Stiles spots Scott across the field about two seconds before it happens. Stiles raises a hand to wave and calls out, and Scott, bless his poor werewolf heart, lets out a howl.
Heads swivel. Stiles snaps his mouth shut, for a moment stunned. Scott turns red, and the field is quiet for a second. Stiles filters three choices through his mind before he decides quickly, and opens his mouth.
He howls. It's a bit on the squeaky side, but he plasters on a grin and acts like both of them intended to do that. Scott looks relieved, if baffled. Poor kid, Stiles thinks as he makes his way over to his best friend.
"Hey, buddy, what the hell was that ?" he asks, throwing a hand across Scott's shoulder and steering him into a more private public conversation. Scott visibly panics a little.
" I don't know !" he says, voice tinged with a note of embarrassment," I meant to just, yell your name, you know. Normal stuff."
"Well good thing I howled too, now the team just has the confirmation, that they already had, mind you, that we're the weirdest kids on the team!" Stiles tries to comfort Scott, shaking his shoulder once before dropping his hand. "They kind of forgot, since you're the captain, and buff and cool and not asthmatic anymore, but you know. Here's a reminder, I guess."
"Do you think they'll think it weirder if we only do it once?" Scott asks.
"I mean. We can pretend it's a thing we're trying to start. School spirit, right? And then we'll just... stop. " Scott suggests, splaying his hands outward. Stiles hums.
"Yeah. That sounds good."
"LAPS!" yells Coach, and that was the end of that conversation.
Stiles honestly hadn't thought the howling would catch on. So imagine his surprise when after a week of howling to Scott when he sees him, to hear another voice.
To be honest, Stiles howls back on instinct, before he realizes Coach was the howler, not Scott. He stares, dumbfoundead, before Coach's eyes flitter to him.
"What, Bilinski? School spirit! Get back to running!" he yells. Stiles stares for a moment more, and gets back to the daily grind.
The next to do it is Danny. Not a surprise, really, for the natural progression of things after Coach. Danny is open-minded, and pretty easy going. Stiles gets three howls back when he howls this time. Crazy, Stiles thinks, how things progress.
After Danny, the rest of the lacrosse team joins in. It's almost funny, Scott remarks, the irony of a howling high school. They don't even know the double meaning. Stiles agrees.
After the team, it's not even funny how quickly it bleeds through to the rest of the school. Alright. It's a little funny. All through the school, howling. Brings a new memory.
It's the last game of the season, and the whole pack has promised to come see it. Even Peter, after some incessant wheedling done by a relentless human.
Stiles and Scott hadn't exactly... told the older members of the Pack about what was going on at school, what they had started. Honest mistake, really. But as people began to file into the stands while the lacrosse team practices pregame, Stiles grins. Oh, this is going to be beautiful.
When the first howl rings out, there's a dozen answers. It rings out again, less calls answer. Narrowing it down. Finding the intended. The looks on Derek and Peter's faces? Stiles wouldn't give it for the world.
Stiles hears Coach's howl, and lets one out back, turning to face the man as he gears himself up. He sees the other team making faces.
"All right kiddies, let's go! We've got one last game to prove we're the best freakin team out here. So if you guys don't win, I'm failing all of you." Coach shouts, and thrusts a hand in for a team cheer.
"One!" Stiles thrusts a hand in.
"Two!" A deep breath.
And the howls begin. Not a greeting, this time, but a warning to the other team. Watch out, Beacon Hill is calling for you loss. Stiles grins. Basically yelling is really cathartic for your soul.
"Now get out there and win !"
They do win. And it's great, even when Stiles stands too close to Coach and gets a cooler of water to the face and shoulder, he comes out smiling.
"What was that." Derek asks, after most of the field has cleared up, and the Pack has ended up in a larger blob of people. Stiles thinks he waited a generous amount of time before asking, so he explains.
Honest to God? Derek looks as if this is the funniest shit he's ever heard.
"You mean Scott Mccall's lack of control made this school... howl-happy?" Derek's eyebrows tell a whole story.
"Yeah, I guess so. Fun story to tell the kids, right?" Stiles laughs, and smiles happily up at Derek. It's returned, and even this small act of joy makes Stiles heart beat just a little bit quicker.
"You want to take us out for the night? One last howl for the Pack?" Stiles asks, "An itty bitty baby howl, even?"
Derek looks like he wants to glare, but he's having too much fun.
"Nothing about my howl is tiny," Derek smirks. And yeah, why would he say that to a horny teenager. They both know he's not talking only about his howl.
"Let's hear it then, oh mighty Alpha ."
Derek throws his head back, grin covering his face.