Hey! So, obviously I had to write this one shot. I was rolling the idea around when Cuppa-Char (who has amazing stories, by the way – check them out!) told me I needed to do it. So… it happened.
Because, we all know that Stiles can be a bit of an asshole, especially to those he doesn't deem as 'important.' But when it comes to the people he's friends/family with? ALL self-preservation instincts just disappear when they're in trouble. And it got to me how horrifying thinking you've been shot and having blood/brain matter all over your face would be. Not to mention, you can'tfreak out because your friends are dying.
So, I wrote this story about afterit all. When he's finally allowed to freak out.
But I'm Only Human
"Hey, where's Stiles?"
Scott peers up at his father – his father – in shock. Firstly, he never expected that sentence to be laced with worry in regards to his best friend from his dad. Secondly, he's stunned he didn't even notice the teen was gone. But when Scott peers around, the site of the school still in frantics from the quarantine as everyone tries to find their loved one, Scott frowns. "I-I—" Scott finds himself saying. "I don't know."
He can see Kira over by her father and even Malia hasn't left, despite the waves of disgust and contempt rolling off of her. Lydia's rushing over to Scott as he scans the grounds of the school, a clear sense of relief washing over her as she makes eye contact. "Scott!" She cries, reaching him and enveloping him in a hug. "Thank God you're alright."
She clings to him for a moment before letting go, clearly noticing his distraction. "Scott," Lydia says slowly, as if she doesn't quite want to know the answer. "Scott, is everything okay?"
Scott looks up to his dad for answers, the first time he's ever done so. Because he has no idea. "Dad? What's going on?"
Agent McCall is talking into his radio, his eyebrows pulled down in concern. "—has anyone seen him leave the premises? Has he been accounted for in the roll call?"
"Dad." Scott snaps, his patience of the situation diminishing into nothing.
Agent McCall sighs when he receives a negative confirmation. "Stilinski!" he calls to the Sheriff and waves him over, sighing in a way that Scott recognizes that he's about to do something he doesn't want to do.
The Sheriff approaches, his visage drawn and tired. "Look McCall, can it wait? I still have to speak with the CDC and I haven't been able to track Stiles down anywhere—"
"It's about Stiles," Agent McCall says, cutting off the Sheriff's manic rambling. "Does he still have panic attacks like he used to?"
The Sheriff stills. His next words are very careful. "What are you referring to, McCall?"
"We need to find him,"
"He was fine," Scott interjects, unable to push down the gnawing fear that he was accidentally lying. "We saw him – when he came and told us about the cure, he was fine. He was fine."
"Because he had something to focus on," Agent McCall groans. "I learned from an early age that when Stiles has something important to focus on, it can put everything else on hold."
"What are you saying, McCall?" The Sheriff repeats, his voice going slightly higher.
"The assassin," Agent McCall sighs. "The assassin that unleased the virus on the school? He had Stiles as point blank range. I couldn't really hear what they were saying, but he was counting to three. And, just as he got to three, I shot him." Agent McCall blinks, as if he's stunned by his own actions. The Sheriff looks horrified. "I-I didn't think. I didn't think to shoot him in the leg or the shoulder. I shot him straight in the head as he counted to three. It was just… instinct. I know that he and I have had differences, but he's still the kid who used to run around my old house. The kid who fell out of the tree in our yard and the one who asked me if I've ever committed a felony when he was nine." He runs his hand down his face. "The residual splatter got all over him and I saw this moment in his eyes – before the guy fell to the ground, before he could logically figure out what was going on – that he thought the guy shot him. I don't know why he had a gun to Stiles' head, but Stiles looked so prepared, resolute, but terrified about it. We just need to find him and make sure he's okay."
Scott, who couldn't help but pale and grow slightly faint at that monologue, whips his head in the direction of the school. "Oh my God," he whispers.
He takes one second of freak-out time. Then he sprints into the school.
"Stiles!" Scott calls out, his voice frantic. He can hear a thudding of boots behind him, knowing his father and the Sheriff aren't far behind him. And if he really focuses, he can hear the faint sound of heels clicking. "Stiles, where are you?"
A skittering heartbeat faintly comes into focus. Scott slides to a halt, putting his hand up so that the severe noise from the panicked footsteps behind him would stop. "Wait," he breathes, wildly looking around. "Lydia? Lydia, can you hear anything?"
Lydia approaches him, slightly out of breath. "Water." She states, her eyes wide. "Somewhere with water." She looks at her hands that have paled, the tips of her fingers blue. "Cold water."
"Locker room," Scott finishes.
The group of them sprint there, Scott slamming into the door as the sound of running water gets louder. He runs to the showers, but freezes when he sees it.
Stiles crouches on the ground on his hands and knees, the water from the shower pelting his back. His hands are scrunched into fists and his face is screwed into something of extreme concentration, but he's panting as though he's just ran a marathon. "Come on," he breathes, his chest hitching as he urges himself. "G-Get it together. Come on."
He continues this pleading with himself, but his breathing gets more haggard as it continues.
"Stiles!" Scott exclaims, running to his best friend, trying to ignore the icy water that showers on him.
Stiles' head whips up from the ground, his eyes widening. "N-No!" He breathes. His lips are tinged a pale blue, but Scott isn't sure whether it's from the cold or lack of oxygen. Either way, it's not reassuring. "I can get i-it under control. I c-can—"
Scott feels like he's about to leap out of his skin when Sheriff Stilinski appears at his side, pushing him out of the way. In a swift movement, the Sheriff grabs Stiles' arms and drags him into his lap. Stiles looks for a moment like he wants to fight it – out of what, embarrassment, instinct, or what have you – but allows himself to be man-handled onto his father's lap. The Sheriff then grabs his forearms so they wrap around his chest, holding him there.
The room is weirdly quiet.
Sure, Scott knows the shower's still running and that Lydia and his father are watching, horrified next to him. He's even sure that their breathing is louder than Stiles at this point, but instead everything feels really quiet.
There's still a tinge of pink on his shirt. The water only helped make it a little lighter, but spread it around like someone left a red sock in the washer. Most of the blood is gone from his face, despite a few droplets clinging to his eyelids like some sort of sadistic eye shadow. Scott resists the urge to go over and wipe off.
"…ott. Scott. Scott!"
Scott's brought out of his reverie when he realizes the Sheriff has been shouting at him. "Yeah?"
"Mind turning off the water for me, kid?"
Scott almost flails in his attempt to turn the water off, finally realizing that Stiles' heart rate has slowed and his breathing – while not perfect – is no longer scary.
He clings to his father's jacket, which is now waterlogged, leaning his head against the Sheriff's shoulders with his eyes closed. "I thought I could get it under control," he mutters breathily, not opening his eyes. "Usually, cold water helps. I thought I could get it under control without… without anyone knowing."
"Stiles," the Sheriff mutters. Whether it's exasperation or endearment, Scott can't tell. Probably a little of both.
Stiles lifts up a weak hand and pats his dad's arm. "S'kay, Pops," Stiles sighs. "Just a usual Stiles meltdown. Not like it's new."
"Stiles," The Sheriff warns, his voice edging on dangerous.
Scott walks over and crouches down so he can be on the same eye level as Stiles, even if he refuses to open his eyes. "Why was he going to shoot you, Stiles?" Scott asks softly. He wants to add "because you're just a human" to the sentence, but can't with present company included. He hopes Stiles reads into it. "Why?"
Stiles shrugs. "My sarcasm has the ability to make people want to kill me."
Scott can hear his father snort behind him. He tries to ignore the glare the Sheriff is giving him. "Come on," he continues. "You know what I'm asking, Stiles."
Finally, Stiles opens his eyes. They're tired and frightened and panicked and exhausted and unfocused and Scott has a hard time looking in them. "Do you really think I would tell him where you are? Do you think that little of me?" He asks in a small voice.
"Of course I don't, but," Scott's chest freezes. "That's not your decision to make."
"The hell it is!" Stiles exclaims, anger now added to the concoction of emotion in his eyes. "I thought you were dead, Scott. Dead. When you wouldn't answer the door? I thought you had died. That I was too late. Do you know what that felt like? To be stuck on the wrong side of a fucking wall, when you can't do anything? I would take a hundred panic attacks and almost-shootings to never feel that again."
Stiles calms down, his breathing picking up until it sounds like the after effects of horrible chain smoking. "I can't lose you, Scott," he says quietly. "You're my brother. I can't lose any more of my family. I-I'm not strong enough to handle it. I'm just not."
Scott doesn't know what to say to that. And it's selfish – what the two of them have. Stiles is willing to leave his father alone and Scott recently risked the lives of the entire town to make sure his brother came back to him. It's as if self-preservation is nothing but a word when the other is faint.
But it's what they have.
Scott reaches out and grabs his hand, flinching at how cold he is. He knows that they probably need to get him heated up at one point – God knows how long he sat under the showerhead, desperately trying to get his breathing to calm down – but he knows there's no moving him at this point. "If you're going to do that, Stiles?" Scott says, blinking away a few tears. "You're just going to have to take me with you."
Stiles looks up from the ground, his eyes watery. Scott tries to ignore the pain etched on the Sheriff's face or the brokenness in Lydia's as she has to look away. He even has to actively ignore his father, someone he never had trouble ignoring, who's staring at the two boys as if they're insane.
Scott grabs the sides of Stiles face and touches their foreheads together. It helps. It feels tangible and real. They're both there, alive.
"You can't ever do that again, Stiles," Scott breathes, closing his eyes. "Ever again."
Stiles is quiet for a moment. He lets out a quaky breath.
"I can't promise that."
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