Stiles jumped as a hand appeared out of nowhere and slammed his locker shut, the loud noise snapping him out of his incessant worrying about his chemistry test next block.
“Stiles!” Scott exclaimed with his big dopey grin on his face. That look made Stiles’s stomach flip as it usually came with Scott trying to rope his best friend into doing something completely out of his comfort zone. “So...some of the lacrosse guys are going down to the bluff this weekend and they invited a bunch of girls-”
“One being Allison,” interrupted Stiles. He already knew the girl’s name would be brought up as she has become the apple of Scott’s eye since transferring to their school last semester. Scott had been desperate to go out with her, proven by his countless attempts to ask her on a date that have ended in him stuttering until he pees his pants or falling over on his ass in front of every popular girl in the school.
Scott stared at the ground as his cheeks slowly turned pink, rubbing the back of his neck shyly with his hand. “Maybe...ok fine yes, one being Allison-”
“And you want me to come with as a wingman.” They’d had this conversation over and over again and it usually ended in Stiles awkwardly standing in a corner alone at some lacrosse team social event as Scott flirted with Allison and his annoying teammates threw insult after insult at Stiles.
Scott’s face lit up as his best friend hit the nail on the head, and how could Stiles say no to that huge grin? Stiles rolled his eyes but let out a loud sigh. “Fine, but I’m still limping from when Greenberg deadlegged me with a lacrosse stick at Jackson’s party last month.” Stiles reopened his locker to grab his chemistry textbook and started to walk down the hallway towards his classroom. Scott bounced behind him as they had the period together, dapping up his fellow teammates as he passed by them.
“I know Greenberg’s a bitch, but I got to talk to Allison alone that night!” Scott clapped a hand on Stiles’s shoulder. “I wouldn’t have been able to do it without you distracting Lydia with some conversation about smart stuff.”
Stiles rolled his eyes again as the pair made their way to their seats before the bell rang. “Smart stuff, nice one bro.” Scott was about to retaliate, but the girl of his dreams entered the room and stole all of his attention. For the millionth time, Stiles held back a laugh as Scott stared with an open mouth at Allison who shyly took the seat next to him. They both stuttered a “Hey”, and honestly Stiles was getting fed up with their constant pining from a distance. It was clear the two had feelings for each other, they were both just too stubborn to make a move.
“Good morning class,” Mr. Harris, their chemistry teacher, greeted them as he walked in. The bell rang behind him, signaling the students to shut up and put their phones away unless they wanted to spend after school detention one on one with the most annoying chemistry teacher on the planet. “You all have ten minutes to review your notes for the test, don’t talk to anyone and if I hear one vibration of a phone you all fail, now get to it.”
Stiles held back another eye roll as he pulled back out his notes he was so rudely interrupted by Scott from studying earlier. Speaking of his friend, the brunette leaned over his desk to whisper to Stiles, “Wait, we have a test?”
Stiles really loved the guy, but oh boy was he about to punch something if he couldn’t just focus for one second. “Yes Scott!” Stiles hissed back under his breath. “I’ve been telling you about it for a week asking you to go to the library and study, but you’ve been too busy thinking about you know who!”
“Stilinski!” Harris yelled from the front of the classroom. Scott had a guilty look on his face as the teacher only scolded Stiles. “Ah, the subject of my chronic migraines. What did I say about talking? Two hours of detention after school!”
He didn’t even notice his death grip on his notes, but after getting in trouble it tightened, causing Stiles to tear the paper in two. “Fuck, this day just keeps getting better” he groaned.
As soon as Stiles got home that night, he immediately slumped on the couch. Detention with Harris had tired him out more than any physical exercise, and he wasn’t even allowed to get up to go to the bathroom. He forced himself back on his feet to go to the kitchen and start dinner. Stiles’s father was still at work at the Sheriff’s station and most likely wouldn’t be home until late so he only made it for one.
After juggling a scalding slice of leftover pizza out of the oven and onto a plate, Stiles made his way back to the couch and proceeded with his nightly routine: dinner on the couch, news on the television, and police scanner turned on next to him. Stiles had an unhealthy obsession with staying up to date on the crime to happen every night. His father being the sheriff of their town made it easy to know every dirty detail.
“Good evening Beacon Hills,” the newscaster’s voice filled the empty house with noise. “I’m Jennifer Blake with your 8 o’clock news. We proceed tonight with the ongoing case of the mysterious string of homicides surrounding Beacon Hills and nearby cities. As the Sheriff’s Department is working their hardest to figure out the cause, we want to remind citizens to lock their doors at night and stay on lit pathways if walking in isolated areas...”
The news were drowned out by the loud static of the police scanner. Stiles nearly choked on his pizza as he shot up and grabbed it to listen close, “Attention all units, another report of a 187 in the west side of the preserve, 10-78.”
“Another murder?” muttered Stiles through a mouthful of cheese. This was the eighth one this month, and they all had the signs of the same killer. Stiles’s father had spent sleepless nights at the station trying to piece together who or what could be out there. The public only thought there had been four homicides to keep the panic somewhat minimal, but Stiles had his inside source, and it was often very unsettling. After swallowing his food, Stiles reached for his phone and dialed his dad’s number. It was a habit whenever he heard a dangerous call over the scanner.
“Stiles, I told you not to bother me at work unless it’s an emergency”, his dad answered the phone with a tired voice. Stiles could hear sirens in the background, signaling that he was in the car on the way to the murder scene. “You need to stop listening to my old scanner.”
“Sorry pops,” Stiles responded. “Just checking up on you.” His voice dropped to become more serious. “Please be careful out there.”
The sheriff’s tone shifted to become more relaxed. “I know bud, I will. I’ll probably be home tomorrow morning before you leave for school. I love you.”
“I love you too dad,” said Stiles before hanging up. He turned off the television and put away his dishes before making his way to his bedroom to get ready for bed in the eerily quiet house.
“Dude, I can’t wait to see Allison in a bikini. She’s so fucking hot. Today is the day I’m gonna make my move, I can just feel something’s gonna happen. And I’m so happy you came! I couldn’t do this without my right hand man! Now if the guys give you any crap just let me know and I’ll tell them off.”
Stiles really wished he wasn’t the one driving so he could put in earbuds and blast his music at full volume instead of listen to Scott go on and on about his plan to woo Allison. He wasn’t usually so pessimistic, but the whole thought of being on a 60 foot tall bluff with a lacrosse team that loved to make Stiles’s life a living nightmare made him actually fear for his life, and the anxiety was already setting in.
“Stiles, you good bro?” Scott asked from the passenger’s seat of Stiles’s run down jeep. “Cause you’re starting to swerve and I’m not trying to fall off the edge of this cliff.”
Stiles was snapped back to reality and quickly jerked the wheel to the left after nearly going off the road, causing Scott to let out a loud yelp. They were driving up a steep, rocky road to “The Bluff”: Beacon Hill’s infamous cliff above the pacific ocean that highschoolers loved to spend weekends at to get drunk and experience an adrenaline rush from diving into the water below.
“Sorry Scott,” said Stiles. “I guess I’m just kind of nervous. You know me and heights.” He had a death grip on his steering wheel, his knuckles turning more white as they got closer and closer to the top.
Scott rested a soothing hand on his friend’s shoulder and gave a reassuring squeeze. “I know, but thank you for doing this for me. You don’t have to jump off, just hang back and you’ll be good. I’ll be right there with you, plus Allison, Lydia, and Danny all love you!”
Stiles let out a chuckle. “Love is a strong word. I think they tolerate me compared to how everyone else treats me.”
Stiles had never been a cool, popular guy. Freshman year him and Scott were the nerds of the school, always getting pushed into lockers by Jackson Whittemore and company. When Scott made varsity lacrosse sophomore year, though, he was instantly sucked into the dark side. He started going to parties and getting drunk or high with “the boys”. Stiles was happy that Scott started to feel accepted, but the popularity didn’t spread to him. He was still just “Scott’s best friend”, and only went to social events as a plus one. Stiles had grown close to a couple of the popular kids; Lydia was always super nice to him and they bonded over school as they had most of their classes together; Allison was just incredibly kind to everyone, Stiles was sure she would never hurt a mosquito even if it bit her; Danny was Jackson’s best friend, who still loved to shove Stiles into any surface in sight, but he always stepped up for Stiles when he was around and made sure to welcome him at every event.
“McCall!” one of the lacrosse players called as Scott and Stiles hopped out of the jeep. They had arrived to the bluff, parking amongst the sports cars of their classmates. Empty beer bottles and cans were littered everywhere, and Stiles flinched as a shirtless guy disappeared from sight off the edge of the cliff with a big “Fuck yeah!”
“And Stilinski,” Jackson added in his usual snarky tone. “Of course I wouldn’t expect McCall to go anywhere without his side bitch.”
Scott glared daggers at Jackson and grabbed a bottle from a cooler. “Knock it off Dickmore, Stiles and I are a package deal.” Stiles couldn’t hold back his slight smile as his best friend stood up for him. No matter how popular Scott got, or who he hung out with, Stiles knew they’d always be there for each other.
“Scott!” a female voice came from behind them and Allison ran up to wrap her arms around Scott. Stiles laughed as the guy started to blush, especially after he ran his eyes up and down Allison’s bikini-clad body. “I’m so glad you came. Hey Stiles!” She let go of Scott to give Stiles a side hug. It was a small gesture but made Stiles feel slightly less nervous. Then Allison turned back to Scott. “You’re jumping off with me right? I went off with Lydia and it was so much fun. She’s still down there coming back up the side path, you have to do it!”
Scott gave her his big dopey smile and nodded excitedly. “Definitely, wouldn’t wanna do it with anyone else.” Allison squeezed his shoulder and gestured for him to follow. Scott watched after her with a lovestruck gaze.
“Go on,” Stiles shoved his friend with a grin. At Scott’s worried look he added, “I’ll be fine dude, go get your girl.” Scott’s face lit up as he thanked Stiles before peeling off his shirt and running to catch up with Allison. Stiles watched with slight anxiety as the two of them leapt off of the cliff with hands intertwined.
With Scott gone, Stiles shivered as the cool ocean breeze replaced the warm body that had been a comfort next to him. This was how it usually ended, Stiles alone and fearful for who would be the first to throw an insult at him. The team never really picked on Stiles with Scott around (except for Dickmore), but they always seemed to find him when he was alone.
“You gonna jump off Stilinski?” one guy called in a mocking tone. “Don’t be a pussy.” Stiles just ignored the comment and looked away.
But then Jackson caught on and stalked over to Stiles. He got so close that Stiles could smell the heavy scent of beer on his breath. “Aw, wittle Stiles doesn’t know what to do without mama McCall huh?” the guy sneered. “Come on Stilinski, you’re not afraid of heights right?” He slung an arm around Stiles’s shoulder and guided him towards the edge.
“What the hell are you doing?” Stiles started to panic. “Jackson, that’s not funny.” The bully just laughed and started to shove Stiles further forward. When Stiles tried to fight back, a couple more lacrosse guys showed up and grabbed his arms and legs, hoisting him up in the air. “Let me down! Fuck you!” Stiles squirmed all he could but the guys were a lot stronger than him.
The last thing Stiles saw before he started freefalling was Scott, Allison, and Lydia sprinting towards him, mouths opened from screaming. Stiles couldn’t hear their voices, though, the only sound in his ears was the deafening beat of his panicked heart. The world seemed to slow down around him, causing the fall to feel like an eternity.
Stiles was shocked he didn’t pass out when he struck the surface, but the water filled his lungs rapidly as his anxiety overtook his common sense to hold his breath. It felt like a panic attack underwater, and it was the scariest moment of Stiles’s life.
Stiles couldn’t move, his body was like a brick sinking to the ocean floor. The water seemed to suck him deeper and deeper like a vacuum, and the pressure started to make him feel like he was going to explode. The light of the surface grew dimmer and dimmer, and Stiles didn’t know if it was because he was getting further away from it, or because he was starting to lose consciousness. He knew it was the latter when spots slowly overtook his vision. Stiles didn’t want to die like this, he couldn’t leave his dad alone after already having suffered the death of his mom. He couldn’t abandon Scott in their last year together before college.
A sudden and unexpected urge came over Stiles to fight. One by one, he regained control over his limbs and struggled to move them to swim up to the surface, but the exhaustion had already taken over. He was already deprived of oxygen for too long and he was too deep. His body wasn’t floating up fast enough.
As his line of sight grew smaller and smaller, Stiles spotted a faint glow in the distance. For an unknown reason, he was drawn to it, and his body surprisingly felt the same. Despite the inability to swim up, Stiles found himself subconsciously drifting closer to the mysterious light. He wondered how he hadn’t drowned yet, but as the distance closed between him and the glow his body felt like it was regaining power. Like two magnets attracted to each other, Stiles’s hand reached out to the light, and he could finally see what it was.
An algae covered trident lay on the ocean floor, but an orange glow broke through the cracks of gunk and shone brighter as Stiles came closer. He couldn’t explain why, but Stiles felt like he needed to touch it. It was calling to him, telling him to come closer and grab the trident.
Stiles’s hand wrapped around the handle, and suddenly it felt like his lungs filled with air and he took a deep breath that restored his energy. The light kept shining brighter, though, and a blinding flash was the last thing Stiles saw before blacking out completely.