The inside of a locker is the first thing he sees. The flimsy metal squeezes his shoulders in the limited space. Stiles looked around, confused and slightly scared as he hits the door of the locker. It just makes noise. He smacks his hands against the door again as hard as he can.
“Hey!” Stiles yells. “Hey! Let me out!” Someone’s on the other side of the locker. He could see a silhouette moving about in the dim light coming through the slots on the door. He’s yelling to them, feeling panicked. This situation was all too familiar.
“Let me-” The locker door opens and Stiles is spilling out onto a tiled floor. He hears soft laughter and looks up.
“There you are man.” Scott says. He’s smiling, his dimples of mass destruction right in his line of sight.
“Hey.” Stiles said, standing up. “What the hell happened?” He asked.
“I don’t know. I went over to your house and you weren’t there. I called Malia and Lydia and after talking to all of them I just figured maybe your jeep broke down again. I was right.” Scott said. “You should really take it to a shop.”
“Roscoe is just delicate. It’s nothing I can’t handle.” Stiles said.
“With more duct tape?” Scott asked. Stiles punched his shoulder and both of them laughed. They had started walking through the halls of the school. Were the hallways always weirdly long?
“Why did you come to the school?” Stiles asked.
“When you figured my car broke down.” He clarified. “Why did you come to the school.” He blinked and frowned. They were walking to the doors of the school now. “Why was I in the school anyway?”
Scott shrugs like the question doesn’t even bother him. “I don’t know. It just made sense to come here. This school is a favorite for anything and everything to happen.”
“Your right.” Stiles said. “From now on we should probably always check the school first, unless whatever is going on is happening somewhere else.” Scott smiles and throws an arm around his shoulders. Stiles looks ahead and is relieved to finally be at the doors. It felt like it took forever for them to get there and he was just ready to get back home.
They walked through the doors, but instead of heading outside like he thought they were, they were in the library.
Stiles froze. In the middle of the library was the scaffolding, and right next to it was Donovan, limp and dead with a pipe right through him. Fear holds his breath in his chest.
“Scott-” Stiles starts. He turns around to find his friend but stops talking when he sees him. Scott is drenched, water dripping onto the floor, suddenly far away from him. His face is a mix of disappointment, sadness, and anger. He’s holding a bloodied wrench in his hand.
“You murdered him.” Scott says. Stiles shook his head.
“He was going to kill me Scott. He was going to kill my dad.” He said.
“So that excuses you killing him?” Scott demands.
“No! I know we try to save everyone but- that just couldn’t happen then!”
“His blood is on your hands Stiles.”
“I know!” Stiles shouted. He looked at his palms. They were covered in blood, splattered up his forearms and a little bit on his shirt. “Scott, you have to believe me, I didn’t have a choice.”
“You always have a choice.” Scott said. “He was only a kid, just like us. Now look at him! Look what you’ve done!” Scott points the wrench to behind Stiles and he turns.
But Donovan isn’t there.
Stiles turns back and sees Donovan standing right behind Scott. He’s still bleeding, a mix of mercury and blood still dripping down his mouth, but he looks alive enough to be moving around. He’s alive enough for Stiles to see the murderous look in his eyes.
“Scott watch out.” Stiles warns, taking a step towards the two.
“Actions have consequences, Stiles.” Is the only thing Scott says. And then suddenly he’s gone, the wrench sitting on the floor in between he and Donovan.
“Okay, Donovan, listen to me. Neither one of us wants to do this.” Stiles tries. Donovan snarls and begins rushing towards Stiles. Instinct pushes Stiles to run forward, trying to get the wrench to defend himself before Donovan is on him. He knows he won’t win a fight against Donovan if he has nothing to use to defend himself other than his own body. His shoulder aches in the memory of what the other boy did to it.
Stiles lunges for the wrench right as Donovan slams into him. They tumble on the floor, Donovan grabbing at Stiles and Stiles desperately trying to keep him off of him. Like with the jeep before, Stiles desperately reaches for the wrench. Donovan’s forearm is pressed to his throat, their limbs tangled together in a violent struggle. Adrenaline pumps through his limbs and gives him a surge of strength to grab the wrench.
The metal is familiar in his hand, cold and solid. Heavier than he remembers. Stiles swings his arm around, connecting with Donovan’s head. He jerks, but he still is on top of Stiles; burning eyes and sharp teeth are all he sees. Stiles hits him again. Donovan is on the floor and Stiles takes his turn on top. He can’t stop himself now, swinging his arm and smashing the wrench more and more into Donovan.
He loses count how many times he hits Donovan. Blood covers his hands and makes it hard to grip the wrench. It splatters up all over his chest and into his face. Even when Stiles can’t see past the red, his arm moves against his fatigue and desire to stop. He just keeps hitting him, feeling rage and fear and anxiety, all fueled by sheer adrenaline.
Finally Stiles stops. His chest heaves, his vision is blurry. The wrench drops from his hand as he goes to wipe the blood off his face. It seems never ending; a stain that keeps dripping from his skin.
Stiles opens his eyes through the frustrating haze. He feels sick and panicked. He knows he’s going to see the broken face of Donovan.
Except the body under him isn’t Donovan’s.
It’s his father’s.
The scream rips itself from his throat as he bolts awake. Stiles can’t stop screaming and panic is driving any logic or calmness from his body. Derek is suddenly rushing through the door and grabs hold of him.
Stiles resists, half asleep with the image of his father dead under him and blood drenching his hands. He can still smell the sweat and blood.
“Stiles, Stiles, it’s okay. You’re safe.” Stiles shakes his head and cries, sobbing and shaking as Derek holds him firm. He tries to talk but ever sound from his mouth is incoherent. His forceful screams have tapered off into harsh cries and shrieks. His screaming already made his voice husky and harsh. Stiles’ chest heaves. He can’t get a solid breath in past his tears.
“Stiles, I need you to calm down.” Derek tries but Stiles is too far gone. His heart can’t stop beating too fast and his lungs try to compensate for the pace but there’s cotton in his lungs. It makes his already short breath’s feel even more labored.
In his struggle to breathe he kept swallowing air and thrashing in Derek’s arms. He felt pressure build in his throat. He didn’t have to say or do anything for Derek to somehow already know what was going to happen and already in the process of dragging him to the bathroom. As soon as the toilet in under him Stiles lets loose.
He shutters hard at the sheer force he was was throwing up with, wretching and making painful noises for a full minute before he even dares to put his forehead on his forearm. Mutely he hears Derek flush the toilet.
Stiles’ throat burns and the acidic taste of his bile is stuck on his teeth and that alone makes him gag some more. Derek stays with him the whole time, pressed against him and rubbing his back. Tears drip into the toilet water below him, making little sounds as they do so.
Once Stiles stops throwing up mostly for a minute Derek separates himself from Stiles. When he comes back he has a blanket, a giant glass of water, and a damp towel.
“Here.” He says softly. The only way Stiles can even see him is from the small amount of light the dull green nightlight is throwing off.
Stiles doesn’t protest as Derek bunches up the towel for him to sit on and places the damn towel on the back of his neck. He doesn’t have a fever, but the coolness of it helps soothe the impressive pressure headache that he’s been building since he first woke up screaming and crying. His sinuses alone are rebelling against the abuse they’ve been dealing with.
When the glass of water is being pressed to his lips he takes small sips. The first few are to wash the taste out of his mouth while the next few are for him to actually drink. Stiles didn’t realize how much his throat was burning until he started drinking.
“Thanks.” Stiles said weakly. His voice could barely go above a whisper. Derek just nodded and went back to tangling their limbs together.
It was hard. Stiles would calm down and start to drift back to sleep, only for the dream to pop back up against his eyelids. He’d start to panic but Derek was scary good at catching them before they got too bad. He’d make Stiles breathe with him, backing away and giving him space so he didn’t feel claustrophobic and trapped.
He was good at handling them in a way that could only come from knowing how they felt.
“I haven’t done any of this since my mom died.” Stiles said softly. “Hey Derek?”
He doesn’t quite know how long he’s been bent over the toilet. It could only have been thirty minutes, it could have been a few hours. His mind isn’t too keen on trying to keep up with timing.
“Why is it when bad things happen, it makes you remember all the other bad things that happened to you?” He asks.
“I’m not sure.” He said. “But I think maybe it’s because when you’re in a certain place, that’s all you can think of. All the bad just floods your mind.”
“I hate it. I wish my mind would just stop working.” Stiles said. He closed his eyes and sighed, resting his head on the edge of the toilet.
Beside him he could feel Derek hesitate, and then there were fingers running through his hair. Stiles’ eyes opened in surprise but he didn’t move away. The action was surprisingly comforting.
“How are you so good at this whole,” Stiles motions vaguely.
“I’m just going off on how it feels mostly.” Derek said. “I felt a lot like you feel after...and Laura didn’t know what she was doing, but she did a pretty good job at helping me. So I’m just…” He trailed off.
“Going off of what she did for you?” Stiles finishes. Derek nodded.
“That was nice of her.”
“Yeah, it was.” Their conversation stopped after that. Stiles slowly finished off all of his water and begrudgingly continued to get more and more tired. His body and mind were both exhausted from his ordeal. But at least he wasn’t throwing up any more.
“Do you think you’re okay to get back in bed?” Derek asked.
Stiles sighed and shrugged. Bed meant sleep, and while his body needed it he sure as hell didn’t want it. A brainless coma sounded like his best option right about now.
Derek moved the towel from his neck and actually picked Stiles up from the floor. Stiles made a noise at the sudden movement and clung to Derek so he wouldn’t fall. Which he probably wouldn’t since Derek was carrying him around like he weighed nothing. But considering he’d been losing weight that wasn’t all too surprising. Something Derek probably could easily tell since all he was wearing was boxers.
Derek set him back in the bed, moving the pillows and blankets to settle around him. Stiles swallowed hard, his body twitching and then Derek was in the bed with him, arms around him and his chest at Stiles’ back.
“Is this okay?” Derek asked because of course he would. Stiles pressed his face into the pillow, giving the smallest of nods. Derek laid down against him, his body warmer than any normal person’s and his breathing was so steady, so was his heart and he even smelled warm and safe.
Stiles was already tumbling asleep, dreading it but unable to stop. Right before he fell back asleep, he promised himself tomorrow, tomorrow everything would be better.
Tomorrow he’d get up and smile like nothing ever happened in the first place.