in the clear, but then they were being shot at and Stiles barely managed to push Walter down to safety, but not without getting hit. 

"Fuck!"

"Oh no. Are you okay?" Walter asked as he kept his hands on the steering wheel to avoid being shot at again.

"What happened?!" Paige demanded over comms. 

"Stilinski got shot."

"Not good." Happy stated.

"I'm fine. It's just a graze. We got more important things to do." Stiles said clearly, pushing back the pain, his military training coming to the surface full throttle now. 

"Guys, he's right..." Walter gave Stiles side glances, but they were looks of new bound respect before he stated, "Guys, we need that cover."

Just as he said that, a giant aluminum ball shot overhead and was shot down, making it rain aluminum confetti. They managed to board the boat. While Walter headed to the main controls, Stiles hung back a bit and was tended to by the trained personal. 

Stiles practically held his breath the whole time until Cabe and Tim managed to get the hackers in Sofia which allowed Walter to take complete control and stop this horrible nightmare.

When it was done, Walter came up to him. Not the cocky genius who by all means disrespected a general, not the heartbroken fool in love who messed up royally, but someone who he thinks doesn't show his face too often with the sort of work he does. A humbling friend. 

"You okay?"

Stiles stood up properly to stand face to face with Walter as he thought about his response. "I...I haven't felt this alive in a long time. Or as useful. Compared to how much self pity I had for my self these last couple of years, I feel great...so thank you."

"Cabe's the one who chose you..." Walter brushed it off a bit. Taking emotional praised wasn't as easy for Walter as intellectual praise it seemed. 

"Maybe. But it's your team."

"Come on...let's get out of here."


 

While everyone was inside Scorpion doing whatever it was they were doing, Stiles stayed outside and made a phone call. 

"You know it hurts you when you do stuff like this."

Stiles sighed deeply. "I wasn't sleeping off a hang-over...again. I was working."

"Well, I managed to keep him with me until about an hour ago when Derek came to pick him up. You'll have to pick him up tomorrow and I hope to hell you were actually working, Stiles. Goodnight."

"Thanks..." Stiles pocketed his phone after his phone call with Lydia. She helped as best as she could, but as Stiles fell deeper down the rabbit hole, the less patience she had with him. It was putting a huge strain on their friendship and today of all days was a huge wake up call. He has to fix his life. 


 

When he goes back only Walter is there. He's just hung up the phone himself and looks torn. 

"You okay?"

Walter looks up, maybe not expecting anyone to be around anymore, but nods. "Yeah. Yes. I...um...what are you doing here?"

"I was making a phone call and I guess I missed everyone else."

"Yeah. They all went to do...whatever it is they do when they're not here. What...what are you doing? After this?" Walter gestured between them and he space of Scorpion as a whole.

"Uh...normally go out for a drink but I don't think that's...good. So...clean my wound, re-bandage it, and...try to find more constant work in the morning." Stiles replied. 

"I can help. With the wound part. It's easier to wrap a bandage when you have use of two hands."

"You...sure you wanna help? You must be tired."

"I am wide awake actually. And I wouldn't mind the distraction. I...I need a distraction. Please."

Stiles guessed this whole Paige + Tim - Walter had him on his own emotional roller coaster. Knowing how not fun those things were, he nodded and let Walter help him clean and patch him up again. Walter also saw the slight burn irritation Stiles got from being the last one to go down the rope and therefore getting actually contact with the fire. He made a salve with the things around the office and Stiles took off his shirt to let him apply it. 

The applying of the salve led to some touching and caressing, some intense eye contact and before Stiles or Walter could breathe out a word, they were kissing each other as if their lives depended on it. Walter pushed everything off of the desk and placed Stiles on top of it while Stiles pulled him closer and did his best to help Walter out of his own clothes. 

It was wild and rough and raw...and a damn good distraction. 


 

He helped Walter clean up before he left. He went home and showered as carefully as he could. His body wasn't used to this much movement and action anymore. It ached. He didn't get much sleep...he kept coming with plans of attack. How to get a better place, how to get a better and steadier job, how to just improve his miserable life. 

When it was finally an acceptable time to head to pick up his son, he left the apartment. He stopped to fuel up Roscoe once before he made it all the way to the Hale estate. He rung the doorbell and waited. 

Derek opened the door, grim looking frown as always and he looked like he was about to go off on Stiles about responsibility. But looking at Stiles's arm, Derek paused. "What happened?"

"Work...it's why I couldn't pick him up. I didn't want him to see me like I was." Stiles replied evenly. Being in front of Derek after their many court battles over custody leaves him with many mixed feelings. Most of them these days not good. 

"How bad was it? Have you been to the hospital?" Derek's concern was genuine but still Stiles knew that it was just better to keep a distance emotionally.

"It may be hard to remember, but I was one hell of an agent once upon a time...and I'm fine. Can I just get Jason and go? I want to take him for breakfast and then head down town to the aquarium."

"Stil-"

"Daddy!" Jason ran to him and Stiles face changed as he smiled at his son.

"Hey buddy! You ready?"

"Yes! Where are we going?"

"I have some stuff planned. But we should get going." 

"Okay. Lemme say bye to daddy Der." Jason went to hug and kiss Derek before he went to Stiles who strapped him in securely in the back of Roscoe. As he left the Hale estate, Stiles swore that by the next hearing, he'll be a different person. Someone Danny will have an easier time representing and getting more time with his son.