The first bruise is from a playful shove delivered by Scott. It rests just underneath his last left rib, yellowing with time. The flesh there feels tender to his touch, even though it doesn't outright hurt.
When he takes his shirt off for lacrosse practice the first time after that he is self conscious. What if somebody notices? What if they bring it up? What if they tell his dad?
He strips, and changes, and laughs the nerves away with a lovestruck Scott. And nothing else happens.
And Stiles? Feels a little stupid for worrying himself sick over something so minuscule.
The second one is from Derek. It covers all his lower back, and it hurts like a bi... Like a mothertrucker. He contorts himself in front of the bathroom mirror to catch a glimpse of it and it looks a mess of angry violet, sickly green and yellow, and a little blue. It looks almost as bad as it hurts.
Really, if Derek doesn't mature overnight or grows a sense of humor or becomes a tolerant guy or something and stops freaking shoving him against things, it's gonna be the death of his lanky, wiry teenage self.
Lacrosse practice goes as always, however, nobody even staring twice at his injured back, or thinking twice before roughing him up in the field.
Well, it sucks a little more than most days. But he's a strong dude and all that.
Then comes the third one. And that one has 'Jackson is a jerk and has many, many anger management issues' written all over it. It looks as more of a... He doesn't know what, something more grotesque than a bruise. It covers almost the entire expanse of his arm. And it hurts. So. Freaking. Much.
So much that the first day he can't really move his arm without wincing pitifully and hissing under his breath. It's sheer luck that it was his left arm and not his right one and that nobody ever seems to pay attention.
How it happens? Well, he's not that sure. He remembers walking through the forest after a meeting at Derek's shallow excuse of a house with both Jackson and Scott (Lydia had stayed studying for a math test, under the guise of going shopping or whatever), cracking a joke about... What, really? It might've been about him, even. One of those meaningless self-deprecating jokes about being a pet to them or something.
Then, he remembers blacking out for a second or two and coming back to the feeling of his arm being crushed under Jackson's weight, and his 'just shut up for once, Stilinski'. And after that, Scott growling menacingly at Jackson for being a dick. And after that, Scott helping him to his feet.
He doesn't really get what happened. But he doesn't much care, either. Jackson had always been a dick and now he's a werewolf dick. That's all.
He doesn't do lacrosse practice for three days. Which sucks, but provides him with time to watch the entire Star Wars saga again.
'It's all cool' he thinks, while his arm heals slowly but securely.
Then he thinks 'not so much', because after his third absence from practice Danny comes to his house, fidgetting nervously but attempting to feign bravery.
Stiles would've found it endearing (he does kind of have a thing for Danny, when he's not busy crushing on the train wreck that is Lydia), had it not been for the first words that left his mind.
"If the sherrif's beating you up Stiles we can-"
That's as far as he gets before Stiles cracks up, completely losing his shit. Oh man, the thought of his dad ever laying a hand -or as much as his little pinky finger- on him, is just... what? What is the world coming up to? Never. Never ever. Not even when he'd been an unruly kid and given him every single reason to.
He promptly stops a minute later when Danny starts scowling at him. Which, wow, not scary at all after facing the Alpha and Scott and Jackson and Derek and Lydia that one time, but still wrong. Danny's never looked at him like that.
"Look Danny, I'm moved that you worry about me and all, but my dad? Is a big cuddly carebear. Loving man and dad and all that shiz. He'd never look at me the wrong way." A second's pause. "And, seriously, where did you get that idea from?"
Danny takes his left arm and pushes the sleeve of his shirt up until the bruises from Jackson can be seen as clear as day.
Oh. Oh, that's why.
"That's... I don't know what that is. I hadn't seen that 'till now. How weird, huh?" Shit, how can he still suck this much at keeping his mouth shut?
"I think we both know you suck at lying." Danny doesn't take his eyes from where they rest on the largest patch of color on his arm as he says that. The look on him makes Stiles' stomach turn unpleasantly. Maybe that's why a tiny piece of truth escapes him.
"It wasn't my father, dude. God, no, he would never. It was Jackson." Before he can conclude with a reassuring and admitedly stupid (and mostly also a lie) 'but it's all under control', Danny is frowning and leaving him to stand alone under the treshold, with only one crazy idea of where he could be going.
"Danny? Danny!" He shouts out, to no avail, to the other teen's retreating back.
'Yeah, oops' his mind supplies the next day at school, when Jackson comes barreling down the corridor, eyes firmly locked on his and blazing blue, hands in white fists. So, pretty much oops. Oops all the way, oops forever, oops from the soul.
Where the hell is Scott right now, anyway? Isn't it his best friend duty to save Stiles from certain death under the claws of an enraged beast? Isn't that like an unbreakable rule in the werewolf best friend handbook or something?
"Stilinski." Jackson looks livid, a snarling mess of newly turned werewolf and teenage hormones, and Stiles thinks dearfreakinggod what if he shifts, how will I explain that?
But Jackson doesn't. Jackson stops right in front of him (Stiles backs up against the cold metallic hardness of his locker), looks him right in the eye for what seems like an eternity, as if he were searching for something, and then-
"Show me your arm." He says, and it comes out forceful, but somehow... choked.
"Jackson, dude, you know I am my own man and won't suddenly obey your every command because you've developed a case of the furries, right? Even if you do ocasionally scare the crap out of me." His mouth spits out, without consent from his brain. Which, okay, occurs to him all the time so it isn't remotely surprising (he's pretty sure his lack of a brain to mouth filter will be the death of him sooner or later). What is surprising is the heartfelt whine that Jackson lets out after that; it's a low enough sound that the other people going around don't stop and stare at them more than they are already doing, but loud enough for his very human ears to pick up on.
What makes his mouth hang open for a few seconds in a cartoonish manner, however, is the pitiful 'please' that Jackson drops after, looking at him with moist, sad eyes.
"Okay, okay. " He relents, feeling awkward about the sudden display of emotion. "But not here. Later, after class."
The bell rings, a shrill validating signal.
"That's..." Jackson's voice sounds off, small, fragile. A quiet gasp, practically. Completely unlike Jackson's usual voice. Stiles fidgets, wanting to cover his arm up again. Having to pay attention to his fading bruises makes him feel... Strange. Ish.
(Weak, he doesn't want to say. Powerless, even.)
Jackson moves his hand, reaching out to the healing skin.
"Dude, that's a sensitive area right now, so no touching."
Jackson's hand drops instantly.
"I'm sorry." The words sound strained, stretched thin over his guilt; it oozes out of him, the guilt, Stiles doesn't need a werenose or a wereanything to smell it, sense it, see it. That thought makes him uncomfortable.
What makes the moment ten thousand times more uncomfortable is how Jackson holds his hands behind his back and reclines himself until he can lick over the worst of the green-yellow patches on his skin.
Licking. And Jackson. In the same sentence. As in 'Jackson licking his arm'.
Oh God. Oh dear merciful God, Stiles is so not ready for this to be his life.