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Hold My Heart (It's Beating For You Anyway)

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It was an accepted part of humanity that at the age of sixteen, each person received their soul mark. Somewhere on their body, the first words that their soulmate would ever speak to them would appear and stay with them for the rest of their lives. Some people's marks were written in different languages, and so they would travel the entire world, simply to find their other half.

One Stiles Stilinski couldn't imagine the sheer amount of frustration that those unfortunate to have to scour the globe for their soulmate's dealt with. Her parents were lucky in the way that they met the day after Claudia's sixteenth birthday and the words written right under her ribcage were so unique, there was no mistaking who John Stilinski was to her. It took no time for the two to fall in love, and they were married immediately after they graduated high school. John began working as deputy at the Sheriff's department and Claudia went to college to become an elementary school teacher. A few short years later, Claudia gave birth to their first child; a healthy baby girl they named Grazyna, far outshining John's promotion to Sheriff.

For awhile, things were great for their little family, until they weren't and Claudia Stilinski was dying from frontotemporal dementia and John was dying right along with her.

One night, while they watched Claudia finally getting some sleep in her hospital bed, Grazyna quietly asked her father how he and her mother met. A smile graced the worn man's face for the first time in weeks and he pressed a kiss to the top of his daughter's head.

"We met at our junior prom," John murmured quietly into her curls. "She and I had both gone to the dance with different people, but somehow wound up meeting at the punch bowl. I had just filled a cup for my date and as I turned to return to her, I ran smack dab into your mother. The punch I had spilled all over her pretty blue dress and she was livid.

'You absolute neanderthal!' she shrieked at me, drawing the attention of everyone within twenty feet. I didn't much care, though, because I had been waiting to hear those exact words for sixth months before she screamed them at me."

"What did you say back, Daddy?" Grazyna asked him with no small amount of curiousity.

John let out a small chuckle and answered with, "It wasn't terribly clever, I'm sorry to say. At a loss for how to react, I blurted out, 'I am really sorry, but I can't afford to pay for the dry cleaning.'"

"Then what did she say?"

"Nothing. She punched me in the nose and then promptly grabbed some ice and a few napkins for the snack table to make me an ice pack. We've been in love ever since."

And in that moment, Grazyna wanted someone who loved her as much as her father loved her mother. She wanted someone to marry and have babies with, and to grow old with. Except, she didn't realize that her mother wasn't getting better and that she would never grow old. Neither would her father.

Claudia Stilinski died quietly in her sleep at 3:47am on a Sunday evening in April. John Stilinski died from heart failure approximately two hours after his wife; just long enough for him to call his wife's best friend to let her know that she needed pick Grazyna up from the sitter's in the morning.

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After the death of her parents, Grazyna went to live with her godmother Melissa McCall and her son Scott, Grazyna's best friend. She coped with the loss of her parents as best as a nine year old could, and the only outward sign she gave that showed the extent of her pain was requesting that no one call her by her given name anymore.

"But, your name is so pretty." Melissa bemoaned gently when the girl explained her request during breakfast before school.

"It's only a name. You and my mother were the only people who could pronounce it, anyway. Just call me Stiles."

And since it was the first time the child had willingly mentioned either of her parents in days, Melissa didn't have the heart to argue it any further.

The years went by, and Stiles and Scott grew up as siblings and went through all the trials of puberty together. Scott was the sunshine in her life that kept the clouds at bay and she carried his spare inhaler for him. It was a pretty fair trade, if you asked her. By the time they were both in their second year of high school, the two had found their niche in the social hierarchy, which is to say the very bottom. That is, until Scott got bitten by a psychotic Alpha werewolf while he and Stiles were in the preserve looking for half of a dead body.

In Stiles' opinion, everything went downhill from there.

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When Scott came to Stiles before lacrosse practice, babbling about finding his soulmate, it went right over her head at first. She was too focused on fixing the net on her stick and wasn't really listening. Besides, she wasn't too terribly interested in hearing anything about soulmates. From her experience, nothing good ever came from soul bonds, in the long run. Her parents were proof of that.

"Scott," Stiles interrupted him. "Listen, buddy, I'm glad you've found your soulmate and everything, especially after what you went through with Allison. But, I don't particularly care to hear about it right this second? In case you've forgotten, the whole soul bond thing hasn't really done my life any favors. So, congratulations, I can't wait to meet this Kira gal, but I don't know how you expect me to react to this news."

Not even giving him a chance to do anything besides growl indignantly, Stiles threw her lacrosse equipment into her locker and stormed out of the locker room. She didn't even stop when Coach Finstock yelled after her, demanding to know where the hell she was going.

"Fuck off, Cupcake!" Stiles called over her shoulder as she crossed the practice field.

Chapter Text

Vernon Boyd IV was so used to being alone, so used to the idea that no one would ever notice him, he was actually surprised when he received his soul mark on his 16th birthday.

At midnight, he was woken by a burning sensation across his collarbones that made him cry out in pain. He stumbled from his bed, still half asleep, and made his way to his en-suite bathroom. Once he flipped the light switch and looked in the mirror, he let out an audible gasp. Scrawled across his skin, in a messy hand, were the words, "You're a blessed silence that I seldom get to enjoy."

Boyd couldn't decide how to take those words, but he supposed that it didn't matter. There was actually someone out there that actually meant for him, some wonderful person that clearly didn't mind his quiet ways. It was more than he could have ever hoped for because at least now he knew that his entire life wouldn't be spent alone.

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Two days later, at two-thirty in the morning, one Grazyna Stilinski fell to her knees, clutching at her throat. She screamed out her agony, but not because of the soul mark burning its way into her flesh. No, it was because she had just been handed a death sentence that she couldn't escape from.

When she could finally muster the energy to get up and go look at the mirror on the back of her closet door, the first words her soulmate would speak to her were stark against her pale throat. "Why do you keep coming back?" was inscribed in a neat script, directly over her jugular.

Stiles had spent the past seven years of her life hoping and praying that she would never find her soulmate. Now, it was inevitable.

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High school was never something enjoyable or particularly tortuous for Boyd. He just sort of existed there and went through the motions, because what else was there to do?

He didn't have any friends; whether that was due to his intimidating form or quiet nature, he didn't know. It had been that way for him for so long that he stopped questioning it and became used to the solitude.

So, anyone could imagine his surprise when, on a Thursday of no consequence, someone actually sat at his lunch table. He looked up from his book, mildly startled and his gaze locked on a pair of amber eyes. Taking in the rest of the intruder, he saw that it was a girl that he recognized. Stiles, he recalled, was her name. She normally sat with Scott Mcall, Allison Argent, Lydia Martin, and Jackson Whittemore. Clear on the other side of the cafeteria. Nowhere near his table. So, what was with the change in scenery?

Not one to engage others in conversation, he raised an eyebrow at her and waited for an explanation. Apparently, she wasn't up to talking that day either, as she simply shrugged at him and started on her lunch. Boyd was baffled by her non-response, but seeing as she wasn't bothering him, went back to reading his book. At the end of lunch, Stiles got up first, dumped her food, and hightailed it out of the cafeteria. Boyd stood and left after her at a more sedated pace, still puzzling over why she sat with him in the first place.

And if, when he closed his eyes that night, he saw her cherubic face behind his eyelids, no one needed to know.

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For the next week or so, Stiles showed up everyday and sat at his table. He never asked why she was there, and she never offered a reason. They sat in silence while she ate and he read. After the third day, Boyd realized that, though they never talked, he found that he enjoyed her presence and didn't feel so lonely for those forty-five minutes. He still had no clue why she was there, but was happy that she was anyway. Then, on an arbitrary Monday, he had to go and fuck that up.

Stiles was sitting directly across from him this day, instead of at the other end of the table. Boyd noticed that she was dressed differently; instead of her usual plaid shirt and skinny jeans, she was clad in a pretty red dress. Her wildly curled hair was pushed back by a headband and allowed him to really look at her face. When she was distracted by her questionable looking mac n' cheese, he took in all her features, from her pouty lips to her whiskey colored doe eyes. For the first time since she sat at his table, he noticed just how pretty she is.

Boyd was so distracted by his perusal, he was startled when she glanced up and locked eyes with him. Much like he did the first day, she raised an eyebrow at his blatant staring. Against his will, Boyd felt his face grow hot under her scrutiny and blurted out the first thing that came to mind.

"Why do you keep coming back?"

She looked so startled by his words, Boyd thought that he had offended her. But, the next words out of her pretty pink lips almost knocked him over.

"You're a blessed silence that I seldom get to enjoy," Stiles whispered back to him across the table.

For a solid minute, they sat in what was their usual silence and just looked at each other. Boyd saw that she had visibly paled and her bottom lip was trembling. He felt the bottom of his stomach fall out when he realized she was going to cry.

"What's the matter?" he asked quietly, never breaking eye contact. She answered with no hesitation.

"I never wanted you."

Well, that was a lot more hurt than he thought he could ever feel. But, Boyd was a lot of things and a quitter wasn't one of them.

"Well, I've never wanted anything more."

Again, Stiles seemed to be startled by his words, as if she wasn't expecting that response. She narrowed her eyes at him and sat back in her chair.

"It seems we're at an impasse," she murmured softly, but the words echoed loudly in his ears.

"You can't just throw me away." Boyd whispered back, just as softly.

And he could not bear the pain if she did. Boyd hadn't known it, but he had been waiting all his life to find someone who could just sit with him in silence, someone who reveled in it. Now that he had her, and she was meant for him, the thought of losing her felt like a knife wedged between his ribs.

"What do you want from me?" Stiles demanded, but it sounded as if she were begging.

"Nothing that you haven't already given me," he replied easily. "I don't know what has happened to you to make you so adverse to finding your soulmate, but I'd like to find out, if you gave me the chance. You don't have to give all of yourself right now; your presence has been more than enough."

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Two weeks after they "found" each other, Stiles stopped using concealer to cover her soul mark. A few days later, she reached out and took Boyd's hand in her own for the first time. The beatific smile she was granted warmed her in a way she had never felt. A month after that, Boyd took her out on their first date and bought her favorite flavor of ice cream without even having to ask. She stood way up on her tiptoes and gave him a kiss for his troubles.

In a year's time, Stiles finally found the courage to take a chance with uncertainty and uttered the words, " I love you. I think I've always loved you."

Boyd didn't so much as hesitate when he grinned and whispered, "Well, I've never loved anyone more."