"I wanted to say, umm..."
Stiles knows what he wants to say. The words are echoing in his mind, sitting on the tip of his tongue, begging him to just say it. But when he looks at Scott, sees the worry and panic in his eyes, not because of what Stiles might be about to say but because they are dealing with something so much bigger. They need to stop whatever's taking people, they need to find Liam and Hayden before they get taken as well, and Stiles knows that, he knows that now isn't the time for this. But what if he doesn't get another chance to tell Scott how he feels? What if something goes wrong?
It's only when Stiles can tell that Scott's about to say something that he pushes himself to speak, say anything that will finally let Scott know the truth. And so, just as Scott opens his mouth to say, "Tell me later," Stiles jumps in, heart pounding wildly and head spinning a little.
"Screw it, this is quicker and a lot less complicated," he says before closing the distance between them.
His hand goes to the back of Scott's neck, pulling him into a kiss that's desperate and urgent and a little sloppy because Stiles doesn't know what's going to happen next, he just needs Scott to know. And then Scott's kissing him back, hands on either side of Stiles' neck, both of them practically clinging to the other. It's so clear how desperate they both are to get across how they feel, not even caring about the many police officers behind Stiles, including the Sheriff. They both just need each other to know.
When Stiles pulls away, he's breathing hard but there's a grin on his face that Scott hasn't seen for years and it's like it's contagious, forcing Scott to grin back, hands still on Stiles' neck and momentarily forgetting what they're supposed to be doing.
Then Stiles reminds him. They need to find Liam and Hayden and stop anything from happening to them. They still have to figure out what's taking people and making everyone forget they ever existed. Scott doesn't leave without another kiss, this one quicker but still just as desperate because now the stakes are even higher, they somehow have more to lose now.
And only a few minutes later, Scott does lose Stiles. He doesn't recognise the voice on the other end of the call. He doesn't even know he's lost him, he doesn't remember that Stiles ever existed at all. But he knows something's not right, he can feel it, clawing at him from the inside, telling him that something is missing, something so important that he just can't live without it.
When Lydia becomes determined to find Stiles, saying that he was her best friend, someone she's sure she loved, Scott helps her. He does everything he can because he's just as desperate to find this person, there's something in the back of his mind, a sliver of a memory that shouldn't even exist. But it does, and Scott isn't sure but... he thinks he loved Stiles as well. He's sure he loved him.
So after Malia tries to dig through her memories, forced to stop too soon before something can go wrong, Scott steps into the freezer, determined to do this, to find a way to bring Stiles back. The memories are all overwhelming, too much for him to handle at once, completely flooding his mind with the feelings that accompany them. But he tries to push through it, he needs to find the right one. And he does.
The locker glows and Scott knows that it has to belong to Stiles, there's no other reason for it feeling so familiar. He doesn't have to wonder about anything as he pulls the flare out of the locker, the memory immediately hitting him. The dark sky above them, the flare in his hand lighting up the motel parking lot, the stench of gasoline so strong it makes his head hurt. But all that matters is the person in front of him, trying so hard to stay calm, to gently take the flare out of Scott's hand and telling him that he needs him, that he's important to him. And Scott finally realises something that he didn't back then. Looking at Stiles, his eyes shining but meaning every word that's coming out of his mouth, so willing to either stop Scott or die with him. The way his heart jumps when he says that Scott's his brother and Scott finally realises why, finally knows that what he really wanted to say was "I love you" because even back then, Stiles was in love with him.
Then the door is open and Scott's being pulled out of the freezer by Lydia and Malia. He wants to tell them he needs to go back in, he can't stop until it works. But then he sees the bright blue glowing light that resembles a portal and Scott's body completely slumps in relief because they did it.
They don't waste any time in going to it, fear running through their bodies as they hope that this is it, that it actually worked and that Stiles is coming back to them. And then Scott can see him, standing there, just beyond his reach but he's there. He reaches out to him, a smile on his face as he tells Lydia and Malia, shouts for Stiles to come back.
And then the portal's gone. No bright blue glowing light. No Stiles. Just the dark, damp stretch of tunnel. Scott can't help the empty feeling that's weighing him down, making his chest tight. They had been so close to getting Stiles back. This was their chance, and they failed. They might never get him back now.
Scott stands in the middle of the train track that's so out of place in the dimly lit hospital and he watches as Garrett turns around, a voice coming out of nowhere and catching them all off guard. And suddenly Garrett's falling to the ground, having just been hit with a baseball bat. Scott's eyes dart to the person who knocked Garret out and something inside of him twists, his chest tightening once more but for a completely different reason. Stiles is standing in front of him, eyes a little wild and gripping a wooden bat in his hands tightly but he's here, he exists.
"Bad guy, right? I didn't misread that?"
Scott grins. Stiles is back. And when their eyes meet, Stiles' composure completely breaks and he drops the bat, rushes over to Scott and nearly tripping on the tracks, causing both of them to laugh.
Stiles wraps his arms around Scott and Scott does the same, holding him so tightly he worries that he might hurt him. But all Stiles does is squeeze him tighter, burying his face into Scott's shoulder as he tries to control his breathing. Scott grins again as his eyes burn and he has to squeeze them shut but he doesn't mind, Stiles is here and in his arms.
And then Stiles pulls back, hands moving from Scott's shoulders to either side of his neck as he leans in, pulling Scott into a kiss. He happily leans in, the memory from months ago playing in his mind as he does. Their first kiss, desperate and urgent, both of them worried about what was to come next. The complete opposite of this kiss. This time, it's not as urgent, it's slower, happier. More like an "I've missed you" kiss. Scott really doesn't know how he survived the past few months without this, without Stiles by his side.
It's not even surprising that them being so distracted by the kiss is what nearly gets them killed by Ghost Riders. But thankfully, they survive. And they finally get to talk, Stiles finally gets to admit everything he's been hiding from Scott for years, and Scott listens, realising just how long he's been in love with Stiles but just never knew, convinced himself he only saw Stiles as a best friend.
Stiles is so glad that he kissed Scott at that moment so many months ago, stopped him from saying the words "Tell me later." If he hadn't, none of this would have happened. Stiles would still have been taken by the Ghost Riders but Scott might not have been the one to bring him back. He wouldn't know that Scott loves him. That's what kept him sane in that train station, what made him more determined to get back. Knowing that there was even a slight chance that Scott loved him. So, if Stiles hadn't kissed him, who knows what would have happened.
And honestly? Stiles doesn't want to know. He's happy with how everything turned out. He's with Scott and they're both happy, nothing's trying to kill them and their friends and families are all alive. That's all that matters.