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Puzzle Pieces and Training Wheels

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The first time Stiles meets Scott, it’s their first day of kindergarten and his dad is being grossly overprotective.

“Okay, buddy,” his dad says, squatting down in front of him. “You remember to raise your hand if you need any help, right?”

Stiles sighs. “Yes, Daddy.”

“And don’t let any of the other kids take your walking stick. And don’t hit anyone with it.”

“Okay, Daddy.”

“All right then, kiddo.” The Sheriff takes a deep breath and takes Stiles’ hand and puts it in the hand of his personal teaching aide, a woman named Ms. Carole.

“Hello, Stiles,” she said kindly, squeezing Stiles’ hand. “I’m Ms. Carole. I’ll be with you the whole day, to help you with anything you need.”

Stiles sighs again. Adults are always like this. “I know. Thank you, ma’am,” he mumbles dutifully. “Daddy, can I go play with the other kids now?”

John laughs and pats Stiles on the head. “Yeah, son, you can. Have a good day. Your mom will pick you up a little after lunch.”

“’kay,” Stiles says, gripping his white walking stick excitedly and pulling his hand out of Ms. Carole’s loose grip. “Bye!” and he runs off, swiping his stick carefully in front of him. Carole stands up and laughs a little, smiling at John.

“He’s gonna be a handful, so if you need me, my cell—“

“Mr. Stilinski,” Carole says softly. “I think he’s going to be fine.”

“I know, it’s just… he’s my boy and he can’t see and there’s all these other kids here and—“

“In my experience, Mr. Stilinski, the children facing the most adversity are much more eager to prove themselves. And they almost always do.”

“Hey,” a voice directly in front of Stiles says. Stiles has found his way to his chair all by himself, and he’s playing with little Hot Wheels cars that Ms. Carole gave him.

“Hi,” Stiles says back. “I’m Stiles. That’s not my real name but you should call me that anyway.”

“Okay,” the voice answers. It’s another boy, and he sounds very curious. “I’m Scott. Why do you walk around with that stick? Are you trying to trip people?”

“No,” he says. “It’s so I don’t walk into stuff. I need it to see.”

“So then you’re… blind?”

“Yeah. But I can hear stuff a lot better than you can.”

“Can you play video games?”

Stiles frowns and stops fidgeting with the cars.

“Um, no.” He sounds sad, and Scott sits in the chair right next to his and puts a hand on his shoulder.

“Well, what if you held the controller and I told you where to go and what buttons to push? ‘Cuz sometimes I can’t push the buttons fast enough but maybe you’d be good at that?”

Stiles grins a wide smile and Scott smiles brightly back at him. After that they’re pretty much inseparable.

When Stiles is ten, he doesn’t quite understand what “cancer” means and John is glad that Stiles can’t see his mother lying in a hospital bed looking frail and sick and so tired.

“I love you, Mommy,” Stiles says quietly, holding her hand.

“I love you too, darling,” she whispers back.

Stiles can’t see his mother looking so sick, but he can hear the machines go from be-beep, be-beep, be-beep to beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep and he hears shouting and he hears Scott’s mom tell him and his dad to leave the room and he doesn’t understand what a crash cart is but he knows what it sounds like when Dr. Barton says “I’m so sorry”.

That’s when Stiles gets his first panic attack.

He doesn’t know what that looks like either.

He knows what it sounds like when he feels his way down the hall and his daddy is crying alone in a big bed meant for two.

Stiles crawls into bed with his dad and asks what Mommy looked like before her hair fell out and she was always in the hospital and he falls asleep listening to his dad whisper about the wonderful woman they’ve both lost.

A few months later his dad is reading the newspaper to him. Stiles grumbles that he wants to know what’s going on in the world but the local paper isn’t sold in Braille, so he’s kind of screwed. So he’s always getting his dad to read it to him. Or Scott, when he can convince Scott that it isn’t, in fact, a boring waste of time.

“So what’s the worst news in town today?” Stiles asks. He asks this a lot. Ms. Carole thinks it’s a coping mechanism.

“A house burned down last night,” the Sheriff says. “The Hale family’s house. Eleven people were trapped inside. One of them survived, he’s in intensive care. The two teenagers weren’t home when it happened. Now Peter, if he survives, along with Laura and Derek Hale are the last members of their family.”

Stiles says, very quietly, “We’re the last of ours, aren’t we Dad?”

John feels his heart drop and he says, “We’re always going to have each other, you know that, right buddy?”

“Yeah.”

Over the next six years, the panic attacks become less and less frequent, and Stiles is there for Scott when his parents sit him down and announce their divorce.

Stiles is hopelessly in love with Lydia Martin, but at the same time he knows the only reason she’s somewhat nice to him is because she feels badly that he can’t see. She still turns him down though, but it doesn’t really deter him. After middle school, Carole moves on to help new disabled kids, and then Scott gets his driver’s license, which leads to the pair of them getting into more trouble all the time.

The night before the first day of sophomore year, Stiles hears his dad’s phone ring and hears “half of a dead body in the woods” and immediately calls Scott. He convinces his friend to go find the other half via guilt, which always works pretty well for Stiles—“dude, I would go myself if I could but I would probably kill myself tripping over a rock, come on!”—and that’s when everything in Stiles’ quiet life changes.

Scott comes over late that night, sweaty and gross and bloody.

“Stiles, I totally found half of the body. But, like, something BIT ME. My mom is so mad. She cleaned it up but she doesn’t know what it was.”

“What do you mean, bit you?” Stiles huffs, reaching out to touch Scott’s shoulder. “Let me see.”

Scott obligingly grabs his wrist and slides his hand down to his side, moving the bandage so Stiles can gently move his fingers over the bite.

“Yeowch. Feels deep. And big. Well I’m sorry you got… bitten but I’m not sure what that could be…”

Scott frowns and moves Stiles’ hand away so he can fix the bandage and pull his shirt back down.

“I heard wolves.”

Stiles blinks and then laughs really hard. He can practically hear how hard Scott is pouting. “Sorry, sorry, it’s just… there aren’t any wolves in California. You couldn’t have gotten bitten by a wolf.”

“I’m telling you, I heard it! My mom said it was probably a mountain lion but it definitely wasn’t, I saw the wolf and I heard it, okay.”

Stiles laughs and Scott goes home, grumbling. From the window, a pair of eyes flash blue and Stiles doesn’t see them.