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Possible Still

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Possible Still

Stiles gets very good at putting himself back together. He learns which cuts just need butterfly bandages and which need actual stitches and he knows to keep a needle threaded because trying to get everything ready when you're shaking from blood loss is fucking hard. (Not impossible though, he learns that too. There's not much that is impossible when you don't have any other options.)

He had already mastered dry swallowing pills years before with his Adderall but the liquid Advil he starts using is a different shape, bigger, harder to get down, especially when his throat is bruised or sore. He manages.

He has to. Scott isn't there to take his pain anymore.

He also knows to stuff a rag in his mouth before he starts. It’s more gentle on his teeth and keeps the sounds from making the headache worse.

*^*^*^

He starts with the doctors.

Don’t worry about finding Lydia and Malia, Scott tells him. And Stiles has always known what Scott is really saying when he talks. Don't help us. Don't try. Go away.

Scott really should have remembered that Stiles has never been good at following orders. At least, not those kind.

So Stiles isn't in the pack anymore. He knows that. He accepts that.

He uses it to his advantage. Because in Scott's pack, there are rules and guidelines, and a chain of command, and maybe Stiles has always been better off without them.

So he starts with the doctors.

(He would probably start with Theo, but the doctors have already taken care of him. And with his death, Stiles realizes it doesn’t matter if Scott knows that Theo killed the chimera on the roof - Josh? Jonathan? He can’t remember. Anyway, it doesn’t change the fact that Stiles had killed Donovan. That to Scott that was unacceptable.)

Scott defeats them, as always, and manages not to kill them. Manages to make it so that the fluid of the supernatural that they have been using to extend their life will now do the opposite. The doctors are old, scarred men again, unwelcome anywhere near Beacon Hills and that should be the end of it.

Stiles finds them after three days. He also finds the books that they had managed to salvage, their research that shows their plans to rebuild, that, to them, the promise of immortality and power is worth risking the wrath of Scott McCall. He finds the proof that they were never going to stop.

Of course, he only finds it after.

Maybe a part of him knew. Hopefully.

*^*^*^

It should stop after the doctors but it doesn't.

He knows what Scott wants. Scott wants peace and happiness and for Liam to get the girl and Kira to come back and Scott wants normal. Always has.

So Stiles will give him that.

He trades his hours of videos games for researching and stops playing lacrosse in favor of training, starts spending his college fund on weapons and lessons and information.

It's surprisingly easy to hide. The pack has rightfully followed Scott and he and Malia break up without ever having to say the words. He avoids Lydia's concerned glances and Mason's fumbled questions. He makes a point to look away quickly when he dares to make sure Liam and Hayden are still happy.

Even his dad is too easy to fool. They've entered a cautious truce, not unlike when his mom died. They both pretend they are okay and his dad works too many shifts and they don't talk, not really. It's nothing Stiles hasn't lived through before.

The only difference is that this time, Stiles isn't at Scott's house.

He is hiking through the woods of Beacon Hills to take out dark wood imps and prowling through the abandoned parts of the city to fight with ghouls and he spends a day captured by a wendigo but the thing is young and stupid and he makes it home by curfew.

*^*^*^

After about a month, it gets to be too much. Not for him, no, he’s never needed much sleep and he thinks his grades in the previous three years of high school are good enough that he isn’t in danger of not graduating (though, he should check on that. He will. Sometime.) and he doesn’t miss that much school anyway, he only has to redirect calls from the school once or twice.

It gets to be too much for his room.

His dad doesn’t know the details but he does think Stiles is out of the supernatural world and so his glass board has to remain empty and all his notes have to be carefully packed away into his desk. He loses research and misses clues and he’s going too slowly. If he doesn’t stay ahead of the threat, Scott will have to deal with it.

He needs a homebase. Somewhere he can spread out and work without fear of being interrupted. Somewhere he doesn’t have to keep meticulously clean of blood. .

(Somewhere he won’t jump with something like hope every time the doorbell rings or the tree outside his window taps against the glass.)

In the end, the solution comes to him while he’s on a case. He’s stalking what he thinks is a pack of new-age harpies and it’s led him to a once-familiar area of town and-

Derek’s loft, he realizes as he limps past the old building. He doesn’t have time to stop then, too busy trying to get back to the Jeep and make it home to grab a few hours of sleep before school but-

He sets up that weekend.

He gets Wifi up first, then a printer and a pane of glass and markers and he doesn’t bother turning on the air conditioning or heat, but he starts paying for the water. He fills the bathroom with soap and bandages and medicine and puts a mat down in the tub so he won’t slip when he stumbles in. He keeps bleach on hand to try to combat the stains, but it’s a relief to know that he doesn’t have to bother hiding much.

He plugs the fridge in again and fills it with the necessities. Orange juice and energy drinks and whatever take out meal that takes him three days to eat. He keeps his weapons in the cabinets where pots are supposed to go.

The rest is work.

The current case goes in the living room, finished ones pile up in evidence boxes in Isaac’s old room. It’s strange to cross the threshold at first, but eventually he needs another section and he can’t make himself go in Peter’s room so…

Rumors go in Derek’s room. He lines the walls with bits of relevant research and theories that he has but can’t test yet and he doesn’t bother with the string in there because it would just be piles and piles of red.

He falls asleep in there a lot. He never means to, but eventually his legs won’t hold him anymore and so he stares around the room, trying to see the threats that will rise, trying to cut them off at the bud, trying, trying to give Scott what he wants. Peace. Happiness. Normal.

He stares at the walls and passes out and-

Sometimes he thinks the worst thing about all of this is that there is no good excuse to not be in his own bed. He can no longer claim that he is sleeping over at Scott’s or that they’ve fallen asleep playing Mario Kart or that he has to be out helping Liam control the shift. His dad knows he should be home.

So the last thing he buys for the loft is an alarm clock. He sets it for 4AM just in case.

And it’s done.

Derek’s loft used to be pack headquarters and Stiles isn’t pack. Not anymore.

But the loft is his headquarters.

He can't decide if he loves it or hates it. Not that it matters.

*^*^*^

School is awkward.

He and Scott have three classes together - English, Government, and Math Powered Flight (aka the math for kids who didn't want to take math anymore). Obviously by senior year, teachers rarely bother to assign seats but that just makes it all the more awkward when Stiles has to randomly kick some kid out of his usual seat in the back and bump him up to the second row with Scott.

It makes their falling out very public. So does Stiles’ sudden complete silence in gov class. Still, the random deaths have stopped, Scott is leading the lacrosse team to a winning season, and it probably is nice to have a few classes free from Stiles’ usual sarcasm.

So, there are a few weeks of half hearted rumors and then it dies down. A silent Stiles is the new normal. Which works for him. He can barely pretend to care about classes as it is. He's too busy. There are myths to research and ghosts to hunt down and he's tired - so fucking tired - that he thinks the teachers should be grateful he bothered to drag himself in at all.

He has to keep the pack safe. He doesn't have time for wind vectors or analyzing short stories for syntax or debates on the morals of a community.

(He’s found that the problem with a community - especially a “moral” one - is that someone has to protect it. Even if that means they can't be a part of it anymore.)

He and Scott carefully don't interact. Scott had never told his dad from what Stiles can tell and it's unclear how much the rest of the pack knows. He supposes that's the best he could have hoped for. A clean break. No police involved, no drawn out explanations, no hatred, no nothing really. Just a break. No talking. Like they never were.

Which is why it's surprising when he closes his locker (he's out of Advil and that sucks but it's fine. It's all fine.) and Scott McCall is standing there, staring at a point slightly beyond Stiles left ear.

He tells himself his heart doesn't start beating faster, he's not excited, he's not.

"Um. Hi," Scott says, eyes flickering to Stiles chest but still not meeting his eyes

"Hey," Stiles says, angling his face towards the locker. There's a fading bruise across the bottom of his chin. It's probably too faint for Scott to see but there was a time when Scott would notice every discoloring of Stiles' skin - the red blush of embarrassment when Scott said something too sincere, the darkness around his eyes when he had been working too hard, the -

"Do you," Stiles starts and then has to stop and clear his throat. "Do you need something?"

It should sound like a rude question but his desperation makes it sincere.

He's still waiting. For the answer to the question he asked five weeks ago what do you want me to do? Just tell me how to fix this, alright? Please, just tell me-

"Ms. Kramer says you haven't turned in your English paper yet," Scott says and there's a hint of question or maybe judgment in his voice. The paper had been due last week. "She asked me to remind you."

"Oh," Stiles replies, feeling his heart sink. He had thought - "Right, right, yeah. I just -uh- forgot."

"You should be turning in your work," Scott says, almost frowning. "First semester senior year still counts."

"Yeah," Stiles agrees quickly, even though he hasn’t bothered applying to any colleges yet. "Okay, yeah, I will."

 

He’s lying, of course, and Scott must be able to tell (or maybe he just assumes) because Scott’s almost frown dips into reality.

“Stiles,” he says and the concern in Scott’s voice makes Stiles ache. Though, he shouldn’t get excited. It’s just the concern that Scott has for every student, every person in Beacon Hills. It’s what makes him a True Alpha. “I know we - you - School is important.”

It’s not an order. Not even a suggestion. Not the answer he’s been waiting for but Stiles takes it to heart anyway.

In Scott’s pack, school is important.

Okay. He can do that.

*^*^*^

He turns in his English paper the next day. He has to pop three Adderall to get it done and then rides that through a bout of researching that lasts more than half the night.

He goes into school unshowered, groggy, and exhausted and he slurs out some excuse that he thought he had turned it in already to Ms. Kramer that he knows she doesn’t believe. It’s not his best work. Not even good work but it is finished and Scott sees him turn it in so that’s… that’s good.

He keeps at it. He adds schoolwork to his list of things to do and misses some due dates and pops more and more Adderall when he has to and takes to buying bananas because he can usually remember to force himself to eat one of those.

The last week of the month is a disaster because you aren’t supposed to just quit Adderall cold turkey and Stiles doesn’t even have enough left to cut the pills in half and limp by.

Never again, he tells himself as he sinks to the couch, too dizzy to keep on his feet. He’s weak and foggy and sad or mad by turns and- Not worth it.

He keeps that promise until there’s a rash of unexplained tracks in the woods and he needs to figure out what they are. It turns out they’re nothing, just a pack of nymphs that are completely peaceful even as Stiles tries every insult just to test it. Then there’s a government paper he needs to write and another theory on the nemeton and-

Well, maybe he can convince the doctor to up his dosage for some reason.

*^*^*^

At the end of month two, Stiles has run out of Adderall again, so he’s fighting off a headache at the same time he’s fighting off three gnomes of the non-garden variety. And that’s when he gets hurt.

Well, more hurt than usual.

Hurt enough that he passes out while still in the woods and only wakes when it starts raining. The blood along his shoulder has formed a sticky mass across his chest and it’s too numb to feel but he thinks his ankle is twisted, if not broken, but his main concern is the gash across his head. It’s almost along his hairline, but not quite and he worries about it as he limps home.

It’s too obvious. There will be no hiding a gash like that from his father or Scott or anyone else.

There will be questions. Questions with no answers, or at least, not with answers he can give and-

The solution comes to him in the shower, as he leans heavily on the wall and contemplates how he is going to lift his arm to scrub the mud off the other side of his body.

It’s not a good solution but it will work.

He doesn’t make it to Derek’s room so he passes out on the couch, still turning the idea over in his mind.

*^*^*^

“A fight,” his dad says as they exit the school. He sounds half-incredulous, half-utterly disappointed.

Stiles doesn’t say anything, can’t really because he’s focusing on getting to the car without vomiting or maybe passing out.

Getting into a fight to cover the gash on his head had not been his best idea.

He can’t help but be a little bit proud though. It had not been easy to pull off. Turns out it’s not so easy to convince people to fight you when you’re a senior, your muscles from weeks of training actually fill out your shirt a little (even if your face is too thin, almost skeletal), and you are already covered in bruises.

(It also probably doesn’t help that once you were Scott McCall’s best friend and it’s unclear what happened, but people don’t mess with Scott McCall’s friends. Not because Scott McCall will fight you, but because… why would you mess with Scott McCall’s friends?)

So, it had taken a bit of work. The lacrosse team was out completely, as were the kids who had any classes with Scott, and, in the end, it had taken some very pointed insults at some Juniors on the football team to finally get hit.

Of all the times Stiles has been beaten up, this is probably the most he’s ever deserved it.

“Seriously, Stiles,” his dad continues and Stiles blinks and refocuses. He may have missed the first half of this lecture. “It’s my one day off this week and you-”

He stops and Stiles flushes. He hadn’t to ruin this day for his dad. He hadn’t meant to involve the school at all. They were supposed to provide a good excuse and nothing more. Something so that his dad or teachers (or maybe Scott) wouldn’t ask any questions. An excuse to move slowly for a while.

“I’m sorry,” Stiles mumbles into his father’s disappointed silence.

“Sorry?” his dad says. “You’re lucky they didn’t suspend you! After what those boys claimed you said to them…”

Stiles almost winces. Keying a car would have been easier but he’d taken too long getting to school this morning and this had to be done before second period Government with Scott.

“Sorry,” he repeats.

“What were you-” his dad pauses as he opens his car door and stares across the top at Stiles. Stiles doesn’t have to pretend to focus on his door. It really does take all his concentration. He’s seeing double and every moment sends stabbing pain through his shoulder and. “Stiles.”

Stiles does flinch this time. He knows that tone of voice. His dad uses it often. On suspects.

“What is going on?”

They aren’t supposed to have this conversation. His dad is supposed to be too busy and no one is supposed to care and the whole point of this is that no one else has to worry.

“Nothing,” he says, remembering to shrug only one shoulder. “Nothing, I just… they’re just jerks.”

“I agree,” his dad replies. “They never should have hit you. But, Stiles… they said you just came out of nowhere and started insulting them. Why would you do that?”

Stiles doesn’t answer. There isn’t an answer.

“There has to be a reason,” his dad pushes. “Just- just tell me the reason, kiddo. I’ll believe you.”

Stiles doesn’t take his eyes off the hood of the car. He tries to come up with a good lie but his brain is working too slowly and a part of him knows that his dad wouldn’t believe him anyway. Not after Stiles didn’t even try to defend himself in the meeting with the principal. Not when Stiles said that the two boys shouldn’t be suspended.

So he just stands there, risking raising his shoulders in another shrug and he feels the moment when his father gives up. He doesn’t wait for confirmation, just fumbles his door open.

His dad sighs, loud enough that Stiles can hear it as he sinks into the seat of the car, and then the blanket of silence falls over them again.

*^*^*^

The problem with not getting suspended is that it means he has to go to school the next day. His dad even drives him, pressing Advil into his palm as if Stiles didn’t have stashes of it in his bookbag and locker already.

A wave of stares and silence greets him, no matter how far he keeps his head down. It’s not far enough to hide the gash along his temple or the black surrounding his eye and maybe no one had believed Josh and Aaron’s claims that some of the bruises were already there but they did believe that Stiles was the one who provoked them in the first place.

He’s crazy, the whispers floated down the hallway. He’s like a freak or something.

The insults aren’t new, not for a kid who was born talking too much and too fast and who never managed to sit still, but the hint of fear in them is a new addition.

Doesn’t matter, he tells himself. These kids don’t matter. None of it matters. As long as everyone is safe and the pack is together and Scott is happy, then it’s all okay.

The rumors will die down in a few weeks anyway. Stiles will be more careful, he’ll train harder and he won’t let himself get hurt again and this won’t be necessary. Or he’ll come up with a better excuse. This wasn’t his best idea. This was one of his ideas that someone - (Scott, it used to be Scott) - should have stopped before it ever began.

Whatever. He limps down the hallway slowly, focused on getting to his locker and shoving his bookbag inside since there’s no way he’s carrying this thing around all day. He’ll rip out some paper and a pen so he can look like he’s paying attention. Maybe he can try to figure out how to track down non-garden gnomes or-

Scott McCall is standing at his locker.

He’s fiddling with his own bookbag straps in a way that used to mean he was nervous, but now it could mean anything - impatience maybe, or anger or-

Stiles hesitates in his awkward limp shuffle and considers just going to his first period class. But then Scott looks up and directly at him, like he knew Stiles was close by (which, with his freakish Alpha powers, he probably did).

“I turned in Mrs. Kramer’s reading survey,” he says, hoping against hope that that’s all this is. Just Scott being stuck as errand boy again since some teachers still don’t get that they aren’t friends anymore, aren’t anything anymore.

“No, that’s,” Scott starts and Stiles isn’t looking exactly, but he feels Scott’s gaze scorch across his battered face. Scott makes a sound that’s almost an aborted whimper. “I mean, I- I heard about… what happened.”

“Oh,” Stiles replies, even though he’s not surprised. Doubtless, the whole school has heard about the fight by now. He just doesn’t quite get what Scott is doing here. “Well, uh, don’t worry. It’s not a big deal.”

At least he knows his heartbeat remains steady for that one. Because for the first time in forever, he’s telling Scott the truth.

“Not a big deal?” Scott says. “Stiles you look- your forehead.”

Scott is already reaching for him and Stiles knows without a doubt that no matter what happened between them, Scott will try to take his pain. Because that’s who Scott is. Who Scott has always been and who he always will be.

Stiles shrinks back. He can’t have Scott touching him. No quick high school fight could account for the deep bruises along his ribs, or his wrenched shoulder, or the ankle that he’s now twisted four times that he’s not sure is healing properly.

“It’s fine,” he says. “It’s fine. I- I-”

Well, as long as he’s telling the truth.

“I deserved it, so…” Another carefully slow shrug. “It doesn’t matter.”

Scott’s silence means that he had heard the story. He knew that Stiles had come out of the gate swinging with insults about their grades and weight and taunts about being scared. He hadn’t thrown the first punch (couldn’t really, with his shoulder) but he’d gotten in their space and-

“But… why?”

Stiles doesn’t say anything. People have to stop asking him questions. Not when they won’t even believe the answers. He just turns and opens his locker, hoping for the first time in his life, that if he ignores Scott, the other boy will just go away.

“Stiles, is it… do you think it’s something, you know, supernatural?”

There’s an air of fear behind the word, fear and more than a little meaning and-

The Nogitsune. Scott thinks it’s the Nogitsune.

“No,” Stiles says, unsure if the thought makes him want to laugh or cry. Christ, Scott probably wishes it was the Nogistune. Wishes that there was a reason for Donovan’s murder, wishes it was something he could fix.

It’s just Stiles though.

There’s no fixing it.

“No, Scott,” he repeats again, more firmly this time. He had known Scott wouldn’t approve of killing Donovan (even in self-defense) but… he hadn’t thought.

“They just caught me in a bad mood,” he says, softer because he’s tired. He wants this conversation to be over. “That’s it.”

“So it is true?” Scott sounds almost shocked. “You- you started it?”

And there’s the disappointment. God, Scott knew Stiles killed someone and he still sounds disappointed that he’d insulted a couple of juniors.

“Look, just,” Stiles says, going to wave his hand and then stopping when just the thought of movement hurts. The spike of pain through his body turns into anger. “Just leave me alone, Scott. You already made it perfectly clear what you think of me and what I did so…”

He shoves his bookbag in his locker. Or tries to. His hands are shaking too hard and Scott reaches over and helps him and Stiles can’t decide if that makes him want to shout more or burst into tears.

“Stiles,” Scott says, hand still half in Stiles’ locker. “I told you, I want to believe, I just… you’re not even sorry?”

This is the wrong place for this. It’s the wrong place and the wrong time and Stiles is in so much pain he can barely think and why now? Why did Scott have to push this now?

Fine,” he snaps. “You want me to say it? I’m sorry. I’m sorry I went back to the library to try to research more about the doctors going around killing people and I’m sorry the kid who was a fucking psychopath before he became a chimera came after me, and I’m sorry I pulled that particular pin that caused the scaffolding to collapse and I’m so-”

He cuts himself off abruptly because the image flashes before him - Donovan, looking oddly human in death, speared through, blood spreading across his chest and dripping onto the library floor and he knows he felt relief when it happened, but he can’t remember that anymore, can only recall the way Donovan’s eyes had been open and how scared he looked and good, good, good, he’d thought it was good and Scott is right, he isn’t sorry, not like he should be and-

“Nevermind,” he gasps. It’s too much. He’s going to have a panic attack if he keeps thinking about this. “Forget it. Leave me alone.”

“Scaffolding?” Scott repeats, almost like a question but Stiles can feel his breath quickening and he doesn’t even know what the fuck Scott is asking. What, does he want a fucking play by play right now?

“Don’t,” he snarls. “I’m not- don’t- I’m not your pack anymore.”

It’s the first time he’s ever admitted that aloud. And it’s not that he hadn’t realized it before (he had realized it the first night, when he drove away and the car broke down and there was no one to pick him up and no where to go and he just sat and repeated it over and over while willing it not to be true), but it still-

“Fuck off,” he growls.

Because it still hurts and he has to get out of here.

So he turns and walks away more quickly than he should, ignoring the pain of his ankle, and he makes himself go straight to class and sit and list out everything he knows about gnomes.

He’ll go after them again in a few days. Maybe sooner.

*^*^*^

Scott is the one who skips school for the next two days and Stiles tells himself he isn’t worried, but then drags himself over to Scott’s house anyway.

Scott is fine. He’s sitting at the kitchen table, talking to his mother, and he doesn’t look happy - there’s the hint of a frown around the edges of his mouth that shouldn’t be there - but he’s okay. He’s safe and as Stiles watches, Mrs. McCall says something that seems to relax him.

Stiles stares for longer than he means to. Stares and longs and then turns and limps away.

*^*^*^

The weeks after the gnomes and his “fight” at school pass quickly. And easily. He researches and pushes himself for a week before going after them, only to find that they’ve cleared out on their own.

Then, it’s almost calm. There’s a pack of sprites that turns up on the edge of the woods, but even Stiles knows you don’t have to kill them, merely prove you can find them and it’s all night hike through the woods to find the nest, but it’s not dangerous.

He does more research into the Nemeton and drives a few hours away to attend an jiu jitsu class when he can’t quite figure out a certain move based on youtube videos, but it’s still…

He’s not sure he likes it.

Without a threat to go after, there’s too much time to sit and think and miss. There’s too much time to wonder what Scott and the others are up to and think about how different his life was three months ago.

Without exhaustion, going to sleep is nearly impossible.

It’s a relief when another wendigo shows up. It’s a relief when Stiles has to spend two days at the loft, researching the old sewer system of Beacon Hills and it’s a relief when he gets to go after it.

(It’s also a relief when the wendigo gets the upper hand twice in the fight and Stiles has the slash across his shoulder and the bruise surrounding his knee to prove it, but he doesn’t admit that. Not even to himself.)

Still, it’s easy. Three weeks slide by, useless and uneventful and all he can really saw for them is that at least Scott seems to be listening to his request to leave him alone.

The cuts along his shoulder have scabbed over and started to itch and Stiles is only limping slightly from his knee and that’s all he’s really focused on when it happens.

Well, that and the fact that he’s pretty sure he forgot to eat again because he keeps forgetting to do that.

He’s walking from the loft to his car, trying to psyche himself up to at least eat a bowl of oatmeal when he gets home, when suddenly something leaps on his back.

He jerks his elbow back, biting down on a shout of surprise because it would just be a waste of breath (there’s no one to call, no one coming, have to keep the civilians away) but then there’s another something wrapping around his legs, biting, and his shoulder wound is reopening and then something hits him around across the back of his head- once, twice-

And the world goes black.

*^*^*^

Despite the hits to the head, he’s not groggy when he wakes up.

No, he knows instantly he’s in trouble.

His hands are tied above his head (rope, not chains, that’s good, he can work with that, maybe) and there’s blood running down his hairline, into his eye, and then dripping off his chin into a growing pool on the ground. He’s not wearing shoes or a shirt.

His shoulder is bleeding again too and there are cuts along his chest but he decides not to bother cataloging them. Not worth it.

“Well, well,” a voice says and Stiles focuses on jerking his head up so he can see. “Finally awake again?”

Again?

Maybe the head wound was worse than he thought. Because as his eyes finally focus on the small, elderly woman in front of him, he is quite positive he’s never seen her before.

“Are you ready to answer some questions now, Emissary?”

There’s something like a mocking hiss to her left. He flicks his eyes over. Another woman, this one younger but only just.

He doesn’t bother answering. He’s also not sure he can so that works out.

He forces himself to stand up straight and start picking at the ropes. Slowly. Carefully. They can’t see.

“Oh, no, no, no,” another croons from the opposite corner of the room and suddenly there’s a flash of heat along his side and he chokes back on a scream.

Witches, his mind supplies as the ladies cackle around him.

“No tricks,” the leader hisses, stepping forward. “No tricks, little emissary.”

He’s still panting from the pain but he needs something to go off so,

“Emissary?” he asks. He’s not an emissary. He’s not Deaton. He can’t do any magic and doesn’t know everything and he’s not important.

“We know what you are,” the witch says, grabbing his chin from where it has fallen and yanking up. “Emissary of the McCall Pack.”

Stiles blinks, then groans as she shoves her fingers into a bruise along his hip.

“Not emissary,” he tries. “You’re wron’.”

They all laugh then. It’s a laughter of amusement and maybe anger and part way through an unseen something cuts along his collarbone.

“‘m not,” he insists when he can breath again. Scott can’t be involved. Can’t know. Has to stay away. “Not pack. Not- Mc...Call.”

He’s not. Not pack. Not pack.

“Lies, lies, lies,” the witch snaps. “You keep saying lies.”

Ah, so he had tried to explain this before. Maybe he if keeps saying it, they’ll believe him.

Yeah, and maybe if he taps his heels three times, he’ll magically be back in his room and this will all have been a crazy nightmare.

“Not lyin’,” he tries anyway, because what else is there to do? “Not pack.”

“We’ll see,” the witch says. “We’ll see how long your Alpha takes to find his emissary.”

“Not… my Alpha,” Stiles insists.

She hits him.

The world goes dark again.

*^*^*^*^

Witches are not like werewolves, Stiles learns.

Their eyes stay only one color and they don’t seem to mind the smell of blood or other bodily fluids and when Stiles manages to thrust his head forward into one of their noses, he learns they don’t heal like werewolves either.

They also can’t hear heartbeats.

Otherwise, they would have heard that he wasn’t lying - not once - when he kept trying to tell them over and over: I’m not pack. I don’t have an Alpha. Not McCall.

No one is coming for me.

They can’t hear heartbeats. They think if they hurt him enough Scott will come.

As the day drags on in bits and flashes, he keeps telling them anyway.

No one is coming.

*^*^*^

It sounds silly, but Stiles didn’t think he would be so scared.

He thought he would be fine with this, thought he had already made his peace with the fact that a human on their own can’t last long in the supernatural world, even managed to convince himself that his father would probably be better off with out him.

It’s not like this is his first time. He’d accepted it when Scott first turned and he decided to stay in the room anyway. He’d accepted it when Scott stood in a pool of gasoline with a burning flare and Stiles had decided to step in with him. He’d accepted it when staring down the muzzle of a gun and deciding No, no, I will not tell you anything and he’d kept accepting it since.

And, really, he’d thought he’d done more than accept it these past three months. When Scott turned away and left him in the rain, Tell me what you want me to do still ringing in the air, he’d thought he’d stopped caring.

Apparently not.

Because, now, he’s cold and hurt and he keeps having to remind himself to work at the ropes at his hands and he’s…

He’s fading away and all he can think about is how long it’s going to take them to find his body.

He wonders when they’ll bother to start looking.

*^*^*^

“They’re coming,” the witch tells him as Stiles blinks at her. He thinks it’s still only been a day - maybe twenty four hours - and he knows he should just give up, especially since his lip is swollen now, swollen and constantly filled with blood and-

“No one’s comin’,” he mumbles anyway. “Not pack.”

He’s not pack. No one is coming.

Thank god. There are five witches from what he’s counted, all strong despite (or because of?) their age and if no one comes to save him, then no one will get hurt. He still hasn’t managed to figure out what the witches actually want but he pulls at his wrists to stand straighter and-

“Not. Pack.”

“They’re coming,” she repeats, her eyes darting around the room, almost warily as the others shift back and forth, hands starting to form patterns in the air, and Stiles doesn’t know what has them so distracted, but the fear settles in his stomach into determination and he resumes worrying at the ropes. He can’t feel his hands, can’t really know if he’s cutting into them as he tries to get the ropes, but he can’t worry about that now.

He must have been doing more work than he thought because as the main witch orders the others to fan out and watch the doors, he feels his left hand slide out. At least, his arm suddenly drops and he stares at it in surprise for just a moment before forcing it back up.

He has to get the other out, has to get out, has to-

His second hand is suddenly free and he can’t stop a gasp of pain as he brings it down and he sees the witch register the noise and so he doesn’t hesitate.

He leaps for her - well, stumbles - and grabs her and manages to cause her to fall to the ground when he is flung off and-

And that’s when all hell breaks loose.

There is a roar from the doorway and an answering howl from behind him and-

It’s been almost three months since Stiles saw Scott and Liam’s shifted forms but that doesn’t mean he’s forgotten what they look like. Lydia is there too- red hair flying as she somehow blasts the witches away from her (and when did she learn to do that?) and Kira is leaping over the witches, katana flashing and Malia is just as deadly with only her claws.

For a long moment, all he can do is stare, not fully convinced this is real, but then two of them corner Liam and he hears the concerned rumble Scott gives off as he tries to fight his ways towards them and the witches hadn’t searched him thoroughly, hadn’t found the knife he keeps stashed in his back pocket. The surge of adrenaline hits him then and he stands and… well, it’s not a leap but he jumps and sends the knife flying towards her anyway.

He goes for the jugular instinctively and it’s only as he’s arching the knife towards her neck that he remembers.

Scott’s here. Scott doesn’t allow killing.

He tries, he does, but months of training can’t be undone in a millisecond and so even though he tries to miss, he nicks the vein anyway. It’s not severed completely but her last act is to send Stiles flying into the wall and he can’t get up and Liam turns his attention to the other one and-

She dies quickly. Her body crumbles into dust but there’s still the spray of blood on the ground where it happened.

She dies and that’s just another person Stiles has killed.

Except this time he did it in front of Scott.

He’s still holding the knife. He considers throwing it away but then doesn’t bother. He’s not sure he could get his arm to lift anyway. His body hurts and he knows without looking that at least two of the gashes across his torso need stitches and he needs to shower somehow and then get home so his dad doesn’t find out and he never did manage to eat any food, so maybe some of his blurred vision is from that rather than the repeated hits to the head and-

He sits and pants and tries to keep breathing as the rest of the fight flashes in bits and pieces before his eyes.

He might actually pass out for parts of it.

Regardless, a thud wakes him - or forces him to start paying attention - and he looks up to find that it’s over.

Everyone is panting, wounds still midway through stitching themselves up and Stiles starts the process of pushing himself to his feet while Scott is distracted by raking his eyes over each member of the pack and making sure they’re okay.

Aside from the low murmurs of confirmation, it is silent. Stiles bites down on his lip hard as he straightens to keep it that way. He keeps one hand on the wall too. He’s not sure his right leg will take his weight.

Maybe once they leave, he’ll sit back down and just rest here for a while.

He feels when Scott’s gaze hits him. He doesn’t know where his shirt is, but he tries to use the back of his hand to wipe away the blood on his face anyway. A bruise wraps around his wrist. He’s still holding the knife.

He doesn’t drop it.

“I’ll see you guys later,” Scott announces into the silence and it’s a clear dismissal. He speaks softly and slowly and there’s no doubt in anyone’s mind that it is an order that will be obeyed. Even Lydia purses her lips but goes, casually pulling Kira over to check on a healing wound on her wrist as she does so.

And then it’s just them.

Stiles had been keeping his eyes on the ground and he’s still angled away from Scott, but he forces them up finally.

Scott is staring at him and there’s blood across his cheekbone and his shirt is ripped and he’s already healed but he still had been hurt and-

“I’m sorry,” Stiles offers, feeling his heart start to beat too loudly. This is his fault. He dragged Scott back into this and he’d been trying- trying - so hard to keep Scott safe but he can’t even do that right and- “That you had to come.”

His eyes flick to the spray of blood and pile of dust on the ground.

“And about-” he waves his hand in the general area and then gasps and presses it back to his side when something reopens. “Just- sorry.”

He doesn’t bother looking at Scott’s face again. He won’t be able to decipher it anyway.

Okay. Okay, he can do this. He just needs to find his shoes - or, no, that’s not important - but maybe his shirt? Or his keys?

He needs to figure out where he is. That’s what he needs to do. That’s always step one. Then get to the loft, then shower and stitches - maybe come up with a lie to tell his dad so he can crash for at least twenty four hours.

Oh, excuse for his face. He’s going to need an excuse for his face.

Someone comes toward him and he flinches closer to the wall.

Scott.

Scott is still here.

“Sorry,” Stiles says again. Maybe Scott had missed it the first time? “Sorry, you can- you can go. I’m okay.”

Scott doesn’t seem to be moving. He’ll have to prove it. He takes a deep breath and prepares to step away from the wall and-

“Stiles.”

Scott’s voice is soft and it’s not sad, not exactly, it’s…

It’s heartbroken.

Stiles doesn’t know how to handle that. Doesn’t know what it means. Can’t think about it right now.

“I’m okay,” he repeats dumbly, shaking his head as Scott steps closer. “I’m- you don’t-”

You don’t have to stay. You don’t have to help.

Scott ignores him.

“Stiles, please.”

Stiles stops trying to force himself off the wall. But it’s only to stay very still, head cocked downward, tense.

“Don’t,” he says. Or begs.

He can’t do this. If he accepts Scott’s help now, because Scott is there and feels bad and Stiles is oh so close to being broken, then he will remember this. Will remember how it is when Scott is there and things are better and he can’t remember that. He won’t be able to go back to life without it and so he needs-

If this is a one time thing, he needs it to never happen.

He can’t do it.

“Don’t.”

Scott is still coming closer. If Scott touches him, it’ll be over. He’ll collapse and Scott will catch him because that’s what Scott does and Stiles can’t let himself need that. Not again. Not anymore.

“I killed one,” he tries. Maybe Scott hadn’t seen. He offers up his knife as evidence. “Scott, don’t.”

“It’s okay,” Scott says, but he stops moving. “Stiles, it’s okay. You can put the knife down.”

No he can’t. If he puts the knife down, he won’t have anything and he’s not safe, not anymore, not ever and-

His hand is shaking. It’s bloody and shaking and-

“I’m okay.”

He is, isn’t he? He’s alive and he’s at least standing and his shoes must be around here somewhere and… water. He’ll drink some water to get the taste of blood out of his mouth and that’ll be good.

“Stiles, look at me,” Scott asks. “Please, just-”

“Not pack,” Stiles mumbles. A reminder, maybe, or an excuse for why he doesn’t have to listen to Scott anymore. Why the rules no longer apply.

Or maybe he just got used to saying it.

Scott makings a noise in the back of his throat that sounds like he’s been stabbed and that’s what makes Stiles finally look up.

Scott is crying. He’s not blinking but tears are sliding out of his eyes anyway, trailing down his jaw to drip off his chin.

Something in Stiles’ world shatters and he feels whatever energy he had leave him in a rush. He drops his arm and starts to sway and-

Scott catches him.

He pulls Stiles’ hand over his shoulders and he must start pulling away pain instantly because Stiles blacks out in relief.

“Here, here, let me,” Scott is chanting when Stiles blinks back into focus. Scott’s hand is covering his own and it seems silly to hold onto a knife when Scott is here so Stiles releases it and watches silently as Scott wipes it clean on his own jeans and then sticks it back in Stiles’ pocket.

That’s good. He’ll still have it when Scott leaves.

“Can you walk?” Scott asks gently.

“Yeah,” Stiles replies, but then when he goes to step away, Scott pulls his weight forward instead and together they walk outside.

Abandoned warehouse on the south side of Beacon Hills, Stiles thinks as he looks around. About an hour walk to the loft.

There had been two minotaurs there seven weeks ago. Strong but dumb and he’d had to kill both of them because they didn’t seem to really register what a threat was.

The bodies were a bitch to burn.

“Okay, okay,” Scott is muttering as he reaches across Stiles to buckle his seatbelt. Stiles doesn’t remember getting to the car. He’s not sure whose car it is. “Let’s just- there. Hospital. You’re going to be okay.”

A jacket is thrown over him and even to Stiles’ pathetic human nose, it smells like Scott. He lets out a noise that is close to a whimper. He remembers a time when all his clothes smelled a little like this, when the left side of his bed smelled like this and the right side of the couch and his Jeep and-

“No!” Stiles gasps as the words register. “No, no hospital.”

Hospital means questions and medical bills and people knowing and he can’t go there.

“Stiles,” Scott’s voice is low and soft and sad again and- “You’re hurt, you need-”

“No,” Stiles says and then tries to get his fingers to press hard enough at the button so he can escape. “No, don’t.”

“Okay,” Scott says. “Okay, then where-?”

“Th’ loft,” Stiles says. “Der’k’s loft.”

“Are you sure?”

“I’m okay,” Stiles repeats. “Loft.”

Scott starts driving.

*^*^*^

Stiles keeps expecting Scott to leave. As they pull up to the loft, Stiles tells himself that he can do this now, that once he’s up the stairs, he’ll be okay but Scott helps him out of the car and then up the stairs and then even when Stiles takes advantage of Scott’s horrified stare at the mess of the loft and the glass panels covering the living room to head towards the bathroom, he re-animates a second later to follow.

Scott finds him struggling to turn the shower on and he doesn’t say anything but he pulls Stiles away and his face forms the question he doesn’t bother to voice and-

Stiles nods wordlessly. Scott fills the tub. Stiles strips down to his boxers.

Usually, Stiles makes himself take a shower afterwards because there’s no risk of falling asleep in the shower (or at least, it’s harder) but as he sinks his body into water that’s almost too hot (Scott’s always loved too hot showers, Stiles remembers suddenly. Even more after becoming a werewolf), he realizes that this is better.

They don’t talk.

The water turns pink and brown as Stiles forces himself to rub at himself, but Scott simply lets the water drain and refills the tub.

Eventually, Stiles pulls himself out. Scott wraps his a towel around his waist and Stiles drops back to the toilet seat. Scott kneels in front of him.

“You dont have to,” Stiles says as he tries to open his first aid kit. “I can do this.”

He’s used to it. It’s one of the first thing he learned.

Scott’s hands cover his own and gently pull the kit away anyway.

“I got a call,” Scott says suddenly. Stiles tenses. “A few weeks ago. Maybe a month.”

He falls silent and Stiles doesn’t know if he’s supposed to ask, if Scott is trying to tell him something or if he’s just busy wiping Neosporin into the gash along Stiles’ collarbone.

He remains silent and tells himself he will be happy with whatever Scott gives him.

“It was another werewolf,” Scott continues after a moment. Stiles blinks and forces himself to focus. This could be important. “From close to Seattle.”

“The Dillard pack?” Stiles asks, his voice hoarse and his mouth dry. He coughs and Scott rises and grabs one of the Dixie cups Stiles usually uses to keep pills by his bedside and fills it with water. His story pauses as he waits for Stiles to drink.

“You know them?” Scott asks as Stiles finishes his first cup.

“No,” Stiles replies. “I just-” He shrugs. He’d memorized all the surrounding packs.

Scott puts the cup on the counter and turns his attention back to Stiles’ collarbone. Stiles doesn’t think it needs stitches, but Scott is grabbing the needle anyway, frowning at the fact that it’s already threaded.

Then he continues.

“Well, their Alpha called me and wanted to congratulate me.”

Stiles blinks.

“Apparently,” Scott continues. “I was doing a great job protecting my territory. Apparently, the McCall pack was getting a reputation for being ruthlessly protective and finding threats before they happened and she wanted to know how on earth I managed to find a den of sirens and expel them before they hurt any civilians.”

Stiles doesn’t know why but that makes him laugh. At least, he snorts and then groans when that hurts.

“I told her I had no idea what she was talking about,” Scott says. “She thought I was being modest and liked me even more.”

That’s funny too. Stiles can almost picture it. Scott being honestly concerned that he’s taking credit for something he didn’t do. The Alpha of the Seattle pack trying to be nice. Scott refusing to get off the phone until she stops congratulating him.

It’s hilarious. It might be the funniest thing he’s heard in months.

He thinks that the fact he has a scar running from his armpit to his hipbone from that nest of Sirens makes it even funnier.

The laughter in his chest almost bubbles over, but Scott’s voice stops it before it does.

“That was you, wasn’t it?” Scott sounds urgent and almost angry and- “All of it. You’ve been… you’ve been handling everything.”

It’s not quite a question and the guilt in Scott’s voice is already there. Guilt and admiration and sadness and-

“Had to keep you safe,” Stiles mumbles. He’s not sure why he’s telling the truth except that he can’t see the point of lying. Scott has seen the loft. He knows now. It’s just a matter of making sure he doesn’t try to stop him. He shrugs one shoulder and doesn’t let himself flinch. “Keep everyone safe.”

Scott finishes the stitches on his chest in silence. Then he starts on a cut across Stiles’ shoulder.

His hands are steady and warm and eventually it’s too much. There’s too much care in every motion and Stiles doesn’t know what’s happening but he can’t do this all right now. He’s tired and this isn’t his ritual, this isn’t how he puts himself back together, and he needs- He needs to keep his routine. At least part of it.

“Please,” Stiles says as Scott stares at the cut across his cheekbone as if considering stitching that up too. “Scott, just-”

Scott finally meets his eyes - for the first time in almost an hour - and Stiles drops his gaze. He doesn’t get to ask for things. Not when Scott is helping.

“I’ll be in the next room,” Scott says and then rises smoothly to his feet.

It’s strange to think that after all these months, Scott still knows what he’s trying to say.

*^*^*^

“I called our parents,” Scott says as Stiles limps to the bed and crawls in. “I told them we were together.”

“Oh,” Stiles says. That’s good. His dad will be happy. He thinks.

“I told them we were figuring stuff out,” Scott says. “That we needed to talk.”

“Oh,” Stiles repeats. Then, “Are we?”

“Yes,” Scott says and then he looks down, shifting. “I mean, if you want- you must hate- I can go.”

“No,” Stiles replies. He doesn’t know what’s happening but he doesn’t want it to end. Doesn’t want to be alone.

He’s never wanted to be alone.

“Stay.”

Scott lets out a breath that Stiles hears and then he crawls into the bed next to Stiles, on his usual side and they both are lying on their backs. In the darkness, Stiles can’t see the files lining the walls or his own writing that covers most of them and he can almost pretend they are at Scott’s. That Mrs. McCall is in the next room and will come yell at them to go to sleep if they talk too loudly and maybe it’s five months ago and they are talking about training techniques for Liam or maybe it’s five years ago and they are more worried about joining the middle school lacrosse team.

For a long time, they are both silent and Scott had said they needed to talk, but maybe he meant later. They simply lie there and gradually their breaths match up and it’s just like one of their old sleepovers. The silence growing and stretching and the question, Are we going to sleep or going to start talking? hovers in the air.

“Stiles,” Scott’s voice isn’t a whisper but it floats gently up to the ceiling anyway. “Would you - tell me about what happened. With Donovan.”

Stiles doesn’t flinch. Maybe a part of him knew that was coming.

“You already know,” he says, even though it’s just a delay. He already knows he will tell if Scott wants him to.

Just tell me how to fix this, alright? Please just tell me, what do you want me to do?

“No,” Scott says. “No, I don’t think I do. Tell me. Please.”

The first time they’d tried this, Stiles remembers being desperate. He remembers being freezing from the rain pouring over him and exhausted and angry, so horribly angry because he already knew Scott would judge him, already knew he would lose him but he still-

A part of him had hoped it would go differently.

“He attacked me at the library,” he starts. “Well, the parking lot.”

He’s still exhausted but it’s a different exhaustion now. It’s sad and empty and maybe it helps that he can’t see Scott’s face. That it’s almost like he’s just whispering up to the ceiling.

“He was- he was already a chimera. With extra teeth.,” Unthinkingly he reaches up to rub at his shoulder. “He bit me- or he grabbed me and his hand bit me- but I managed to shove him off. Hit him with the wrench.”

Scott must know that part. He’d seen the wrench. But he doesn’t say anything. Doesn’t move.

Stiles clears his throat because it’s starting to close.

He’s never said this aloud, he realizes.

He barrells on anyway.

“I ran to the library hoping that someone would be there,” he continues. “But- Donovan followed me and started talking about how he was going to eat my legs and-”

He swallows. Scott is still oddly silent next to him.

“I climbed the scaffolding in the library,” he admits. “Which is fucking stupid because where was I going to go after that? But I- I dunno. I panicked, I guess.”

He shrugs one shoulder up and down, hissing in pain as he does so and in an instant, Scott is gripping his forearm and the pain lessens.

“He grabbed my ankle,” Stiles says, fear rising in the back of his throat. “I tried to kick him off but I couldn’t and there was this pin holding all the pipes together. And I- I just- I pulled it.”

He takes a beat- maybe two - to remember.

He’d pulled the pin and the steel pipes had fallen and one of them had speared Donovan and he was dead and it was Stiles’ fault.

Good, Stiles had thought. He’d thought it was good.

“One of the pipes hit him through the chest,” he says, not taking his eyes off the ceiling. “I turned ‘cause he had let go of me and it was just… sticking up in the air. Through him. There was blood everywhere and his mouth was open and-”

“Stiles,” Scott says but Stiles has to get this part out. Needs Scott to know.

“I was relieved,” Stiles says. He’d told this part to Theo but Scott deserved to know. If they are figuring things out. “No, I was… I was happy. That he was dead and I wasn’t. That he couldn’t hurt anyone anymore.”

Stiles was going to tell him about calling the police and then wimping out. About running away. But, suddenly, he’s too tired and that part doesn’t seem to matter.

So he almost did the right thing.

Almost doesn’t count.

So, he falls silent and stares up into the darkness and just hates. Hates himself and Donovan and the doctors and Theo and this.

It’s a quiet hate though. Tired and worn out and he doesn’t have the energy to be mad anymore.

“He told me you beat his head in with a wrench,” Scott says suddenly and he sounds just as exhausted. “Theo, I mean. He told me you went after Donovan and beat his head in with the wrench.”

Stiles doesn’t say anything. Can’t think of a single thing to say. Because that…

That changes things and suddenly the whole conversation in the rain makes sense (But… how it happened) and he’s sure there’s a million other clues that point to how fucking wrong both of them were but..

But he’s so tired and it’s been so long and-

“Oh,” he says stupidly. “Oh, well, I- I didn’t do that.”

“I know,” Scott says and he is leaning up on one arm to stare down at Stiles. He may be crying again but all Stiles can make out is his red eyes flashing in the night. “Stiles, I… I…”

“I should have told you,” Stiles says. “When it happened. I should have just-”

“I should have asked.”

Silence falls and Stiles isn’t sure where they go from here. He’s exhausted and his brain is only just starting to realize what had happened, how badly Theo had manipulated both of them (because even he had listened to Theo on the roof and why had he done that? Why hadn’t he just told Scott? Why didn’t they ever just talk and-)

“I’m going to fix this.” Scott declares. It’s quiet and firm and Stiles-

Stiles isn’t sure what that means, can’t say how Scott is going to fix three months of misunderstandings and being alone and how he could ever fix the fact that Stiles had killed someone and has killed people since but-

“Okay,” he says.

If Scott says he will fix it, then he will.

*^*^*^

“I have killed though,” he says. He’d had a nightmare and the alarm clock reads 3am and he doesn’t know how he knows Scott is awake but he does. “Since then. I kill things. When I think I need to.”

Scott should know that too.

“Things or people?” Scott asks. Like there is a distinction now. Or maybe there always had been and it was just never communicated.

“Things I think,” Stiles says. He can’t be sure. Scott has always made the rules. “Maybe some people.”

A beat.

“I killed the doctors. All of them.”

The silence stretches and Stiles is ready for Scott to leave.

“Okay,” Scott says. “We’ll figure it out. Together.”

Stiles nods.

“I haven’t applied to colleges either.”

“We’ll figure that out too.”

“It’s almost February, Scott. I don’t-”

“Colleges like it when you take a gap year if it’s focused,” Scott interrupts. “We’ll keep an eye on Liam.”

Scott is ridiculous. He is ridiculous and Stiles missed him so much, it makes his chest ache.

“Okay,” he replies, blinking back tears for some reason. “Okay.”

*^*^*^

At five am, Stiles wakes up because Scott has grabbed his wrist above the bruise and is clinging and Stiles thinks he’s not the only one with nightmares. He doesn’t say anything, but he lifts his hand so that their fingers are intertwined.

He wants to curl closer but he can’t do that.

Not yet.

Scott’s hand squeezes on to his, not hard enough to bruise but hard enough that Stiles knows he’s there.

“I thought I was keeping you safe,” Scott admits as the sun rises. “I thought- I thought if you weren’t in the pack, you would be safe.”

It’s too early in the morning for that to be funny. It’s too quiet and calm and it’s-

It’s not funny.

It’s just sad.

“I- I kept watching you. Hoping you would get better and then even when you were miserable, I just… I thought at least you were safe. That if I just gave you time...”

“And then I thought you hated me. That you wanted to be left alone and I- I’m sorry,” Scott says. “For everything.”

“Yeah,” Stiles says and he should explain more, should tell Scott that he had tried to hate him but couldn’t, that he didn’t blame him, but Scott has shown no signs of leaving. So maybe he can do that later. Maybe for now he can just leave it at:

“Me too.”

*^*^*^

I’m going to fix it, Scott had told him. And in the quiet of night, Stiles believed him but in the light of day, it seems impossible. It’s too much and he’s done too much and-

Scott sets about fixing it anyway.

He gets Liam and Mason to bring them food and convinces both their parents that they need to take a week off of school without fully explaining the situation. He lets Melissa handle the school.

He is the one that calls the sheriff and hands the phone to Stiles and he is the one that snags it back when Stiles’ starts panicking and leaves the room to explain the situation himself.

He tells his side of the story first. He tells Stiles about Theo and what happened and why he said what he did and assures Stiles a thousand different times and a thousand different ways that he never would have said what he said and, actually, even if Stiles had beaten Donovan to death with a wrench, he still should have been there and-

“It’s not your fault,” Stiles tells him. It’s nighttime again. For some reason, talking is always easier at night. “I mean, I should have just told you right away. It’s… we both made mistakes.”

He feels Scott nod.

“Never again,” Scott says. “Let’s never do this again.”

Scott says it like it’s simple. Like it’s a choice and as long as they decide right now, they will be okay.

Stiles isn’t sure it’s that simple, isn’t sure life is that simple but then-

Then Scott’s hand wraps around his wrist once more and Stiles knows from experience that it will stay there all night and this isn’t the end, it’s just the start but-

“Okay,” he agrees. “Never again.”

End.