The news was playing in the kitchen as Sophia entered. Her mother was intently paying attention to the reporter causing Sophia to become interested in whatever event had happened the day before. As Sophia filled up her massive travel mug with coffee, she half listened to the story; she had come in towards the end of it.
"...Malia Tate has been reunited with her father..." Sophia looked over at the name, seeing a picture of a girl around Sophia's age come up on the side of the screen.
"Wait, they found her?" Sophia asked over to reporter's closing remarks. Her mother turned to look at her, nodding with a warm smile.
"Yeah, honey, they did." Her mother looked teary eyed, "Something short of a miracle, if we're being honest." Sophia gave her mother a tight smile and nodded. "Come on, we have to get going." Her mother gestured for Sophia to move along, "If you want to talk about it, you can stop by my office." Her mother offered as Sophia tried to wrap her head around the fact that Malia was alive and well.
She, along with the rest of the town, had accepted that Malia had been dragged off and killed by coyotes. But during the car ride to school, Sophia checked her phone to see that the story that Malia had been found, unharmed, broke across all of the networks earlier that morning. Her mother was right, it was nothing short of a miracle.
The news hadn't reached the school yet and even if it did, no one cared. It was Mischief Night, which meant the school was chaotic with people throwing toilet paper, spraying each other with silly string and playing pranks on each other throughout the day. Sophia shielded herself with her hands as a classmate sprayed her with silly string, grinning at her laugh before running away to attack another person.
Laughing to herself, Sophia walked through the hallway, dodging some of the pranksters and the flying objects. With everything going on, Sophia had almost forgotten about Mischief Night and Halloween, especially Danny's Halloween party. Luckily, he was waiting at her locker to remind her. He gave her all the details of the party: when and where, how long it was going to be, who was expected to show up, etc. etc.
"You sure you don't want me to chip in for some of the supplies?" Danny asked her, shifting his weight against the locker he was leaning against.
"I've got it covered." Sophia assured him, even though she had yet to go shopping yet. It would have to be something she did after school. She silently cursed herself for putting it off for so long and hoped there would still be paints available.
"Thank you, Sophia, seriously. Wouldn't be a paint party without you." Danny grinned at her and Sophia lifted the corner of her mouth up in a half smile at the compliment.
Before Sophia could say anything, Danny pushed off of the locker and quickly sprayed her with some silly string he had been hiding. Sophia let out a startled yelp that dissipated into an amused laugh as she cleared it from her eyes.
"See ya, Sophia." Danny winked at her before walking away, picking up his pace to attack someone else with his silly string. Sophia rolled her eyes and laughed as she watched him go.
Danny's silly string attack was a direct hit and Sophia figured getting the stuff out of her hair and face was more important than her first period. She ducked into the girls' bathroom, ignoring the first bell and dropping her backpack to the floor by the sinks. Stepping up to the sink, Sophia started to pull out the chunks of silly string from her hair.
Since she had worn her hair up in a messy bun, it wasn't that hard, but there was still a lot of it. She plucked it from her shirt collar and tights, seeing that some of it had even gotten onto her flats. Sophia made a noise of semi disgust as she flicked her hands off, trying to get the silly string into the sink or trash can. She wasn't annoyed at what had happened - Mischief Night had always been one of her favorite days, and Halloween was one of her favorite holidays. It had just been a while since she had done anything to celebrate either.
As she finished cleaning herself up, Sophia heard Stiles' voice coming from out in the hall. She reached for a few paper towels and started for the door. Slowly, Sophia pulled open the bathroom door, peering out through the small crack. The hallway was empty - everyone was in their respective first periods. There was no sign of Stiles.
Making an annoyed noise to herself, Sophia stepped away from the door, letting it shut. The bathroom was right next to a classroom - maybe Stiles was in the room next door and she was just hearing him answer a question. Sophia gathered up her things and walked out of the bathroom, hearing Stiles' voice again,
"I'm helping you."
Sophia's brow furrowed as she spun around; it sounded like Stiles was right behind her. But there was nothing but empty hallway that was littered with the leftovers of the morning celebrations.
"We have a common enemy."
There it was again. Sophia turned the other way, noticing how Stiles' voice sounded. Cold, emotionless, and sort of threatening. A shiver went up Sophia's spine and she tried to shake off the feeling. Taking in a breath, Sophia felt her bun move with her head as she shook it back and forth. She was just imagining it - the day of the year was making her think of something scary.
The day seemed to keep on theme with the slightly terrifying things happening; after her lunch period, which was spent in the library because she didn't feel like hanging out with Mallory's friends, Mallory grabbed her in the hallway.
"Did you hear about the lockdown?" She made her eyes wide as the two walked through the buzzing hallways.
"No, what?" Sophia's brow furrowed as she looked around to see other students were crowding up, talking closely and looked unnerved.
"Apparently there was this guy, Barrow, I think?" Mallory's brow furrowed, "Anyway, a few years ago he killed a bunch of kids and he escaped the hospital and the cops think he's here."
"Holy shit." Sophia breathed out, feeling her anxiety flare up, "Wait, do you mean Barrow as in the Sharpnel Bomber dude who blew up that bus of kids because they had glowing eyes?"
"Yeah, maybe, I don't know the whole story." Mallory was obviously unfazed by it all. If anything, it got her a few more free periods, but Sophia was beginning to tense up at the thought of a bomber in their school.
"I should go find my mom." Sophia nodded quickly and Mallory slipped her arm from where it was linked through Sophia's, "Make sure she's okay."
"Okay, yeah." Mallory nodded, "Hey, don't worry, okay?" She reached out to her, "The cops are already here, they don't think he's in the school. Just around here." Sophia nodded, knowing Mallory was just trying to calm her down a bit. "And we both know we're too pretty to die." She threw a wink in Sophia's direction before spinning around and bouncing off to meet up with her actual friends. Sophia let out a sad laugh as a late reaction to Mallory's joke before turning and hurrying to the guidance office.
The door to her mother's office was locked and the shade was down. Sophia leaned her ear against the door and tried to hear if there was anyone in there, but she couldn't hear anything but muffled movement. Her brow furrowed and Sophia tried to door handle again, almost as if in the moment that had passed, it had become magically unlocked. It hadn't.
Sighing, Sophia turned around and surveyed the students that were still milling around. They all looked as unfazed as Mallory had. It seemed like the lockdown was just a precaution, like there was nothing to actually freak out about. Maybe it wasn't that big of a deal, but Sophia still felt a small knot of anxiety form as she thought about Barrow being in or around their school. The story had made it's circulation around town, even though it didn't happen in Beacon Hills.
The man was an electrical engineer, a crazy one at that, who placed a bomb disguised as a present on a bus full of kids. It went off, killed four and injured one. Stuff like that always made Sophia's stomach roll in disgust and anxiety; she started wondering what she would do in a situation like that. Probably just give up and die. And every time something like that happened in Beacon Hills: the Hale fire, the murder in the Hale house, her classmate Matt and his serial killing, Ms. Blake … all of it caused so much anxiety in Sophia. She couldn't handle another situation like that.
Needing to calm herself down, Sophia went into the art room. It was empty during her last period and Sophia was grateful for the silence. She settled down at her easel, letting her bag drop to the ground as she tightened her bun a bit. The charcoal was on the smaller table next to her and Sophia let it roll around in between her fingers before she pressed it to the paper. Her mind drifted as the charcoal made strokes against the paper.
Even though a few days had passed since Sophia's latest vision or hallucination or whatever the hell it was, she still never talked to Scott or Stiles about it. In the moment, she wanted to know what was happening to her, how they were involved and the steps to make it stop. But she hadn't had one since hanging out with Kira. Her dreams had been nothing but a confusing mess, which was what they usually were. Sure Stiles and Scott frequented them, but not in a weird or sexual way. Things had been getting back to normal - until Barrow had been spotted around the high school.
The art room door clattered open, startling Sophia and making her look up at the hurried entrance of Stiles and Lydia. At the sight of her, they paused just as fast as they came in. Sophia swallowed and ducked her head down, trying to appear small and non threatening. Quickly, she gathered up her things, not wanting to stick around to get interrogated by Stiles, which she knew he would do - even though she had a perfectly good reason for being in the studio.
"I was just leaving." Sophia hurriedly said, not knowing what was going on or why they were together or really anything, but understanding fully that she was not in the position to have any of the answers.
Stiles squinted at her, following her movement as she walked up to them. He had that look in his eye, the one where he was trying to figure something out - Sophia had seen it many times when they were kids and would play guessing games. But Lydia barely glanced at her, instead, looking around the room like she was looking for something specific.
As Sophia went to walk past them, Stiles moved to the easel she was working on, wanting to see what she had been drawing. Sophia left it there, forgetting to tear it off in the process of trying to get out as fast as possible. But at the sound of tearing paper, Sophia turned around to see Stiles holding up the paper, keeping what Sophia had drawn facing him.
"What is it?" Lydia asked, stepping forward a bit.
"It's nothing." Sophia pushed past Lydia, reaching out to rip the paper from Stiles' hand. She didn't even bother to look at it, crumpling it up in her hand, "Just a stupid drawing." Her eyes flitted from Lydia to Stiles as she mumbled a lame excuse. Stiles was still looking at her like he was trying to figure something out.
"I'll go now." Sophia ducked her head down, feeling embarrassed. She took two steps back, avoiding looking back up at Stiles and Lydia before turning and hurrying out of the art room. She let the door close behind her and rested against the wall next to the door.
Letting out a slow breath, Sophia tried to calm herself down. For some reason, she felt caught. Like she had been doing something wrong and not just drawing a...Sophia uncrumbled the paper to see a box wrapped up like a present, bow included, neatly drawn out in the center of the page with the words "Happy Birthday Coach" written out above in in her loopy script. Not understanding it, Sophia tossed it into the trash can and started down the hallway.
Before she knew it, Sophia found herself in front of the Chemistry lab. She couldn't come with a reason as to why she ended up there, but it didn't stop her from going into the room. The room was empty but there were three different numbers written on the board.
Sophia walked towards the chalkboard, trying to figure out what the numbers meant. She studied them for a moment before pulling out one of her notebooks. Jotting down the numbers, Sophia looked up and around the room, feeling like they meant something she just couldn't figure out what.
Then, she spotted the large periodic table hanging above the chalkboard. The numbers represented different element. A feeling of pride swelled inside of Sophia, only because she had semi figured it out. She wrote down the corresponding element and symbol underneath the number, not even aware that some of the elements were that atomic number or symbol.
"Potassium, Iodine, Radium." Sophia whispered to herself. She wasn't smart in the sciences or maths or really anything but it still didn't stop her from trying to figure out the formula.
Double checking the numbers against the table, Sophia made sure she had the formula correct. The numbers she wrote down were the same ones on the board. Sophia used her phone for some help, coming up with the fact that Potassium and Iodine could work together. And yet, there was no formula that those three could make. Feeling frustrated, Sophia stepped away from her notebook, looking back at the numbers. They looked awfully familiar, but it might have just been because she had been staring at them for a bit - like what happens when you write a word over and over again and it starts to look wrong.
The fire alarm started to blare, causing Sophia to look up and away from the board. She gathered her things up, shoving her notebook into her backpack and went out of the classroom, not noticing that Barrow was watching her from the Chemistry closet.
Sophia filed out of the school along with the rest of the student body. It was already three and most of the students just started to head for their cars. Sophia looked around to see her mother was coming out of the school, talking with Mrs. Martin about something or other. Feeling relief wash over her at the sight of her mother, Sophia started towards her. She kept her head down, avoiding Stiles and Scott and their ever expanding group of friends - which now included the new twins, one that Danny had been hooking up with for a while.
"Hi, honey." Sophia's mother greeted her as Mrs. Martin walked away from her, "How was your day?" Sophia reacted quite visibily, making a face and gesturing to what was going on around her,
"Uh, not great." Sophia looked back at her mother, "Did you not hear about the lockdown?"
"I did." Helen nodded as she began their walk back to the car, "I'm sorry I wasn't around to talk to you about it. I was in a meeting all afternoon with Natalie Martin and the principal discussing Mrs. Martin's new position." Sophia briefly reacted to that, but decided to continue on with the bigger issue at hand.
"Mom, Barrow was here, okay? A supposed bomber was here."
"No, he was spotted around here. Sheriff Stilinski put the school on lockdown just in case he came back." Helen looked to her daughter, trying to calm her down. There was no reason Sophia needed to get so worked up about nothing.
The sheriff and Agent McCall had discussed Barrow with the faculty during the morning when he first escaped his surgery. It was just a tip that had led them to the school, not a sighting. The sheriff's department had the situation under control and needed the faculty to keep the students calm - act like nothing was going on until they found Barrow. But once a different sighting came in, the sheriff's department left a few men to patrol the school while others were sent out. There had been no sign of Barrow for the rest of the afternoon. The lockdown was lifted at three and the students were free to go.
Helen relayed all of this information to Sophia during their drive home. In turn, Sophia opened up about how the situation made her feel - to her mother's satisfaction. Once the McBride women arrived home, Sophia asked if she could use the car to pick up some body paints for Danny's Halloween party. Helen agreed, but told Sophia that she had to wait until after dinner. Not sure why since they never made a big deal out of dinner, Sophia was confused when the doorbell rang with supposed dinner guests.
"Mr. Tate." Sophia's brow furrowed as she saw Mr. Tate on their stoop. Confusion turned to surprise when her gaze flicked over to see Malia standing next to Mr. Tate. She looked uncomfortable, was shivering despite the jacket she had on and her eyes kept darting around like she was aware of something Sophia wasn't.
"Holy shit, it's really you." Sophia breathed out at the sight of an old quasi friend. Malia's eyes flicked over to meet Sophia's and her eyes widened slightly before her brow furrowed like she was trying to place Sophia.
"Malia, you remember Sophia, right?" At the sound of Sophia's name, Malia's features softened. A small, relieved smile came over Sophia's face at Malia's reaction. Sophia couldn't help herself, feeling overcome with emotion and having a friend again, that she stepped forward and pulled Malia into her arms in a tight hug. She let out a small laugh of relief at the solidness she felt; it was real. She was real. It took Malia a second to respond, slowly putting her arms around Sophia.
"Oh, good, you're here!" Hearing her mother's voice, Sophia stepped out of the hug. Her mother stepped up to the side of the door, "Well, don't just stand out there, come in, come in." Her mother gestured for Mr. Tate and Malia to come into the house and Sophia stepped to the side to let them in. As Malia passed her, her hand went out to grab Sophia's. She squeezed it tightly, so tightly, Sophia thought her hand was going to break. But her skin was cold and when Sophia looked up at Malia, she was met with a worried look.
"It's ok." Sophia reassured her, "Helen's cooking has improved greatly over the last eight years." Sophia tried to make a joke, trigger a memory and get Malia to stop looking like that. Malia nodded at her, letting out a shaky breath as her gaze shifted from Sophia to her father. And Sophia realized it wasn't worry in Malia's eyes, but guilt.
Dinner wasn't some big event in the McBride household and it was no different when Malia and her father were at the table. Just two extra bodies, but it was clear Sophia's mother was trying to do something nice for a former friend of the family. Sophia made sure to stay away from topics like Barrow or what happened eight years ago. Instead, all of them caught up and a very shallow dinner conversation. There was no mention of how Malia miraculously reappeared or where she was for the past eight years - and Sophia was sure she would never know; the girls were never that close. They had relied on their mothers for their friendship and obviously that had changed over the years.
But Sophia still wanted to try and be Malia's friend. So after dinner, Sophia made a promise to herself that she would reach out again to Malia, make an effort instead of just waiting for something to happen. The same thing she had been doing with Kira and it seemed to be working.
Once the Tates left, Sophia took the car to the local art store. She frequented the place so often, the owners knew her face and name. They were happy to help her find the specific body paints she wanted, giving her the exact colors that would look best under the UV lights. Even if Sophia wasn't good at science, she knew how colors worked under different lights and knew there was a specific chemical needed so that the designs would glow or not. Phosphors, they were called.
Using her backpack as her purse, Sophia dug around for her wallet. It was at the bottom of her backpack so Sophia took out a few things to make it easier to get to her money. She set the few notebooks on the counter, giving an apologetic smile to the cashier. Trying not to feel self conscious about taking so long to find her wallet, Sophia dug around her bag until her hand hit the wallet. She quickly handed over a few crumpled up bills, knowing it was enough before stuffing her things back into her bag. In her rush, she knocked over one of her notebooks and it fell open to the page where she had been jotting down the numbers from the Chemistry lab.
Crouching down, Sophia picked it up and studied it again as she stood up straight. She slipped her backpack back over her shoulders and then grabbed her bag of supplies. Glancing up for a quick second to bid thanks and goodbye to the cashier, Sophia walked out of the art store and to her car. She got into the driver's seat, tossing her things onto the passenger seat and starting the car up. The numbers still didn't make any sense to her and even as she drove away from the store, she found herself making turns to get to the school.
Not knowing what she would find, but just wanting to figure it out, Sophia went into the school, knowing there was no night security and there was almost always one door unlocked. She hurried up to the Chemistry lab to see that the lights were off and it was just as empty as before. Sophia flicked the lights on, letting the chalkboard become easier to see as she walked towards it. The numbers were still on the board, still looking just as familiar. She knew that handwriting, she knew it.
Rubbing her hand over her mouth, Sophia let her backpack drop onto one of the lab tables and went rummaging through it. She compared her handwriting to the numbers, knowing it wasn't her, but just wanting to make sure. Then she went into her folders, pulling out her peer reviewed quizzes and such. She held up the papers to the board, checking the numbers against the grades. There was a growing pile of "unmatched" ones before she landed on one that matched up with the eight and the nine. Her paper was from her History class and signed with SS - Stiles' initials.
"Of course." Sophia dejectedly sighed out; there was no way she was going to get any answers now.
But before Sophia could linger on it any longer, the lights suddenly went out - plunging her into darkness.
A/N: Let me know your thoughts please!