"You fucked her." Stiles bit his tongue a moment too late. It was petty and disgraceful, more vulnerable than he should have been willing to be around Scott. Scott was so good at hurting him. Stiles wanted to forget everything that had happened since Lydia’s party, and hold his friend close. He could get started now.
Stiles didn’t apologize, but he ran his hands down Scott’s back, adjusting their position so the werewolf (werewolf, goddamn werewolf) was flopped on top of him. He kissed his cheek, and worked his way down Scott’s jaw, with the same careful consideration.
"We’ll find an answer," Stiles pushed on, reaching low so his hands rested on Scott’s hips. He deflated like a popped balloon, shrinking in on himself as he tried to tangle his limbs with Scott.
"Tomorrow," Stiles promised. He wouldn’t let go of Scott all night.
“I…” There was nothing to say to that. Lydia had wanted the new star and he’d wanted the status, somewhere away from Stiles and all the ways he could get him killed. There hadn’t been any heart involved, Lydia wasn’t a patient teacher and was unimpressed by his awkward fumbling around the female form.
Stiles had loved him. Stiles had loved him. No one had ever done that before.
Scott didn’t say a word, just stretched his body beneath the human’s hands and settled comfortably beside him. A monster lurked in his chest, a killer’s face in the mirror and blood still stained the edges of his fingernails. Outside there was a creature who could bend Scott’s mind to his will because deep down, he wanted to believe those promises. There was Jackson Whittemore and hunters tracking him down and Derek Hale who’d looked at him like he knew how much blood Scott had spilled. But there was tomorrow for that. Tonight, Stiles would keep him human and there was hope.
"Don’t tempt me McCall. I want to hurt you," Stiles whispered, sharper than he intended, but he kissed Scott again, closed-mouthed and sweet. He touched him like Scott was made of glass. He’d been hurt enough times. Scott had already gone through so much, and Stiles still wanted to leave his mark on him. Later - he could do that later, or maybe Scott would take care of it himself. Stiles thought he wouldn’t want Scott to forget what he’d done, but he didn’t think he’d have a problem with that. Someone was already trying to kill him.
He stroked down Scott’s arm, carefully ghosting over tightly wound bandages.
Stiles rested his forehead against Scott’s, leaning in close enough that their noses brushed. Stiles closed his eyes, and he could forget how long it had been since they had the chance to be like this. A sharp stab of shame broke through his mind. Stiles was young and angry and stupid, so very stupid. He still asked.
"Don’t see Lydia again."
He could stay like this forever, swapping sweet kisses and sharing the same breath. Stiles could be gentle when he chose to be, something Scott thought that few people ever got to see. The human cared, but in ways that weren’t so obvious and edged in elbows and sarcasm. In the dark with nothing but a few empty inches between them, it was different and Scott melted under his hands. This was better than the alpha, it meant more and the praise didn’t come with a price tag.
Scott smiled knowing Stiles could never see it, letting his own eyes slide closed. “Lydia doesn’t like me, Stiles. I don’t think I’m ambitious enough for her and I think she might actually have a thing for Jackson. Her heart beats faster when he’s around, I can actually hear it. Plus…” Scott tangled his feet with the human’s, anything to touch him. “I don’t think she’s really my type.” There was too much hope in those words and he scrambled to cover for them.
“Go to sleep, okay? I’ll tell you everything I know in the morning and maybe we’ll find an answer. Maybe there’s even a way to make me normal again.”
It wasn’t Hale? There was more than two werewolves?! What the fuck?Stiles’ head hurt, and no one was fucking with his mind. Hale had been in Scott’s bedroom, and someone else was tearing him apart. Stiles just wanted to keep him.
"You acted like a rancid piece of shit," Stiles replied. His grip dug bruises into Scott’s side, but he pressed against his Scott as tightly as he could. His Scott - that should have changed. Stiles was angry at him. Stiles was furious, but all he wanted was to hold him right now. "I want to punch you in the face. You were a fucking… Fucking asshole."
Stiles voice trembled, just a little, laced with venom and vicious resentment. He cupped Scott’s cheek, and surprised himself. He didn’t think he could be that careful right now. He shouldn’t have wanted Scott this much, but when he sounded like that, Stiles wanted to do everything he could to make this better. Slowly, he leaned down, to carefully press a kiss against Scott’s soft lips. Scott wasn’t allowed to break, not without Stiles to put him back together.
"You’re spending the night." Stiles ordered. He flushed, sheepish for the first time. "You can tell me everything in the morning. I got… Things to show you. Diagrams."
“I know, I’m sorry. I’d have deserved it if you did.” A punch and a lot more. He’d been so wrapped up in promises of power and finally being important that he lost the one person who saw him no matter what. It would be okay to go back to that invisible kid again, Stiles knew who he was and that meant everything. “You still could if you want to? Not that I hope you do, since that would suck. I could owe you one future face punch or something.” He was rambling and nervous, snapping his mouth shut and trying to keep calm.
But Stiles’s mouth was on him and he was lost, leaning into the kiss with a muffled groan. This was better, Lydia couldn’t even come close. Stile could make him forget how to breath and one touch was enough to make Scott feel like he was downing. His fingers curled into the other boy’s shirt, ignoring the bone deep ache that shot through his arm.
“Okay. Diagrams, I can do diagrams.” I can do anything if you let me stay. Stiles had loved him and Scott had ruined it all, but maybe there was still something between them that could be saved. He wanted so desperately to believe that.
"I’ve got you," Stiles whispered, smearing water down the line of Scott’s nape. He could feel tension bleeding out of his frame. This was what he’d been missing for so long. This was what it was like to feel at peace again. There were monsters out there, with fangs and claws and an appetite for murder, but Stiles felt like they were safe with nothing but blankets to shield them.
He wanted to tell Scott that he could keep him safe, and that things would be okay. Forgiveness shouldn’t have been so easy, but Stiles had always been selfish before everything. If he could keep Scott, then he could worry about being angry. There was no weight in performance without an audience. He wanted this. He remembered how sharp claws fit around his neck, and pulled Scott closer.
"They’ll catch Hale." Stiles promised. It was funny, almost. They’d already had him. The police hadn’t been wrong when they accused Derek Hale of killing his sister, but they’d never be able to figure out how. Scott never would have gotten hurt if they’d just kept him, but Scott had been battling monsters for a long time now, ones no less real than werewolves. Stiles should have helped him a lot sooner.
"We’ll figure it out."
The wolf half-sobbed, wrapping his wounded arm around Stiles’s chest and curving his body to fit so perfectly beside his friend. Please let them be friends. Please please please let him be able to fix at least a little part of what they had. Stiles said they would figure it out and Scott believed him with the fervent trust of a zealot. There was an answer, they’d find a way through.
“I’m sorry I’ve been such a giant jerkface.” Sorry about lying. Sorry about Lydia. Sorry we broke up. Sorry I almost killed you. Sorry I’m a monster. Sorry you had to see this. I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. He could try to explain the aggression and the fear, but those were just excuses. He’d fucked up and ruined something that could have been amazing, nothing would make up for that. “I’ll do better.”
Scott furrowed his brows, distracted from nuzzling down into the boy beside him by the promise. “Hale? You mean Derek? He didn’t do anything to me. Well, he was super creepy and broke into my bedroom a few times. And we sort of fought a bunch and he yells a lot for a stoic dude, but he wasn’t the one who bit me. He’s trying to find the alpha and thought I could help but I-I, I’ve seen his face and I can’t remember what he looks like. I only remember the eyes, they were bright red. Sometimes it’s almost like I can feel him, like where he is or what he wants, but it’s not all the time. I don’t feel anything right now.” Scott wasn’t sure if he missed it or if it was a relief.
Scott hadn’t said a word. Stiles didn’t know what that meant. It felt like he was walking on eggshells. It was better to pretend they weren’t there. He returned the first-aid kit, after making sure everything was where it was supposed to be. There was blood on the shower curtain. Stiles rinsed down the tub once more. He double-checked everywhere for something that could tie them back to the conspiracy of the big bad wolf. Stiles didn’t admit that he was procrastinating his return to his room, with good reason.
The moment he saw Scott, he couldn’t stay away from him.
Silently, he tugged Scott into bed, stowing what was left of his uniform inside his bedside cabinet, the one that held all his old comics and absolutely no porn. Stiles had a long history of not hiding anything of any interest there. His dad knew it. Stiles just needed him to believe that pattern for eight more hours.
Stiles pulled Scott into his arms like he didn’t have to think twice. It shouldn’t have been that way. Lydia, and murder, and fucking werewolves hung over them, but Scott hadn’t sought out Lydia, and Stiles was still alive. That meant something.
He carded his fingers through wet hair, forcing Scott to use him as a pillow. And Stiles could breath again. This was so easy. Scott pressed against him like he was made to. He turned off his light. He was almost ashamed that he needed it to be brave.
"How much did I get right?"
Stiles reached for him and Scott didn’t resist, letting himself be drawn down into the bed beside the other boy. His eyes fluttered closed at the touch of hands through his hair and his body finally started to relax. This was finally something that felt right after so much horror. Stiles felt almost cool against his fevered skin and there was safety here in the memory of these arms and laughing about nothing over milkshakes and fearsome battles at the gaming console and all the stupid stolen moments where even the coolest kid at school proved he was a closet dork. In the dark, he could pretend that they were back in that place where things made sense again and it would be so easy to just lean up and kiss him like he wanted to and…
He couldn’t. Scott had made his choice, he’d broken this off and moved on. He told himself he was doing it to keep Stiles safe, but he’d been the biggest ass for no other reason than he could. Popularity had gotten to him and power was something new and heady. He’d wanted everything the alpha promised, but he wasn’t sure about the person it had turned him into. Or the monster.
“Enough.” His voice was low and rough. “Too much. I don’t remember everything, it gets all blurry when I change. I know I hurt people, but he says it’s okay and I want to…I like to. He says they deserve it and we’re saving people and I…it’s all messed up in my head. This isn’t what I wanted. I didn’t want anyone to get hurt. I don’t know what’s happening to me.”
"Her dad - fuck?!" Stiles hissed, because of course he should have been expecting something like this. At least Allison Argent wasn’t a vampire. It felt like he’d stepped into an episode of Buffy, and no one had handed him a script. Stiles’ grip shook as he pulled out his first aid kit. It took him too long to kneel next to the werewolf, but Stiles couldn’t stop the sharp intake of breath that escaped him when he caught a glimpse of Scott’s mangled arm.
Derek Hale caused all this. Stiles thought about where his Dad kept his guns.
Scott’s apology hung in the air. Stiles imagined he could make it disappear with every line of gauze he covered Scott’s wounds with. The weight of the guilt was going to break Scott’s shoulders. Stiles should have been dead already. He thought about what Scott could hear behind that vicious snarl and bared fangs, how much he’d listened. Stiles owed him his life, maybe, but if Scott moved right now, Stiles would flinch away.
Stiles reached for a towel, and wrapped it around his friend’s frame, his hand heavy on Scott’s shoulder. After everything, he figured friend was a pretty strong word. It was too soon. There was too much going on, but Stiles didn’t want to deny the relief that coursed through him, even if he knew it was petty and dumb. He embraced Scott from behind, letting his body sag against the other boy in a precarious position. They were both so close to falling off. Somehow, they continued to toe the line.
"Go lie down," Stiles ordered against Scott’s ear, rubbing circled along his back. "Clothes on the bed. Stop apologizing. I don’t wanna hear it."
The wolf remained quiet and passive, letting Stiles bind his arm without a sound. The tension wound around them both like the lingering steam. There wasn’t any way to fix this and Scott didn’t know how the pieces fit together anymore. It had been too new, too intense, innocent and depraved all at the same time. He’d just been learning what it was like to let someone in and Stiles had loved him. He’d loved him and Scott had ruined everything. How could he ever go back to what it was like when Stiles would kiss him so hard his lungs would seize and they’d laugh as they scrambled for his inhaler. He was such a fucking idiot.
Scott pulled the towel around himself, pausing as the other boy leaned against him. His heart broke, guilty and ashamed. If he’d been stronger, Stiles wouldn’t have been dragged into this. There should have been a way to keep his distance and make sure everyone was safe. All this power meant nothing if it meant people were going to get hurt. He turned slightly, body automatically trying to find the best way to fit against Stiles. No one had ever needed him for anything before, no expectations or accountability. He’d never been trusted or loved or had anyone count on him. It had never mattered if he screwed up.
He couldn’t let Stiles down. The other boy had seen too much and it was all Scott’s fault, he needed to pull it together. Someone needed him to be a better Scott McCall.
Reluctantly, he left the warmth of Stiles’s body and shuffled to the bed, pulling on the borrowed clothes. He brought the t-shirt to his nose, breathing in the scent of Stiles and smiled just a little. He didn’t realize that people actually smelled unique and it was…nice. Scott pulled on the clothes, careful with his sore arm and sat on the bed with everything he wanted to say trapped on the tip of his tongue.
Stiles let a murderer walk into his house. He wouldn’t touch him. Scott had been responsible for the deaths of at least three men, probably four for all that Stiles didn’t consider Duncan human. He thought about how quick to anger Scott had become, about miracles on the lacrosse field and viciousness in once warm brown eyes. He thought about Lydia, and Jackson, and the rest of the school who still couldn’t see Scott, and all the people who wondered where he’d gone.
Stiles had been right. All his theories and guesses had landed exactly where he assumed they would have. Stiles hadn’t known that human blood could splatter like that. Hollywood had gotten it so wrong. Becerra just wouldn’t stop gushing. If it had been his Dad at the scene instead of Stiles, he’d be an orphan by now. He watched Scott sway with each step, like he was relearning how to walk. There had been a boy who was tired of being targeted.
Stiles thought he was still there. That tipped the scales.
He wiped his window down, and shone a light over his roof tiles. Stiles occupied himself with finding an extra set of clothes. He found some of Scott’s in his closet. Stiles didn’t feel much like smiling, but that gave him the most motivation to.
Stiles could barely see in front of him with all the steam in the bathroom. He kept his head down, triple-bagging Scott’s clothes, and dropping the bag by the sink. The air was so thick, Stiles didn’t know why he was breathing. That was good, because what he saw would have stolen his breath away. Scott’s arm was a mess. Stiles doubled-over and dry wretched into the toilet. It was the first time he’d the chance to.
It was a long time before he stopped, but Stiles rested his head in his hands when he spoke. He couldn’t bring himself to look at Scott, at the best friend he should have had. Stiles didn’t think of calling Jackson for help, not even once tonight.
"Turn the water down. Sit on the edge of the tub. Get - get your arm clean. What the fuck happened…?" Stiles just sounded tired. They both were.
The shower could never be hot enough. Even when the water faded from stained pink to clear, Scott didn’t feel clean. He scrubbed his hands, staring at them like they belonged to someone else. How could this happen? All he wanted to do was go home, crawl under his covers and shut out the world but it was too empty without his mother there. Sleep wouldn’t come when it was too silent, letting the blood soaked memories flash through his mind until the sun rose. It wasn’t fair to put all of this on Stiles, he didn’t deserve to be dragged into his mess. He was sorry, god he was sorry for everything.
Scott rested his head against the cool tile, trying to block out the sound of the other boy being sick. His own stomach roiled and he breathed through his mouth, squeezing his eyes shut. He moved mechanically, obeying the orders because he didn’t know what else to do. The water squeaked off and Scott sat, body bowed like it was being crushed and eyes empty and dull. He’d retreated so far into himself that there was no spark left. Droplets of water gathered at the ends of his hair, puddling around him on the floor as the wound in his arm continued to bleed. Scott kept his hand over the puncture, holding tight and seemingly oblivious to the pain.
“Hunters.” The word felt strange in his mouth. “Allison’s Dad shot me. Derek said they hunt us, I don’t know. I don’t know anything anymore.” He wanted to ask if the clerk had survived, but Scott wasn’t sure if he could handle to answer. Actual hunters who hunted actual werewolves and were now after him. His friend’s Dad wanted him dead and Scott didn’t know any more if that would be such a terrible thing. His head was a mess, gaps missing in his memories and feelings rewritten by someone else until he didn’t know who he was anymore. All he wanted was to just make it stop. Power wasn’t worth this, it wasn’t what he wanted. He’d never asked for this. Could he even turn himself in? How could he ever explain that he was a rabid animal, no one would believe him.
Stiles recognized the boy at the window. That was Scott McCall, and Scott wasn’t even trying to lie to him. That meant something. There was proof screaming in their faces, but Scott still trusted him. Scott had all the chances in the world to silence Stiles, permanently.
Stiles opened the window.
He made the mistake of glancing at Scott, and felt sick to his stomach. Stiles closed his eyes. It didn’t help with the stench. It was so easy to take a human body apart.
"You’re a mess, dude. Take off your shoes and socks before you come in. Get a shower started. Leave your shit on the bathroom floor. I’ll take care of it." Stiles ordered, and they could both ignore how soft his tone had gotten. He’d thought about this before. An unhappy boy with friends who liked only what they chose to saw in him, he’d coped until he was strong enough to fight. Being a cop’s kid just made sure that he knew how to clean up his messes.
He’d wipe down his window sill. He’d look around for anything too damning. He’d cut up Scott’s clothes, cover them in oil and burn them in one of the old factories downtown. Hopefully that would be enough to distract him from thinking about how Scott’s frame shook, and how pale he looked in the moonlight. He wanted to reach out for him. He was terrified.
"Don’t argue. Just do it." He added, preemptively. "You owe me."
Scott didn’t say a word, just gave a shallow nod and pulled off his shoes before climbing inside. He moved slowly like he wasn’t sure if he body was going to betray him. It had never been like this before. He’d have dreams about hurting people, vivid and crystal clear, but he’d always wake up back in his bed like nothing had happened. Deep down, Scott knew they weren’t just dreams, especially when his fingernails were edged in dried blood in the morning, but it was easy to compartmentalize what happened. He’d never been left afterwards to fend for himself, did the hunters drive his alpha to ground?
“He usually takes care of everything.” Scott murmured, tongue feeling thick in his mouth and tripping over the words. He didn’t offer any other explanation, he couldn’t even look at Stiles as he quietly padded with bare feet across the boy’s room to the bathroom. Numb. He could do numb. He was a master at drifting off into his own head since before his Dad had left him. When Rafe McCall would storm through the house late at night, drunk and screaming until his mother cried, there was nowhere for Scott to run except to retreat into his own thoughts where it was safe.
His fingers fumbled with his clothes as he stripped down, too tired to be embarrassed. There wasn’t anything Stiles hadn’t seen before, though he’d never seen the smooth brown skin painted in blood. Even his body looked different, the edges sharper, the muscles more defined like whatever infection swam in his blood had burned away all the softer youthful curves. Scott hissed through his teeth as he pulled his shirt over his head, the fabric sticking to the deep puncture wound in his arm that still bleed profusely. He did his best not to leave spatter on the bathroom tiles as he turned on the shower hot enough to burn and stepped under the spray. The water swirled red around his feet as Scott tipped his head back, hoping he could feel clean again.
His Dad had too much work to do, and Stiles didn’t grill him about leaving this late in the evening. Stiles was thoroughly sick of listening to questions, and his own voice. It was easier not to see the loaded looks his father sent his way, or to look too closely at how his hand shook. The good thing about all this, Stiles tried to think, was that he had a few days off of school. That either meant he’d kill himself trying to figure out something painfully simple or he’d sleep until he could convince his brain to stop thinking.
Stiles loved a monster. He belonged on a Lady Gaga track.
He’d laugh except the shadows on his wall were fucking intimidating, and that hadn’t happened since he watched The Exorcist on his own when he was eight. He could still feel the solid weight of an unforgiving grip around his throat, and warm breath on his skin. Stiles pulled his blanket up to his chin. There was an unsent message on his phone, telling his Dad to come home; saying it wasn’t safe out there tonight.
At the sound of tapping, Stiles jerked in his bed, and wished he hadn’t. Scott looked like he’d been to Hell and back. It took Stiles a moment to realize that the monster would have broken through glass without hesitation.
It took too long to find his voice. Stiles tried to be more angry than afraid. He didn’t move from his spot, as he called out, “What do you want?”
He should have seen that coming. Stiles was afraid of him, probably hated him, and after what had happened, Scott couldn’t blame him. He could have killed the one person that ever really liked him, his closest friend. The person who made his heart do weird thumpity things in his chest. Scott was pretty sure he did kill that clerk tonight, he wasn’t even sure. Why did it feel so right in the moment and leave him broken after? Scott curled his fingers against the glass, pulling away like he’d been struck.
“I didn’t know where else go. I don’t have anyone that…I don’t have anyone.” The realization was harsh and Scott swallowed hard. His mother could never know and Derek didn’t help. The way the other wolf had looked at him had been terrifying and Scott didn’t know why. The only thing he did know was that he couldn’t trust Derek Hale. This was too much for him to take on alone but no one else would ever believe him.
This was a mistake. It seemed like screwing up was all he could do lately.
“I’m sorry.” Those words couldn’t mean all he needed them to. “I just wanted to make sure you were okay. I-I didn’t mean…I don’t know what’s happening to me. I’m so sorry.” Scott turned away, he couldn’t face this. He’d go home, clean the wound in his arm, and try to figure out what to do. There had to be an answer somewhere, he couldn’t be the only one.
Blood smeared on his throat, and Stiles knew he was going to die. There was nothing he could do about it. There had been a moment, painfully brief and agonizingly long, that Stiles dared hope he was reaching Scott. A strangled plea escaped him, barely more than a shaky exhale of syllables. He could have fought back. He should have tried. His body was locked in place, frozen with panicked tremors.
The person who was going to kill him was the only person Stiles wanted to say goodbye to.
Then pain exploded across his back. Stiles didn’t get up. He’d missed his shot at witty last words.
When Stiles came to, his dad’s hand was in his hair, and there were flashing lights everywhere. The room smelled like rust, and there were too many people talking. It took Stiles a second to realize someone was talking to him. It didn’t take him much longer to realize that they didn’t appreciate his claims of monsters attacking video stores. No one commented on the name he called out when he first came to.
Stiles let himself be swept up in basic procedure, uncharacteristically cooperative with well-meaning medical staff and officers. They cleared him of suspicion almost immediately, but it was easy to guess that the pointed looks his doctors shared didn’t bode well for his credibility. That was okay. Stiles wasn’t sure he could conclude what he’d seen, but he thought himself into a corner - again, and again, and again.
When his Dad left his room, Stiles didn’t turn off the lights.
The alpha was gone and Scott felt a moment of panic, searching for their connection as he paced through the shadows of the Preserve. He needed the reassurance, his thoughts scrambled and terrified. This wasn’t what he wanted! The alpha had promised that they were doing the right thing. He said Scott would be strong and that nothing could ever hurt him again, but he didn’t say anything about hurting innocent people who got in the way. Without the connection to the other wolf soothing away his doubts, this all just felt like murder. It was wrong, he knew it was wrong but he couldn’t stop. He liked it and the whole thing twisted in his stomach until Scott doubled over, retching and sick.
He didn’t want this! Scott just wanted to go and pretend none of this was real.
He didn’t hear the footsteps until it was too late, arrow whistling through the air and piercing through his arm to pin him to a tree. The wolf howled in pain, struggling to pull the barbed bolt from his flesh. Rough hands yanked him free in a spray of blood, hauling him to his feet and shoving him hard.
“Run, you idiot!”
Scott ran until his lungs burned as if his asthma threatened to return and the Hale threw him down to the dirt to scream at him. Hunters, the alpha, none of it made any sense. It wasn’t until the boy snarled at the older wolf, eyes flaring a bright blue that Derek hesitated, clearly shocked. Scott didn’t understand why, making his escape and leaving a disgruntled Derek behind.
It was late by the time he got home, completely dark and the streets empty. He cradled his wounded arm, jersey ruined and torn, stained with dirt and blood. His house was quiet and not a single light shone from the windows. Mom must be working late tonight. The moon was waning but as it rose over the rooftops, Scott felt the touch of proprietary satisfaction slide though the back of his mind and shook. He couldn’t be alone tonight, not with the quiet call trying to coax him back into the darkness and hunters lurking somewhere trying to track him down like an animal.
He hadn’t meant to end up outside of Stiles’s house, but he didn’t know where else to go and his feet took him to the one place that might give him refuge if there was such a thing after tonight. Scaling up the trellis was easy and he picked out the right window, tapping bloodstained fingertips gently against the glass.