Sometimes it hurts Allison to look at Scott, who's so ready to care, when he smiles. From his crooked, secret ones, just for her, to the blinding ones that cut through his face, bright and white, his laughter infectious. He burns so brightly in the dark, and some part of Allison wants to hide him and take his burden away, because he'd never asked for any of this. Allison doesn't cry, but she thinks about how fiercely he loves and fights and it makes the knot in her throat tighten, so brittle it threatens to snap.
Scott is a lover and a fighter, and even if it hurts to see him thrown into the open jaws of the nighttime, without a choice, he was never given a choice, Allison can't stop him from fighting, just as she could never make him stop loving. She knows she would resent him if he was always trying to keep her out of harm's way, so she does what her muscles remember, and tries to line up her fights with his.
Allison knows what it means to be used by the ones you were meant to trust, and she's been living the last year of her life reeling, always reeling, from death and betrayal, and sometimes she feels like she doesn't deserve his love and his fire, like she doesn't deserve him, but then she remembers that the world isn't fair, so.
Other parts of Allison's psyche know she deserves Scott, beyond any shadow of a doubt. He has always been a strong judge of character, somehow, despite never knowing who they can trust. He is discerning, Allison knows, but his arms are still always open the widest.
And so she trusts Isaac.
Sometimes she feels a hollow pang of jealousy when she sees him look Scott in the eyes when he smiles, sees him looking straight into the sun. Isaac burns, though, just like she does, and she remembers how unfair the world is, and she can't feel jealousy. Allison looks at Scott, Isaac looks at Scott, and Scott looks at both of them, with his myriad of looks, and Allison doesn't feel jealousy.
She could learn Isaac's pencil-sketch frame, she thinks.
There's bad blood between them, drying on her knives and under his claws. But Allison sees how Scott touches Isaac's shoulder, his elbow, his hip, and she stands closer, when Isaac has good days. She smiles at him and asks him to join her and Scott when they study, and she lets his long silences pass by.
She is learning. Isaac smiles crooked on the other side, his right eyebrow raised, his teeth hardly visible. He's still on the skinny side, for all his hard muscle, and when he sits to work with them, he occupies slivers of space with silent apologies. They're on Scott's sofa, textbooks spread out on the coffee table. Isaac works on his lap, knees up, head down. Scott has his legs stretched out on the table, sock feet dangling over the edge, running a hand through his hair. Allison sits in the middle, legs inclined so that her knees bump Scott's thigh, but she's twisted around a little, looking down at Isaac's paper. She sighs.
"I don't know how you do it, Isaac. I'm absolute crap at physics, at it doesn't help that Harris is teaching it."
Isaac looks up at her, the corner of his mouth twitching, ready to curl into a sneer, if need be, but it doesn't.
"Don't say that!" Scott sounds almost offended. "Allison, you're not crap at anything you put your mind to."
Isaac casts Scott a look under his lashes, and it's so quick Allison almost misses it. It's always like that, though. Isaac steals his looks and touches, tucking them away, and Allison wishes he didn't feel like he had to.
Allison nudges Scott with her knee, rolling her eyes in Isaac's direction and casting him a grin. "Obviously, Scott's never read any of my poetry."
Isaac's smile is a small, wry thing, but it makes Allison's chest go tight and funny.
It's getting late, and Scott asks if they want to stay for dinner, but Isaac peels himself off the sofa, unfolding.
"I probably have to go." He says, edging back towards the front door in a tight line, avoiding Scott's eyes, and Allison hates the thought of him not looking up, wondering when she could have ever felt jealous.
"Probably." Allison insists, toeing the carpet. "But it would be nicer if you stayed, you know. Scott makes really good lasagna."
Allison can see Scott staring out of the corner of her eye, and he's looking at her with all his brightness and fierceness, and Allison wonders if this is how Isaac feels, too; like melting under Scott's kind eyes and strong hands.
Isaac stays, and Scott makes a baked pasta dish filled with four types of cheese and basil and oregano and tomato sauce and whatever vegetables he can get his hands on, and Allison remembers watching him make this after lacrosse practice, or running for hours in the woods, or a full moon. It makes her smile, and she sees Isaac stealing a look, elbow on the counter and hand on his cheek hiding the curve of his mouth. Allison sits next to him, watching Scott work, and their thighs touch. Isaac's leg jerks almost imperceptibly, but Allison looks at him steadily, wrapping a finger around a lock of her hair and lowering her lashes.
The three of them eat on counter stools, with Isaac in the middle, this time. Scott keeps meeting Allison's eyes over the top of Isaac's curls. Isaac is hunched over, shovelling the food into his mouth, and Scott is looking at Allison with hopeful questions, and for all Scott cares to please others, Allison knows Scott has her wrapped around his pinky finger.
Allison and Scott are watching the lacrosse team practice. Scott is occupied with his book, chewing his bottom lip thoughtfully as he drinks in Mikhail Bulgakov's The Master & Margarita (it's not part of the SAT study guide, Scott's just reading for fun), but his eyes keep flicking up, watching Isaac lope across the field, long legs and sharp lines.
Allison drums her fingers on her thigh. She supposes that even though Scott is smart, smart enough to take down his enemies without the darkness spilling out, smart enough to never let himself be anyone's pawn, he's more Achilles than Odysseus. They both are, really. Sure, they've got brains, but when it comes down to it, they're the brawn. And Achilles requires a direct approach. Margarita never would make her deal with the Devil if she skirted the issue.
Scott's eyes dance from the pages to the field to her. "Yeah?"
"Do you feel like you love two people at once?" Allison sees the pages of the book compress as Scott clutches it. His eyes are wide, and he must be able to hear her heart hammering. Scott licks his lips, chapped from running into the wind and into danger and into her arms, and clears his throat.
"Uh. Yeah." His voice breaks a little, and Allison smiles.
"Me too, you know." She leans in a little, and follows Scott's line of sight to where Isaac is getting some water. He notices them, and quirks an eyebrow. Scott blushes crimson. Allison waves.
Allison worries that she's not very good at communicating emotion. She's not like Scott, with his disarming smile and little displays of attention and affection. She's not sure she could sweep anyone off their feet, but she wants to try. It starts with the supply closet, locked and barricaded, with her and Isaac inside. Allison curls her fists when she realizes that this is what the Aidan and Ethan had planned, that their theatrics from earlier weren't their endgame at all. When Isaac grips her wrists and howls, hands shaking, chest heaving, Allison looks him in the eyes and doesn't flinch. There's a desperate look in his eyes, holding hers unsteadily, and Allison's instincts are telling her to fight back, her muscles aching to lash out, or to run, but Allison stays, claws biting into her wrists until Scott arrives.
Isaac doesn't stop shaking, even once his claws have retracted and his eyes are human again. He runs his hands through his hair and breathes heavily through his mouth. His shoulders are up, and he flinches when Scott leans next to him.
"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to-I'm so sorry-"
Allison takes Isaac's face in both hands, running a thumb over his cheekbone. Scott takes Isaac's hand in his own and squeezes it, murmuring words of reassurance that Allison knows could never come so easily to her. Isaac looks between them, quizzically, and his breathing begins to even out. Allison is the first to stand. After all, she is the leader.
Revenge is in her blood, Allison supposes. She's tried to be righteous, and it hasn't always worked. Months ago, maybe it would have been her locking Isaac in a closet. After all, she knows how to be cruel. And now she's going to use that know-how for her own purposes. No one is dangling her mother's death, her duty, over her cradle. Allison knows a thing or two about mistakes, number one being that it is always, always a mistake to make her angry.
Scott and Isaac stare while Allison gets to work, toolkit in her purse proving to be eternally useful. They stand close, covering her and taking watch. She hands Scott the motorcycle gears and shoos him to class with a wink and a pat on the hand, Isaac's eyes burning into her back.
Isaac mounts the bike, arms crossed over his chest. His guard is up. Allison leans in close as she hot-wires the machine, her hands over his when she starts it, her face inches from his as she gives Isaac his instructions. The lines of his shoulders are smoother now, and he has a cocky grin on his face as he breathes her in, revving the engine and on his way to wreaking havoc.
Allison doesn't waste any time getting back to class, hiding her smile. There's anger churning in her gut, but she feels in control, and that's just the way she likes it.
Things aren't pretty, with the Alpha pack around. Isaac is staying at Scott's now, and he doesn't want to talk about it. He looks scared all the time, and Scott is anxious, his usually optimistic temperament dampened. All Allison knows it that Derek's kicked Isaac out. Not even Scott knows the ache one feels for their Alpha, the instinct to be obedient and close, but he and Allison know what it feels like to be torn. Allison knows what it feels like to feel betrayed by those closest to you, though. She had needed space, but she had always been surrounded by love and care. With Isaac she's not so sure, but the way he leans into Scott with every simple touch make Allison's hands curl into fists all over again. Not because she's jealous, she hasn't felt jealous in a while, but because it hurts that she can't fix it. Melissa's good about things, though, and it's a comfort. Her job keeps her busy, but she ruffles Isaac's hair like she does with Scott's and cooks filling food and teases and praises just like she does with Scott. Allison is bad at vocalizing, but whenever she catches Melissa's eye, she feels like Melissa knows. She's so instinctively maternal, and Allison remembers her own mother.
Sometimes, Allison feels like she's cried enough for a whole lifetime, and it makes her angry, because it's not fair.
Allison and Scott move slowly, orbiting like planets. Allison would hate to rush, knowing Isaac would think if it as the two of them hooking up with him once, just to try it. Besides, Allison would rather be more sure of where she stands with Isaac. It's so easy to love Scott, she knows, and while she feels for both Scott and Isaac, she's not sure exactly what Isaac sees in her.
Scott has never been cryptic with her, even if it's only recently he's been better able to express himself with his words. He loves with reckless abandon and heedless optimism, and when she needs to curb him, when she needs her space, he'll back off. He's been thrown into a dangerous world without his permission, at least Isaac was offered the bite, but Scott still loves and fights and balances his terrible burden, and Allison feels graced when she's with him. He burns so brightly, and she can only try to keep him from burning out. Scott once told her that she was the Moon to his Sun, holding her face in his strong, capable hands, looking at her with intensity that used to make her falter, and Allison can't resent him for being her weakness.
Isaac is more like her, Allison thinks. Isaac is guarded and dangerous, Isaac is angry, and Isaac doesn't trust easily. Scott feels sick at the thought of hurting anyone, even Jackson, back when the Kanima took him on a murderous rampage. Her and Isaac are different. They're not opposed to getting their hands dirty. Scott tells Allison about how back when he first met her, the look in her face when she'd brought the dog she'd accidentally hit with her car into the clinic. He tells her that she has such a big heart. He tells her about how Doctor Deaton taught Isaac to use his power to take pain away from animals at the clinic, and how Isaac had cried. Allison knows, then, that Isaac is like her, and she feels something she's not sure can be called simple happiness at the fact that Scott has both of them to look after him, to receive all of Scott's boundless love and to guard him from the things that go bump in the night with their knives and their claws.
It's been a long time since Allison was afraid of admitting she was in love with Scott. It wasn't easy for her, despite being surrounded by her family, and she wonders how much it hurts Isaac to think about it. It doesn't make her feel helpless, though. This she can fix.
She's watching Labyrinth on Scott's sofa, and Isaac is hovering in the doorway.
"Do you wanna sit and watch with me?" Allison pats the seat cushion next to her, and Isaac stalks over immediately, folding in on himself, spine concave, as he sits. He's on the complete opposite end of the sofa, pushed up against the arm rest. Allison wonders what it would be like to be like Scott, to be able to have Isaac melt into her touch, and she tries.
"Key words being with me, if you're alright with that." Allison holds her arms out, and Isaac looks at her with narrowed eyes. They're both quiet, full attention on each other, while the tinny sounds of the film play faraway. Isaac unravels a little, scooting across the couch cautiously. Allison wraps her arms over Isaac's chest, letting her chin rest on the top of his head as Isaac leans against her. Isaac stretches his legs across the seat cushions, feet over the edge of the armrest, and Allison feels warm. She inhales, and she smells Scott's shampoo in Isaac's hair. She feels Isaac's ears move and his jaws shift as his mouth curves into what might be a smile.
The movie's almost over when Allison hears the rumble of Scott's bike pull up in the driveway, back from his shift at the clinic, and she knows Isaac must hear it, too. He doesn't move, though, and Allison smooths a hand over his collarbone.
Scott toes off his shoes, and is halfway through shrugging off his jacket when he notices Isaac stretched across the sofa, with Allison arms wrapped around his shoulders. Scott smiles, a big grin with teeth, and Allison feels the small puff of breath from Isaac as he smirks without a hint of malice. Scott's contagious like that, Allison knows.
"Quit hogging the sofa, dude." Scott doesn't mean it at all, clambering over the back of the sofa and draping himself over Isaac, head on Isaac's chest and hands holding Allison's own. "Watcha watching?"
"Labyrin-" Allison starts.
"David Bowie's leather pants." Isaac finishes, and Allison laughs into the crook of his neck. Isaac doesn't crack jokes too much, and most of his sense of humour that Allison's seen has always had a bite to it. Hers, too, really. It must be Scott.
Scott looks at them both, unabashedly, ferociously caring, like he always does.
Allison kisses the top of Isaac's head. "Yeah, that's what I meant."
They lie there in a heap, and Allison ignores the weight of the world. Sometimes she wonders what her life would have been like without werewolves and hunting and so, so much death, but she can never make a complete picture. She'd be too different, she thinks. Scott kisses Isaac's strong jaw, the one Allison often admires. Scott's a real carpe diem guy, and Allison can't even care about cliché when she knows how much thankless responsibility he takes on. Scott kisses and fucks and fights with so much passion, and Allison wants to share with Isaac. So Scott's trailing open-mouthed kisses up Isaac's jaw, and Isaac convulses so hard for a second that Allison's worried, but he's wrapping those arms, wrists still too skinny for his biceps, around Scott's neck and pulling him close, and Allison realizes he's just falling apart with them. Allison kisses the column of Isaac's neck, feeling his pulse jump under her lips. Scott is flush against Isaac, reaching over to smooth Allison's hair and cup her cheek. Allison leans into his touch, snaking her hands down to stroke Isaac's hipbones. They jut out to far, and don't match up with his broad shoulders. Isaac is all sharp edges and spare parts, stretched out too thin in some places and too tightly wound in others. Isaac digs his face into Scott's shoulder and breathes deeply. Allison knows that Scott smells like the forest after the rain and home cooking and engine oil and faintly like his mom's perfume. Allison leans forward, gently kissing Scott on the mouth, and wonders what Isaac can smell in the dip of Scott's shoulder. She wonders if he can smell hypoallergenic soap and blood and soil and paper from all the books, underneath everything else, and Allison wonders if love is supposed to hurt this much, if this is how other people feel.