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Survivor: Wolves versus Hunters

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There were some decisions in Stiles’ life that he couldn’t help but look back on and think: ‘hey, in hindsight, maybe I shouldn’t have done that’.

One such decision was putting his name in the draw for Survivor.

It was going into what was supposed to be his first year of studies after high school, and his father was getting progressively more sick in spite of all Stiles’ efforts to keep him healthy and fit throughout his childhood. The sheriff always insisted to Stiles that he didn’t need to be weighed down by the small town, the ADHD, and least of all, him, but the young man never saw any of those things as weighing him down. They were a powerful duo, and Stiles was not ready to lose his last living relative if he could do something about it. Self-sacrificing Stilinski be damned. The issue with wanting to do something about anything in the world he lived in was that you needed money, and that was something which Stiles did not have in surplus. He tried all kinds of jobs from dog-walking to corporate administration to selling his body (tragically, there were no buyers on that last one seeing as pretty much everyone in Beacon Hills knew him as the sheriff’s son. That was the reason, not anything else, and anybody that told Stiles differently was lying), but that only just barely tided them over paying for the regular living bills, let alone the medical treatment that the eldest Stilinski man needed.

So, on a whim, Stiles threw his name into the draw for the probably-staged reality TV game show Survivor, because it had a million dollar prize at the end of it, and at this point Stiles really didn’t have anything to lose.

The call came through telling him that he’d made it into the running and that he should inform his employer and family that he’d potentially be away for the forty-day period over which the game is played. Stiles’ first instinct was to say ‘Sorry, take my name out of the listing because I need to be here for my dad’, but that instinct got swiped from the forefront for a moment as Stiles realised that he had the potential to win a million dollars here. He could pay for his dad’s heart surgery, his tuition, their mortgage… he could change their lives if he won, and all it would take was forty days of outwitting, outplaying, and outlasting a bunch of scrawny, nerdy strangers.

So, with a plan to organise for their neighbours to take care of the sheriff and a blind, undeserved bravado and confidence that he was going to win, Stiles declared his intention to the caller. He was going on the show, and he was going to win it for them.

That was the process, the backstory, what happened six weeks prior to lead Stiles up to his current predicament.

Now, he was on a boat heading towards an island in the middle of nowhere, and on that boat were his competition. In his head, he’d imagined the only people that tried out to be on the show would be the nerdy super-fans, some young risk-takers and maybe a few people past their prime who were looking for a new, exciting challenge in life.

Stiles was so, so wrong, because of the twenty people all milling around awkwardly on the boat currently, he was clearly the weakest link. He felt like a prepubescent kid amongst a horde of Adonis’s and amazons. Pretty much everybody had killer abs that they probably worked on specifically for the sake of the show. It was a massive oversight on Stiles’ behalf, because now the nation had the displeasure of watching his skinny little white body standing out amongst the tan models and body-builders that were going to whoop his ass in the challenges.

The cameras were getting some lingering shots of a few of the contestants as they stared out over the ocean, probably playing a segment of their interview over the footage to give the audience a bit of an idea of what they were made of. Stiles tried, oh how he tried, to hide himself in the most shadowed corner of the boat, but still they came around to him, and he just pretended like he wasn’t absolutely mortified by his answers he gave in the interview. I’m here to kick ass, he’d said, like an idiot, I’m probably smarter, definitely cooler than the other contestants. Everyone loves me, so I don’t think they’ll ever want to get rid of me. It seemed like such a good idea at the time: be confident, because confidence is everything. Only now, he could see that pretty much whoever he got allotted into a tribe with, he would be the first to go because he had no idea how he could pull his weight.

“Everyone!” the director, a kind of bizarre guy by the name of Peter, called out across the boat, loudly. Everybody else seemed to know that was the cue to stand up and gather around before him, so Stiles rolled with what the majority was doing and stuck to a few people that looked around his age.

The boat swayed in the crystal blue ocean, and the sea air was a crisp, salty tang in Stiles’ lungs. There was a drone hovering in the air a long way above the boat getting aerial shots of the landscape. The crew were dispersing a mass of random foodstuffs, survival equipment and materials for shelter around the boat, and all of a sudden the whole situation seemed exceptionally overwhelming. Stiles had given up forty days he could have spent taking care of things back home to come out here and chase a chance that as he looked more closely was becoming slimmer and slimmer that he could win a million dollars. If he didn’t win, then all of it had been for nothing. This, right here, was the moment where it dawned on him that in hindsight, maybe I shouldn’t have done that.

“You’ve all probably noticed that something is a bit different this season,” Peter teased, and Stiles looked around as everybody nodded the affirmative. He had zero idea what was different, except… “There are only seven women with the majority being the thirteen men.” A few people, Stiles included, made a few appropriately intrigued noises. “But something which you probably didn’t notice is that all of you have something in common: and that is…”

In Peter’s dramatic pause, Stiles looked around at the many chiselled faces around the boat.

Across the boat to the right was a man who looked to be designed for the sole purpose of winning this game. He had dark skin that wouldn’t burn as easily in the sun as Stiles’ would, and his body was frankly enormous with muscle. He was already mingling with a busty blonde bombshell and a curly-haired, gorgeous young man. As if Stiles didn’t already feel so far behind physically, now he felt socially behind as well.

Stiles cast his eyes around more and landed on a large group of exceptionally stone-faced and/or scowly-looking people. A few standouts included a woman with open shows displaying toenails that looked sharp enough to cut through the jugular of anyone who slighted her; a man whose face and body were perhaps the most perfectly sculpted things which Stiles had ever laid eyes on; and also a red-headed goddess who wore the expression of somebody who was already calculating seven steps ahead of all the people around her.

To Stiles’ immediate right was a crooked-jaw man probably around his age. He was doing the same surveying as Stiles in that moment, and their eyes awkwardly met. For a moment, Stiles thought maybe he’d already made an enemy with just a look (it was entirely possible), but then the stranger gave him a kind smile and they exchanged an amicable nod instead.

Honestly, all Stiles could ascertain was similar about the people present was that they made Stiles feel incredibly inadequate.

“…for you to find out.” Peter finished, looking highly amused by the whole concept of the game. He was supposed to be a lot more enthusiastic and a lot less ominous, but at this point Stiles was alright to bet on bizarre new surprises. Maybe through some fluke he’d actually make it through the first day. “We’re going to split into two tribes of ten. Come forward and grab a concealed buff from the table that’ll say either ‘Wolves’ or ‘Hunters’.”

Stiles took a grand total of half a step forward before all the sculpted people around him frenzied the table in a mass of shoulders and shoves. At the end there was one buff left and Stiles tried not to read too much into how competitive these people clearly were as he slipped it from the table. He peeled back the grey cloth concealing its colour to reveal a fluoro blue bandana with the word: ‘HUNTER’ embroidered across it in gold and brown block letters. Not that it particularly mattered in the grand scheme considering there was nobody present which Stiles would put himself above in the pecking order, but it looked like the other Hunters were made up of four of the girls and five of the guys.

“So!” Peter clapped, grinning hungrily at the lot of them now that they’d assorted themselves into tribes, “Let’s get to the first challenge…”

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“Now many aspects of this season are going to differ from anything you could expect,” Peter assured, and Stiles for one didn’t doubt him for a second. “But you can bet that I would never throw away the opportunity to witness—and instigate—the blind panic and mad rush that is the raft challenge.”

Peter didn’t come across as this sadistic in all of the research Stiles had done prior to arriving on the show. It seemed like they must have edited the raw footage and avoided the wild glee in his eyes because Stiles was viscerally unsettled by the satisfaction Peter seemed to cultivate from the promised suffering of others.

Yikes.

“Around this boat are dozens of things you’ll need to some extent in order to survive on this island.” Peter swept a broad gesture across the piled up goods around them. Half of it Stiles could barely recognise, but you could damn well count on the fact that as soon as Peter said go, he was going to grab every damn thing he could. “Food, rope, tools, bamboo, logs, pillows…”

Stiles witnessed as another contestant’s lips pulled back in a kind of mocking disdain for the very idea of pillows. Message received: grab the dumb stuff like bamboo and logs which you can find anywhere before grabbing pillows. Stiles could pretend to have the same level of wilderness survival knowledge as the rest of this bunch. Pfft. Who needs pillows, anyway?

Stiles’ ass, that’s who.

“As well as grabbing as many supplies as you can, you are also racing to the island,” Peter swiped another powerful gesture to articulate his speech, indicating the expanse of forest and sand and rock in the distance which would become their homes for the next… while. Stiles’ lack of keeping track of time was going to be the death of him. Maybe once they settled in he’d end up carving tallies into a stone to remind himself. That seemed like a reasonable use of his time, god knows he wasn’t going to be able to start a fire or anything else useful like that. “The first tribe to make it to the island with their raft full of supplies will be given the gift of fire,” Peter produced a flint from his pocket, to which the group collectively cooed in reverence. Stiles just stared blankly at it, because with or without a flint he wasn’t going to be starting a fire any time soon. “Survivors ready,” Peter teased, playing off of everyone’s anticipation. Stiles was practically vibrating, already eying up the big things he could get for people to admire him for: a few cages with chickens in them, a bag of perfectly sized firewood, a small tarp. If he could get even one of those things surely he’d get some serious brownie points with the Hunters. “Go!”

Stiles leapt towards the chickens, blinked, and then a petite Asian lady was already making her way off with them. Seriously, she was quicker than a bolt of lightning.

On the spot, he pivoted to go back towards the tarp and firewood, only to see an incredibly bulky man with dark skin already lugging the damn things away like they weighed nothing.

Neither of the specimens which had taken the supplies Stiles was after were from his tribe, unfortunately, and it seemed like the rest of the Hunters were loading up on stuff further away.

Stiles felt like he could stand and watch the way each of them moved with practiced efficiency, as if they’d been a part of this team for their whole lives training for this moment. It felt like Stiles didn’t even function as a cog in this particular machine.

“Come on, idiot!” a man called out, looking like a stereotype of every bully he’d ever encountered in high school melded into one individual.

Stiles snapped back into action immediately, snatching up a stray melon or two before joining the rest of the tribe on their raft. Stiles ended up wedged near the back and a dark-haired lady who held one of the oars shoved it into his chest so hard it winded him.

“Row, row!” she screamed, as if she hadn’t just upended all the responsibility onto him even though he clearly wasn’t physically adept at rowing. “You’re gonna make us lose!”

Stiles scowled but fought through the pain and anxiety and lack of oxygen and rowed for his damn life.

“Wolves win reward!” Peter burst out, voice breaking through the pounding of Stiles’ heart in his ears. What. How was it over that fast?

Stiles looked up finally and saw that they’d practically been rowing in a circle like a bunch of idiots while the Wolves had not only loaded up more supplies than them, but also rowed faster. What a great start to the game?

“They are taking home fire in the form of flint for their tribe! This is a huge advantage to the Wolves!”

Well, Stiles wouldn’t exactly call it a huge advantage. They get fire, they stay warm. What’s the big deal?

Judging by the forlorn, broken looks everyone else is levelling the island with, it’s a big deal. Maybe everyone else here just really is that competitive.

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Water, Stiles realised later that afternoon once they’d finally made it the kilometres-long trek to their campsite. They needed to boil water. They needed to boil water to cook rice. They needed dry heat to get the moisture out of their clothes.

They needed freaking fire to survive, so Stiles can safely say that he can see the big deal now.

Most of the other players that ended up with him on the Hunters tribe are around his age, which is a pleasant surprise, albeit bittersweet, from the game which he wasn’t expecting. Bittersweet because he has people his own age to contend with, but he has people his own age to contend with. They’re all immeasurably more skilled, more world wise, more… everything, than him. It makes Stiles wonder if he wasn’t picked as some kind of comedic relief by the directors when they selected the other nineteen sports-model individuals.

In spite of Stiles’ inadequacy, though, he does find himself having a nice conversation with the man who gave him a kind smile on the boat earlier—Scott, his name is. He lives in a big city with his mum, who is a doctor, and occasionally his dad, who is a special agent of some description. He works at the veterinarian near his home and he’s on the show because he wants to raise money for animals in need and start his own sheltering program. Scott is a freaking angel.

Scott is a godsend in more ways than one, because most of the others in the tribe see him as the de-facto leader. By association, that makes Stiles on good terms with their leader, which clearly isn’t true for everybody.

After he and Scott talk that night, it’s like everybody else suddenly realises that he’s there, too. That he can be a vote for or against them if they lose again like they did today.

The rest of the conversations aren’t anywhere near as genuine and grounding as Scott’s had been, but by the end of it he knows everyone’s names and a few basic facts about their lives.

As he lays his head down to sleep for the first night on the hard bamboo floor of the makeshift shelter they assembled, he runs through the name of every other person on his tribe, knowing that to win would mean beating all of them in the game for a million dollars.

Stiles-Matt-Malia-Scott-Jennifer-Jackson-Allison-Lydia-Danny-Alan—no, correction, Deaton was what his preferred name was. Not even considering the Wolves and the other half of the people in this game, Stiles couldn’t imagine a scenario where he outwitted, outplayed and outlasted the likes of these people.

He didn’t sleep the first night because he was hungry, and thirsty, and sore, and god he felt a bit sick like he might throw up. Instead he just lay there are recounted the names, feeling like a killer recounting his dead pool.

Everyone here had stories, just like him. He’d only heard Scott’s so far and already it felt wrong to short-change him and his puppy dog eyes anything in life.

But in the end, this was a game like any other, and Stiles had to win if he wanted to do have a chance of getting his dad the treatments he needed.

At midnight when everyone else is asleep, Stiles is doing sit-ups and ignoring the buzzing of the cameras as the crew record his embarrassingly sweaty and unfit body. Maybe when he goes home first, somewhere out there someone will pity him enough to offer him a loan.

The world doesn’t work like that though, does it? You either sink or swim, and even though Stiles is carrying the weight of two people, he’ll be damned if he’ll let either of them sink.

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Stiles isn’t exactly surprised when he regrets ever exercising the next morning, but he’s also a bit proud of the fact that he had the confidence to exercise his skinny little body on national TV amongst all these people with rockin’ beach bods.

“We need to decide now on how we want our team to function when it comes to the immunity challenges,” Scott reasons as they’re all sitting around the fire he and Deaton managed to manufacture. Stiles really must be the least useful person out here. All of them, that is, besides Jennifer, who was kind enough to volunteer to fill everybody’s water bottles up at the well. She was the one who had screamed in Stiles’ face the day before with the oar, so he takes it as an apology in place of the one he’ll probably never receive.

“Nobody wants to be the puzzle-solver,” Danny declares.

Yeah, Stiles had seen in the past that a lot of the early votes in previous games were decided by who did the puzzles and who failed them for their tribes, but Stiles was really freaking good at puzzles, and it wasn’t like he could pull his weight in any other aspect of the physical challenges. So he contradicts him, “I’ll do it,” Stiles volunteers, giving an easy grin at the way everyone’s eyes track to him in almost-admiration.

“Brave man, Stilinski,” Jackson mutters, somehow inflecting just the right amount that it comes off like he’s insulting Stiles’ intelligence. Jackson Whittemore is probably the least liked by Stiles right now because he yelled at him and unlike Jennifer hasn’t done a nice thing ever before, in his entire life it seems. “They normally need two people, though.”

“I’ll do it, too,” Lydia Martin, who literally embodies everything Stiles could ever want in a person, offers. Stiles looks at her and he can practically feel the stars in his own eyes. Lydia wants to be on the puzzles with him? It feels like a privilege, somehow. Not the least of which is because, apart from Scott, Lydia probably holds the most sway with how the group thinks right now. Having her close would make Stiles feel a lot safer.

Well, as safe as one could feel in a game where the whole point is to backstab and cut other people out of the running for a million dollars.

He’s only a bit chuffed when he looks over and sees that Jackson freaking Whittemore has the same stars in his eyes as he stares at her.

Scott grins his crooked smile and leans in close. “I really think we can do this, guys,” he confides, like they’re all in this together. Perhaps they are, really, until they’re sitting on a council where they have to vote to decide whose dreams to crush. “We have a strong team.”

Stiles just hopes it isn’t his dream that gets crushed.

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They did have a strong team, really.

The challenge was to have four people haul bags of heavy wooden puzzles pieces from a buoy floating a fair way out to the shore, then once all four bags of pieces were on the shore there was a short gymnastics course for the other four of them to get them to where Stiles and Lydia would solve the puzzle.

Between Scott, Jackson and Malia it’s evident that they have some serious raw strength on their side. With Danny, Allison Jennifer and Deaton they have some nice balance between unorthodox problem solving and athletics. Then Stiles and Lydia practically dominate when it comes to the puzzle.

If only they’d gotten the puzzle pieces a bit freaking faster.

The problem? The weak link? Not Stiles, as he’d suspected, but rather the otherwise rather athletic-looking Matt Daehler. Who can barely swim, but neglected to mention anything out of either stupidity or fear until it was his turn to dive in with his pieces, and instead he just stood there, rigid on the wooden platform he’d managed to swim out to, but apparently couldn’t swim back from.

Stiles had never felt so infuriated, especially because he’d really been banking on the fact that he could break previous trends and prove his prowess at the puzzle section. Alas, they had almost a ten minute delay because Malia ended up having to swim all the way out and back again like the badass she is. And even though the toenail lady and the cute guy with curly hair seemed to struggle a bit with the puzzle, they weren’t that bad that they couldn’t still beat them with their head start.

So the Hunters lost. Again.

And now, either one of the nine people Stiles had only just met were going to be soundly eliminated from the game, or Stiles himself was going to be cut out.

He’d made a close relationship with Scott, right? And Lydia and he got along like a house on fire when they put their heads together in the challenge. Surely they’d get rid of Matt before getting rid of Stiles. The man couldn’t swim, and he was on Survivor.

The afternoon after the challenge passed in a blur of conversations that felt like they meant nothing—but at the same time that they meant everything. Names were thrown around seemingly at random, until it seemed like every single person on the tribe had someone gunning for them. Everyone except Danny, because apparently everyone loved Danny.

Deaton, who had been invariably quiet thus far, became obsessed with getting Jennifer eliminated from the game as soon as possible.

Matt wanted Scott gone because he was ‘calling all the shots’.

Lydia formed an obvious and strategically close bond with Jackson, making Stiles confident that whoever she voted for, his will would be her command.

Scott, for all of his confidence, ended up being too nice, to the point where he seemed reluctant to give Stiles a name for who they were going to vote for tonight. Kindness was nice and all, but seriously?

Allison, who looked rather unassuming and easy, was the one who eventually came up to him with five minutes to tribal council and gave him a name to write down: Matt Daehler.

Stiles was more than willing to vote out one he saw as the weak link; he just hoped that she’d already approached a majority of other people to make it a sure thing.

In all the seasons he’d watched in a marathon leading up to this moment, nothing could have prepared him for the helpless unease that consumed him as he lit his torch and sat down with his tribe opposite Peter. “Behind each of you is a torch. Grab a torch and approach the flame. Dip it in and get fire. This is a part of the ritual of tribal council, because in this game, fire represents your life. Once your fire is gone, so are you.” Stiles could go home tonight, empty-handed. He could be stuck once again in an endless loop of debt and suffering with nothing he could do. People would watch his skinny little body get about five-minutes of screen time and then he’d be forgotten, just like that.

“So, Hunters, we should probably talk about what happened today in the challenge,” Peter prompted. The light from the fire gleamed in his eyes, giving him an appropriately gleeful expression. Sadistic bastard. “Lydia, maybe you’d like to kick us off?”

Lydia sat primly on the elevated back row behind Stiles. “Scott, Malia, Matt and Jackson were the muscle; Danny, Allison, Jennifer and Deaton were the balance; and Stiles and I were on puzzle.” It was facts, and it wasn’t incriminating. Didn’t draw any particular attention to her or anyone else. Stiles could appreciate that she was smart.

“And Deaton, do you think everybody tried their best?”

Deaton was on the other side of the row Lydia was on, and he looked completely indifferent; stoic. “I do believe we all tried our best,” he affirmed, “And I think we learned how to better our team in future challenges.”

“Stiles, what do you think Deaton means you learned today?”

Silence.

Stiles almost wasn’t expecting to be asked a question. Was it not obvious enough that he wanted to be invisible? Why not ask Malia or Matt something like that?

“Well, I’m pretty sure we know he’s talking about Matt,” Stiles declared before thinking, and all nine of the others immediately went up in arms at him being the first one to name names. Whoops.

“Nice, Stilinski,” Jackson sneered right into his ear from where he was sat next to Lydia behind him.

Scott sent him an apologetic look at the same moment that Matt interjected, “I think we’re all aware of my little… problem, now,” that was an understatement, “but at the end of the day, the challenge still came down to the puzzle. The puzzle which Stiles failed to finish.”

Stiles scoffed, letting himself get riled up like an idiot, “We lost ten minutes of puzzle time because you failed to mention you can’t swim,” Stiles drawled, delivering his response to the rest of the tribe, as if he had to spell it out to them. They were probably just better at being subtle, or at least he hoped that’s what it was, because otherwise he was being left out of the loop and he really was going to be the first to go home. “There’s no telling how many water-based challenges there are going to be, and I want us to go forward with as able a team as possible.”

Wow, Stiles was probably going to be depicted as a villain at this rate. He hadn’t gotten much information out of Matt yet, so god knows what kind of tragic stuff led to his fear of the water.

But he needed to survive, no matter what. People could think what they wanted about him after the show, but he would do literally anything if it meant getting the money to help his dad out.

“Very strong words, Stiles.” Peter’s gaze was haunting as he swept his eyes over Stiles, as if finally realising he was there, “Malia, do you have anything you’d like to add to that?”

“Considering I was the one who had to literally do two people’s jobs because of Matt, I totally agree with Stiles,” blunt, to the point, in Stiles’ favour. Stiles liked Malia.

“And Matt, what do you have to say to people who want to write your name down tonight?”

Matt sat straight and addressed the tribe, speaking cryptically, “I think a few of us recognise that there is a serious threat sitting here among us who is far more important to get rid of than me being land-bound.”

Serious threat? Well, fortunately that sounded like the complete opposite of Stiles, but he couldn’t pick a serious threat out from among them. He just hoped Matt wasn’t gunning for Scott.

“Alright, well, on that note,” Peter’s stare bore hard through each of them as he enunciated the next words, “I think it is time to vote. Jennifer, you’re up.”

They went like that, one-by-one, from Jennifer to Deaton, all the way down to Lydia and Stiles, until each of them had written someone else present’s name down on a piece of paper and placed it in the urn.

“I’ll go count the votes,” Peter said, as if there was anything else he was going to do, and then they waited.

Stiles phased out while they waited for him to count the votes and no doubt put them in an order which would maximise drama. A few of the others murmured quietly among themselves, Lydia might have silently asked him who he voted for, but it was all background noise. He could be going home in a few minutes. He could be completely blindsided. These people were strangers, and Stiles prided himself on being adept at reading people, but he could trust these people as far as he could throw them, and Stiles and his skinny arms sure as hell couldn’t throw them very far.

“If anybody has a hidden immunity idol and you want to play it, now would be the time to do so." Pause. Nothing. Good. "Once the votes are read, the decision is final, the person voted out will be asked to leave the tribal council area immediately,” Peter uttered like a threat to each of them. Stiles felt it. “I’ll read the votes.”

Stiles swallowed audibly as he plucked a piece of parchment from the urn. Was that Stiles’ piece? God knows, they all looked the same.

“First vote,” he unfurled it, “Matt.”

He turned the paper around and it was, in-fact, Stiles’ parchment. He could recognise his scrawly handwriting anywhere. It mean that the other nine pieces of parchment were completely unknown to him. He could only pray that Allison and whoever else she’d told had also written down Matt’s name.

“Second vote,” he unfurled another slip of paper, “Jennifer.”

Jennifer? Stiles wasn’t expecting that, nor was he expecting the very obviously Lydia’s handwriting to be the one who cast it. What did Lydia have against Jennifer?

“Third vote,” practically unrecognisable handwriting, “Jennifer. Fourth vote… Matt. Fifth vote… Jennifer. Sixth vote… Matt. Seventh vote… Jennifer. Eighth vote… Matt.” Peter paused, “That’s four votes Matt, four votes Jennifer, two votes left.”

The good news? Stiles wasn’t going home, thank god. The bad news? If Jennifer ended up being the one to go home, it would make tomorrow very awkward as he’d practically called out Matt in the middle of tribal council as the weak link. He could bet that Matt would be gunning for him if he didn’t go home tonight.

“Ninth vote… Matt. One vote left.” Peter grinned, probably because Matt was now putting his head in his hands and repeating oh my god out loud. Bit melodramatic, but honestly Stiles can’t blame him considering he’d probably burst into tears if it were him. He just hoped Matt wasn’t relying on the show quite like Stiles was. He couldn’t think about that, though. “Tenth vote, and the first person eliminated from Survivor: Wolves versus Hunters, Matt. That’s six votes, that’s enough, you need to bring me your torch.”

“Wow,” Matt sighs, standing up and angrily snatching up his torch. “You guys are gonna regret that. She’ll stab each and every one of you in the back.”

Honestly, were people seeing something else in Jennifer which Stiles was missing? She’d been a bit rude, sure, but people were surely overselling it a bit if they were calling her out as being that big of a threat so early on. That being said, Lydia had cast her vote for her, and Lydia certainly didn’t give off the impression of someone who was wrong often.

“Matt Daehler, the tribe has spoken.”

“They certainly have,” Matt sneered as Peter extinguished his torch. Despite it being something so… normal; it almost seemed like Peter was holding his head underwater and drowning him as the light died from the torch and Matt’s face went dark. Fire represents your life, Peter had said, Once your fire is gone, so are you.

Now, Matt was gone.

Everyone let out a chorus of things along the lines of bye, Matt as he walked away from the council and towards the boat that would take him off the island and back home. Stiles was still struck by the surreal nature of the moment.

“Well, in this game, it’s either sink or swim, and it’s up to you whether or not you trust someone to not drag you under instead of keep you afloat.” Stiles wasn’t going to let himself get dragged under. He gave Scott and some of the others a tight smile as they all stood up, “Grab your torches, head back to camp. I’ll see you all at the next reward challenge.”

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What have you learned in your time on Survivor this season?

“I learned that it’s probably about time I went to therapy for my issues with water, especially if I want to do something like this again in the future. That was definitely by downfall here, but I don’t have any ill feelings for the other Hunters, not really.”

If you could go back in time to when you first started on the show, what would you do differently?

“I reckon I’d be more forthcoming about my weaknesses rather than putting myself in a situation where there was no way I wouldn’t freak out.”

Who do you think will become the Sole Survivor?

“I think Danny Mah—whatever his last name is, has a good chance. He’s charismatic, smart, strong, and he was the only one whose name wasn’t thrown around tonight. I think Danny has a good chance of becoming Sole Survivor.”