Author's note:/ This fic is going to be Sterek eventually. A few points of plot are loosely inspired by the movie The Invisible (2007), though it isn't a crossover and won't have any of the characters or anything. You definitely don't have to see the movie to understand it, though the movie is pretty good. In this fic, Erica and Boyd are alive, but Malia and Kira aren't in it. Now, I hope you enjoy the first chapter!

"Come on, come on . . ." Stiles muttered under his breath as he restlessly paced the length of his room while the ominous trill of the empty dial tone rang in his ear from his phone. The moment he heard the monotonous disembodied voice of his best friend's voicemail, his ever-building frustration burst out of him in a filthy curse and the very un-smart decision to throw his phone in whichever direction, followed by the tell-tail crunch of a shattered screen.

Stiles covered his face with his hands and let his head tilt back to look heavenward, letting a lengthy sigh blow out between his fingers. After a silent moment to ensure that he didn't just combust, he sought out his cell phone again. But it was all in vain, since when he did find it, it was completely done for. Stiles swore again and resumed his pacing.

You see, that was exactly why Stiles always tried his best to keep the peace in the pack! Because having fights with your friends, and subsequently being ignored by said friends, was really not a good idea when living in a town that was monster-prone and when there was a freaking human in the pack!

Well, perhaps just calling it 'fighting' was oversimplifying it far too much. Realistically? It was more accurate to say that his friendship with his long-time best friend had slowly been circling the drain for months—maybe even ever since that night in the woods when Scott had been bitten—and the recent brutal verbal showdowns and resulting avoidance was only a byproduct of all of that.

But, usually they were able to ignore and look past their problems in the face of so many life or death situations.

Stiles and Scott hadn't been on 'good terms' since the Nogitsune, but with everything that followed that, it had only gotten worse. Canceled plans, avoiding Stiles during school, leaving Stiles out of absolutely everything right up until the moment that Scott had no one else to rely on and had to call him. . . And when they actually worked together, Scott would inevitably be set off by something Stiles said or did and it would turn into an all-out war between them. At first, Stiles was unused to such hostility from his friend and would match Scott tit for tat on each harsh insult he threw.

But eventually, as Stiles settled into the reality of what had happened to him during his possession from the Nogitsune, as Stiles truly began to break down and take a look at all of the damage that had been dealt him from that monster, he slowly started to lose his will to defend himself against Scott. He was a mess that night—a few weeks after he'd defeated the Nogitsune—as it was right about then that he stopped dissociating from the trauma and it felt like the paper ribbons holding him together had finally torn. He felt broken, used, violated—like someone had broken into his house that only he should be allowed to enter and it would never be his own again.

Then, like a rolling storm from overhead, came the fear. Stiles didn't sleep for days on end, too terrified he'd never wake up and be imprisoned inside his own mind once more. His panic attacks were a regular occurrence, he barely left his house—the summer vacation meant no obligation to school—he often forgot to keep up with regular meals and hygiene, and most of his time was spent either counting his fingers/reading to make sure he was actually awake or staring at the walls of his bedroom.

In short, Stiles became a complete wreck! And while he was trying his damnedest to mold himself back into a functioning human being, Scott had taken his frustration out on Stiles. Not that Stiles really blamed Scott—and perhaps that was why Stiles eventually stopped fighting back—he knew that he'd done some horrible things while the Nogitsune possessed him—god, Allison, for one thing—and though he knew he had no way of controlling them in the moment, the fact that it had been a monster wearing his face, and that even looking at Stiles probably reminded Scott of the loss of his first and arguably greatest loves. . . it wasn't really helping Stiles to not blame himself and he knew he was allowing himself to bare some of Scott's hatred.

The constant fighting was hard, but it wasn't just the fighting and butting heads that carved deeper valleys between them—it was the loss of trust. Plain and simple, Scott didn't trust Stiles, and when it came to Scott, there was also the hidden parenthesized (etc.) that meant the pack wouldn't trust him as well. Scott wasn't the Alpha, Derek was, but Scott was a leader in his own right and an actual werewolf. By all definitions Scott outranked Stiles by a mile.

And, honestly, with all of that resentment directed at him recently and no one to support Stiles, his resilience was beginning to fade and it was becoming harder and harder to trust that someday his friend would return to him, forgive him. He knew that Scott was always a bit short-sighted and didn't always consider the people around him, but lately, it was becoming harder to count that as a natural character flaw or the need to relieve pressure as he grieved instead of it being completely intentional and downright cruel.

Stiles would always stand by his brother, but he had lost his faith in that being mutual when it came to Scott.

But what lead up to the present wasn't really important. All that mattered was what was the current situation, which was this: Stiles hadn't seen or heard from any of the pack all weekend (no surprise there, probably off saving the town or generally avoiding the new pariah), his dad was currently on a big case and had barely been home all week and probably wouldn't even sleep in his own bed until it was finished, nobody was picking up their fucking phones, and Stiles had come home from grocery shopping that evening to find one hell of a 'gift' on his bed.

Positioned perfectly on his pillow were two polaroid pictures that made his blood run cold. The first was of his dad and the second of himself, but not just any old pictures of them out and about, taken from afar. The pictures were of them asleep—Stiles in his bed and the sheriff slumped over his desk on some case files—and if what he saw in the light of the harsh flash of his own picture, they were taken just last night. Stiles felt ready to shudder right out of his own skin at the thought of someone standing over him as he slept and being able to take a picture—with flash—without him knowing.

However, the disgust he felt for his own picture couldn't hold a candle to the utter dread he felt at the thought of someone getting so close to his dad while he was unaware. Not only that, but his dad's phone had something his didn't—a rusted brown smudge over the sheriffs sleeping face, it was cracked and flaking and if his experience with it over the past few years was anything to go by, he'd say it was definitely blood. It was clear as day what that was intended as. A threat.

On the white back of his photo was the messy scrawl of an address and the short message to 'come alone, at midnight.' If it weren't for the sheer insanity that was Stiles' life, he might have believed that this was just your run-of-the-mill psycho with a grudge against the sheriff. However, in Beacon Hills, there was no hope of that being the case.

His first instinct had been to call the pack, of course, but after calling everyone who even remotely knew about the supernatural world, getting no answer, and leaving an unholy amount of voice messages on Scott's phone to call him back asap, he knew he was thoroughly screwed. Stiles tried to ignore the growing ache in his chest at the thought of being ignored in a time of need. Because that's the thing, isn't it? It can't be that they're all too busy at that exact moment to answer his call, even if something crazy was going on. So, at least some of them just couldn't be bothered to pick up the phone when he was on the other end.

Stiles shook his head to try to drain away some of the rapidly flooding thoughts of absent panic filling his head and took one last regretful look at where his phone had impacted the wall before turning back to the digital clock on his bedside. It was far too close to midnight to try to physically track down any of his 'conditional friends' in the hopes that they might be willing to protect his dad while he sorted things out.

And if Stiles looked back on that very moment later on, he would admit to not being in his right mind when making the decision to fly solo. Months of painful fighting and isolation had devastated his support system and left him constantly feeling uprooted and unbalanced. On top of that, the tell tail ache in his stomach and behind his eyes from constant sleep deprivation did not leave him in the most rational state to begin with.

Stiles ran down to his jeep, photos still clutched in his hand. Jumping in, he peeled out of there, not wanting to risk being a moment too late.

After almost getting lost, twice, Stiles arrived in a neighborhood of Beacon Hills that he wasn't even sure was a part of the town and a place he was least familiar with. The neighborhood was so immaculate and luxurious, Stiles half expected at any time to be greeted by a fleet of Stepford Wives. Driving past the looming, wealthy suburban homes in the middle of the night, he was suddenly reminded of his old bully-turned kanima-turned werewolf that had bowed out of this madness a while back and moved to London—not a bad thought from where Stiles was sitting at the moment—as he was sure Jackson had probably lived in that neighborhood, or one just like it.

Stiles finally came to a stop before a house just as unnecessarily big and ostentatious as all the others in the neighborhood and had to check the address with the one on the back of the photo several times before actually stepping out of his jeep. He eyed the normal-looking house skeptically. Either the monster had broken into someone's house just for the occasion, or his mental image of a nasty and shadow-beast out of his blood was all wrong. Then again, how many barbaric creatures knew how to take polaroid's?

Stiles turned his head to take a sweeping glance of the surrounding houses and, thankfully, most were dark or had their curtains drawn. Feeling a bit more confident, Stiles opened the jeep door again and pulled a dented and scratched—but still reliable—wooden bat from his back seat. Not wasting any more time, he walked over the manicured lawn with vengefully heavy footsteps to crumple the grass and was about to pound his fist on the dark wooden door when it was suddenly gliding open and Stiles ground to a halt at the 'beast' before him. Because it wasn't a beast at all.

At least, she didn't appear to be.

He blinked several times, with no change to his eyesight that must be playing tricks on him. Standing in the doorway, only two feet from him, was a woman—a very human-looking woman at that. With perfect voluminous auburn hair curled and cut to her shoulders, smooth and almost ageless skin that was only barely telling of a woman in her early forties, warm but piercing dark blue eyes, and a blinding smile. Her clothes looked high-end, a flattering yet appropriate mix of silks and clean-cut linens. Her entire demeanor spoke of life-long confidence and control. From a single glance, one could tell she was the type of woman to wear designer heels wherever she went and not let them slow her down for a second.

All of that information came to Stiles at once and over stimulated his brain into a state of barely functioning. Stiles was ready to start apologizing profusely and beg for this woman to please not call the cops on him for showing up on her doorstep in the middle of the night with a bat in his hands, when he was stopped by said woman speaking up first.

"Stiles, please, come in and have a seat." Stiles could feel the confusion and embarrassment in his expression melt and solidify into a blank and tense mask once more. He wasn't mistaken, he had a pretty damn good memory and he knew he'd never met or seen that woman before in his life. So, the fact that she not only knew his name, but spoke so comfortably with him and was clearly expecting him caused all of his shields to slam back up into place.

She stepped back and pulled the door open wider as she looked down at the delicate gold watch on her thin wrist, though he made no move to step into the house, wanting just one more clue that he was indeed exactly where he was supposed to be.

"Just on time." The woman said with a beaming smile that sent uneasy chills down Stiles' spine. Well, that was as good as it was going to get in terms of confirmation.

Careful not to touch her in any way, he slipped through the gap in the doorway and quickly put enough distance between him and her until he knew what exactly was going on. He gripped the bat a little bit tighter. If she noticed his cautious actions, it didn't show through her beaming smile. She quietly led him to a large living room of modern design and pristinely clean . . . well, everything. Everything seemed to be stark white without the slightest sign of ever actually being touched or used by someone.

With every passing second, the sensation of insects crawling under his skin grew and his unease was turning the serene and confusing situation into something more ominous. Everything felt too clean, her smile too wide, her gaze too seeing. It felt like at any moment the reality he saw around him would melt into some hellish nightmare.

She offered him a seat on the untouched couch, but he was there for a reason, and he wanted it sorted out as soon as possible. Stiles remained standing even as she sank elegantly onto a white chair and carefully picked up a thin white porcelain cup of tea, it's accompanying saucer not making a single clink. Before her deep cherry red lips could meet the rim of the cup, Stiles gritted his teeth and threw down the polaroid pictures he'd hardly let go of since finding them. They made a loud slapping noise on the glass surface of the coffee table, the harsh noise piercing through the false calm being pumped into the air like a fragrance.

Dark blue eyes remained trained on the glossy photos as the cup found its way once again to the tabletop, and still, her composure remained. Stiles waited, tense, for the fight for survival to begin, as it always did. But it never came. Crimson lips once again stretched into a smile and Stiles was frozen in her paralyzing gaze.

"How rude of me, I never properly introduced myself, did I? My name is Meredith, and it is my absolute pleasure to meet you, Stiles." There it was again, his name. Said with such ease, but to Stiles, it felt like a cold hand gripping the back of his neck. It felt wrong. All of it felt wrong.

Ice dripped down his spine and he broke out into a cold sweat as his body seemed to catch up with the situation. He knew he was balancing precariously over the waiting maw of a beast. It was only a matter of time.

"Look, I don't know what your problem is, but I only came here to warn you to back off. Come near me or my father again and we're going to have a serious problem." Stiles wanted out of there as soon as he made his point clear. The old Stiles would have probably never shown up at a stranger's house wielding his old bat and an arsenal of threats in the first place. But then again, one didn't go through the type of crap he had without becoming a bit jaded.

The saccharine grin morphed into sickeningly genuine concern and Stiles nearly stumbled back when Meredith stood so suddenly and took a step towards him.

"Oh no, Stiles . . . you have to understand, I have absolutely no intention of hurting you or your father. I'll admit that my methods were a little . . . extreme, but I only did this because I needed you to come on your own as soon as possible. I am worried about the state you're in and thought that such measures were necessary to get you here unharmed." Each honey soaked word that fell from her mouth only managed to scramble his thoughts further. Stiles blinked as his skull seemed to expand and contract simultaneously, the floor beneath him felt like it was rocking as if he were in a boat.

Stiles gripped his head and tried to steady himself, but nothing was working. He knew everything was about to get a whole lot worse and he had no one to come save his human ass. He shouldn't have gone there, he should have waited. He fucked up.

His eyes kept slipping closed without his consent so he forced all of his energy into catching that dark gaze once more.

"Wha—what did you do?" His words were wrapping around his teeth and tugging to close his jaw completely.

In the raging sea of sensations and cloudy hazy, Stiles barely noticed when his space was invaded by the cause of his current distress. His ears filled with the soft shushing and his was led over to the couch by firm and surprisingly strong hands. When he was finally seated, the chaos had mellowed enough for him to gain some cognition, but he was still unable to move without the world turning up end on him once more.

Meredith sat next to him and although he wanted nothing more than to run as far away from the nut-job, he couldn't physically stop her when she pulled him down to rest his head on her lap like a child. Her deceptively soothing voice curling in his ear.

"It's alright now, Stiles, I've got you." Gentle fingers carded through his growing hair. Each touch sent flares of pain and nausea through his system and it was all he could do to not throw up. "To be honest, I only meant to pass through. I was only supposed to be here for a few days on business, but . . . when I saw you, it was like looking at the sun—like looking at my David all over again. He would have been right about your age by now if he hadn't—if he hadn't been taken from me so young." The hand in his hair paused before the moment seemed to slip away just as quickly as it came and her hand resumed its ministrations.

"I could see it in your eyes, the first time I saw you. I've seen it in my own reflection for the past decade. Loss. One that's never really healed, has it? So, I stayed, and I watched. I did my research. You were ten when she passed. Such a horrible thing, to see your mother slowly dying. Even worse, to have your child watch as you slowly break down and fade away. As a mother myself, I couldn't imagine." Stiles felt sick to his stomach. If he weren't nearly paralyzed, he wasn't quite sure what he would have done to her for talking about his mom. And despite his silent begging for it to be over, she kept on talking.

"But if that wasn't bad enough, it wasn't just her, was it? After that, you found a friend who was more of a brother, and then came the formation of that little dysfunctional pack. You see, what your werewolf packmates don't seem to realize is that pack is pack, and in all of the ways that matter, it will affect you no matter what your species is. So, to lose your pack and have it thrown in your face again, and again, and again . . . well, that is a torture I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy!" Stiles had begun to tremble under the weight of her words and it was only made worse when she softly wiped the treacherous tears from his cheeks and tried to sooth him.

"I know, I know, Stiles. It hurts, doesn't it? It's hard to even breathe when they're around. You were always there for them when they needed you—and even when they didn't—but now they won't even give you the time of day. Your father? Well, he hasn't really been the same since your mother died. The nights at the station, the constant excuses of overtime, the distrust, the distance, the drinking. How many times did you spend your nights picking up broken glass off the kitchen floor? Or nearly dragging him up to bed because he was too drunk to make it past the couch? How many concerned looks did his coworkers shoot you after smelling it on his breath?" Meredith just went on.

He wanted to plug his ears, to curl up and shut the world out like he used to after his mom. . . Or he wanted to be able to scream at her that it was all lies, that it wasn't true and his dad wasn't like that anymore. But how much of it was actually a lie? Sure, Stiles knew that his dad's old drinking habits hadn't returned, but the absences, the avoidance, the mistrust, that was all true.

The hand in his hair suddenly stopped and Meredith turned Stiles' head so that he was forced to look at her.

"You don't have to worry anymore, Stiles. I'm here to help you, and you're going to help me. I lost a child, and you are in need of a parent." Her face stretched into a smile that was too wide to be comforting, the gleam in her eyes bright and equally unsettling. "I can give you everything you've ever wanted. I can give you the love of a mother that you need right now. We can live long, happy lives together and leave behind all of this pain. There's nothing holding you back, you know this. So, please Stiles, say you'll stay." Her fingers caressed his cheek and she looked at him with such hope.

For one, insane, moment, he was tempted. The thought of never again having to see Scott's glares directed at him, or catch the pack around town—together—without him, and to never have to come home to an empty house where silence and discomfort seemed to have seeped into the very walls and stained the fibers of the carpet. For one, utterly hopeless moment, Stiles considered believing the promises laid before him to escape the toxic emotions that had been slowly corroding his insides over the past few months.

He was so close to admitting she was right, that he didn't have any more ties to that place that had been infected and worn down over time. But then he realized she was wrong. Even if he was clutching at a frayed little thread, there was still one thing he couldn't ignore, one person that he didn't have bad blood with just yet. Derek. It was weak, as they hadn't actually spoken to each other in quite a while since things had calmed down a little and the Hale pack was able to regroup and rebuild on their own. He doubted the Alpha was even aware of things breaking down between Stiles and Scott—why would he? So, technically, they didn't have bad blood yet. And perhaps there was a little bit more there for Stiles than just the lack of outright animosity, but while lying paralyzed in the lap of something was not the time to be contemplating what new unobtainable person had the misfortune of gaining his interest.

Honey brown met dark sea blue and Stiles used every bit of strength he had to lift his head off her lap to get right up into her face and growl out.

"Fuck. Off." Every bit of rage and hell-forged stubbornness went into his words and he felt thoroughly satisfied when that sickening expression on her face slipped away into a cold glare, turning her into something more frightening and definitely more manageable in his opinion. Fearsome? He knew well, and could handle. Kind and gentle? Now that was completely out of his depth.

He knew he wouldn't be getting out of that situation anytime soon, so he wasn't really surprised when all that happened was a slightly disappointed sigh from Meredith before a dangerous smirk tugged at her blood-red lips.

"Then you give me no choice, Stiles. I'll just have to keep you by my side until you come to your senses."

Stiles barely had a moment to try to prepare himself for something horrible before Meredith was leaning down pressing an unexpected kiss to his forehead. In a sudden explosion of color and sound, Stiles was plunged deep into unconsciousness and he could only hope that he'd find a way out when he woke up.