(For full effect, the song is Stress by Jim's Big Ego, and you can listen to it here!)
But really, weirder shit has happened while he’s lived here. Like talking raccoons eating all his popcorn while their tree bestie gave a running commentary of the movie they were watching. (Stiles was still surprised a creature could convey ,i>that much subtext with only three words.)
Wait. Did he smell pancakes? Was Scott making Ms. McCall’s Secret Recipe Pancakes?
Stiles scrambled out of bed and nearly concussed himself by getting tangled in the sheets. At least nobody but Jarvis saw that.
“You alright buddy?” Scott called. Freakin’ werewolves and their hearing and misplaced concern.
Darcy said something that sounded suspiciously like, “My favorite klutz.” Which, rude.
Stiles freed his feet with great dignity and made his way down the hall.
“Oh good,” Scott beamed at him. “I was getting ready to send Darcy to wake you up.”
“I’m glad you didn’t, she tickles,” Stiles said, sliding onto a stool at the counter and giving a nod to Clint and Darcy sitting on the other side. Clint’s eyes were still half mast and he had a band-aid over the bridge of his nose. Two of the fingers clutched around his mug had similar bandages, Stiles noticed as Clint drained the last of his cup in salute.
“Aw, coffee,” Clint muttered, looking sad at his new lack of coffee.
Scott flipped the pancakes in the pan, turned the bacon, and then reached to refill Clint’s mug. Clint smiled sleepily and went back to sipping.
Darcy patted Clint’s shoulder and scooted a plate over to Stiles. A plate with scones of like three varieties.
“You don’t bake,” Stiles said, suspicious. “And these don’t look like the ones from that French bakery.”
“Clint bakes,” Darcy explained, beaming. “He made these for brunch.”
Clint shrugged, like highly trained sharp-shooters just bake shit all the time and said, “Darcy said we were having brunch. Scones are totally a brunch thing. Katie told me they were.”
“Kate Bishop understands the importance of a variety at brunch, babe,” Darcy nodded patting Clint on the cheek.
“But that’s not why you’re here,” Stiles said as it occurred to him. Because scones didn’t just happen without any reason. These were Concerned Scones. Scones of Emotional Significance or something. Damnit.
Stiles really needed to start paying more attention to these things. But he’d been so busy.
“You’re right,” Darcy said, face stern, allowing for no bullshit. “That’s not why we’re here. You’ve completely exhausted yourself like you do every mid-term. So much so, that your Alpha called me to check on you.”
“We should also probably talk about your spatial awareness and what Tony might have done to your stove because I was here most of the night and you didn’t notice,” Clint added.
“You baked all these in my kitchen?!” Stiles asked, focusing on that one detail. He’d just have to start small and work his way out to the bigger issue. Like, he could admit to maybe freaking out about this. He’d very much like to just go back to his room and hide under the covers. Their concern was stifling.
He hated being reminded that he worried people on occasion, well-meaning or not. And since when did people outside of the pack not put him on high alert when they were in his space unannounced? Had he been that tired? Maybe. That cold last week had really kicked his ass and he couldn’t remember the last time he’d had a good night’s sleep. Mid-terms were always this way. Hell his entire life was based on dealing with immediate threats and short naps.
“Yeah,” Clint answered, looking far more awake than he did previously. Clint would be way too fast if Stiles tried to make a move back to his bed. He’d probably do some sort of assassin shit.
Stiles could admit that he’d need actual pants if he was gonna physically try to out maneuver his problems. Right, nevermind. Important questions.
“But why didn’t you use the communal apartment that you Avenger-types share when you’re in the city?” Stiles asked, squinting at him. He still wasn’t focusing on the rest of it. He refused. There’s not enough coffee in the world for him to deal with all of their concern yet.
Clint scratched the back of his head, sheepish.
“Jarvis locked me out and would only let me into your place,” he answered. “Your couch is surprisingly comfy, by the way.”
Scott put a plate of pancakes in front of him, smile gentle, and placed a hand on Stiles’ hand.
“Oh come on,” Stiles said. “Why are you giving me the fond ‘you idiot’ look? It’s totally unwarranted. Seriously. Things are totally great.”
“Because you are an idiot who does a really shitty job taking care of himself and dodging his whole pack while insisting that he’s fine,” Scott said. “Lucky you’ve got more than pack that cares about you.”
Darcy pointedly polished her nails on her sleeve and looked pleased at herself. Clint tipped his coffee cup in Stiles’ direction.
Stiles sighed, trying to hide how touched he was about the whole thing. “Yeah,” he agreed quietly.
Scott gave his hand one final squeeze and plated up pancakes for Darcy and Clint who both used an amount of syrup that should have been outlawed for being excessive. So much that he was sure that Maple trees in Canada were weeping.
Stiles must have made a face because Darcy said, “What?” around a mouthful of pancake.
“There’s just not enough coffee for that obscene amount of syrup,” Stiles scoffed, smearing his own pancakes with butter and a reasonable dash of maple syrup. Scott had even warmed it. Scott was the best.
Clint stuck his tongue out at Stiles in protest. Stiles thought that maybe Clint had spent too much time around Kate Bishop. Kate tended to bring out his youthful side, but currently that meant pancakes and syrup everywhere.
“So what’s next during this intervention of my idiocy?” Stiles asked, polishing off his second helping and a lot of bacon.
“You are going back to bed and we’re taking a nap,” Scott said. “Then maybe I’ll kick your ass at Mario Kart.”
“Clint and I will be back later,” Darcy said. “We’re gonna go to the Farmer’s market. Natasha is going to make her Super Secret pasta with that sauce with all the basil.”
“Wow, I had worried you guys,” Stiles said, biting his lip. He really needed to work on functioning like a person who took actual care of themselves and not whatever the hell he was doing.
Darcy stood and punched his shoulder. “Stop doing that,” she said, giving him a pointed look.
“Yes m’am,” Stiles winced, rubbing his arm. “That really hurt by the way.” When he looked at Scott for backup he found that Scott was beaming at her. Rude.
Darcy grinned smugly as she pulled Clint up and out the door. She was such a fantastic little shit. Stiles waited until he heard the elevator chime down the hallway.
“Were you worried? Like more than usual?” Stiles asked. He knew that Scott worried about him. To have Scott McCall in your life was to have his earnest, heart-felt concern. Sure, sometimes he’d get distracted. But if you really needed him, even when you didn’t realize it, he’d come over to your house and climb through your window if he thought he needed to check on you. He’d then give you a Reese cup if he thought that would help and cuddle you until you fell asleep. Such close contact had been hard to maintain, mostly falling to the wayside with college and distance making it hard.
Stiles not calling Scott back if it wasn’t urgent kind of put a damper on things too.
It’s just. Stiles kept overly busy for a reason. Scott couldn’t just Alpha the nightmares that kept Stiles up most nights away. He couldn’t make Stiles just stop overdoing everything when he was on the other side of the state at school, especially not if Stiles wouldn’t answer his phone because he didn’t want to hear how concerned Scott could be. As much as talking with Scott could ground Stiles, he seemed be at a loss soon after they’d hung up.
Stiles knew he’d been getting worse in terms of coping, but he hadn’t realized how bad until his best friend was across the kitchen island. Scott concerned and here because he wanted to make sure Stiles was going to be okay, because he had a plan.
“Over the summer, even though you’re back in Beacon Hills, you do better,” Scott started, pulling a stool over to set next to Stiles, right in his space, arms nearly touching.
“I guess,” Stiles shrugged, wary as to where Scott was going with this. No matter how careful, everything still felt so delicate.
“No, you do,” Scott said. “Even though it’s harder for you to hide. But here, you just shut us out and it’s like you put a hold on whatever progress you made over the summer. Almost like you are having more trouble than even in high school if the hours Jarvis said you keep are true.”
Stiles raked his fingers through his hair. “That’s not what I’m doing,” he said after a few moments. “I’m not back-sliding. I’m still trying to cope.”
“Lie.” Scott said, oh so gently, then sighed. “Look, we’re all pretty messed up about things still. And all because most of us look like we’re doing okay, doesn’t mean we are. It’s okay if you’re not fine Stiles. It’s okay to need help and ask for it instead of not answering your phone and doing coursework, or extra hours at the coffee shop, or the library, until you pass out.”
Stiles looked at Scott then. Scott’s face was open and so patient that all Stiles could think was he really got lucky by peeing on this dude’s sandcastle all those years ago.
“Okay,” Stiles licked his lips, bracing himself. “I’m not even remotely alright and I have no idea what to do about it.”
Scott smiled at him, proud. “Truth.”
“Don’t look so smug,” Stiles grumbled, bumping shoulders with him. “Get to the point of what you’re gonna say. I can tell when you’ve gotten together a plan. I always see it from a mile off.”
“So, Allison found this therapist who works with our kind of stuff,” Scott explained, eyes never wavering from Stiles’. “He does phone-work and he’s been helping her and Derek. And me.”
“I didn’t know that they--that you,” Stiles swallowed. “That you were actually. You know. Dealing with shit. I thought you were pretty okay. Shit. I’m a really shitty friend.”
“No you aren’t. Well, a little,” Scott allowed, smiling wryly, “Say shitty again.”
Scott placed his hand, firm, on the back of Stiles neck and gave a squeeze, grounding Stiles.
“Shitty,” Stiles parroted, rolling his eyes.
“I hadn’t realized how much I hadn’t dealt with, you know?” Scott said, earnest now. “And when Allison said that she’d been seeing someone. That Derek was actually doing therapy. I realized that maybe I should maybe talk to someone too.”
“But you’ve been fine,” Stiles said. Scott had been. Stiles would have noticed if his best friend wasn’t okay.
“Mostly. Lot of dad stuff for the most part,” Scott shrugged. “Nothing you could have just scowled away. Stuff that it took me awhile to be ready to talk about.”
“Being ready can be hard,” Stiles said carefully and Scott smiled, small and hopeful.
“You wouldn’t have been ready before,” he said, gently and oh so softly. “And if any of us had tried to make you get help, you’d have just hidden that much harder. Acted that much more like you were okay.” Scott’s thumb smoothed small circles against Stiles neck. “We love you and we want you to be okay when we’re far away, even if you’ve got superheroes to make you scones.”
“Hey this scones business was new to me,” Stiles protested. “But yeah. I hear you. Maybe I should make time to talk to someone about shit.”
“Good,” Scott smiled, hint of relief tucked into the corners of his eyes. “And if you don’t want to talk to who the rest of us are, I’m sure Darcy can put you in touch with someone through S.H.I.E.L.D. or whatever spooky doo spy organization she works for.”
“Oh god,” Stiles groaned. “You’ve like had a plan of attack and everything. How much did Lydia help you with this?”
Scott blushed and shoved at Stiles’ shoulder. “Shut up. Lydia doesn’t do all the planning when you’re busy.”
“Just most of it,” Stiles said.
“And Kira,” Scott joked, “while Derek frowns about the whole thing.”
“That sounds about right,” Stiles said, smiling, and felt for the first time in a long time that he wouldn’t change any moment in his life that got him to this point. Maybe even especially the bad.