Allison hopped gracefully down from the rock she was perched on when she saw Stiles coming down the ramp from the back of the house. He was dragging his feet, had his hands behind his back. She smiled, squinted her eyes trying to figure out what he was holding as he joined her by the garden.
He didn't look like he was doing very well. Allison wished she could make it better. "Hey there," she said softly, "How do you feel this morning?"
"Sorta, dumb I guess," his voice was soft, missing some of the energy she normally associated with it. "Sorry I was such an A-hole last night. I brought a peace offering."
She squealed with delight as he brought his bandaged hands out from behind his back. They were clutching with some difficulty a small container of ruby red strawberries. Seeing them made her mouth water. She loved strawberries.
"Your favorite," Stiles finished for her, "Scott told me, in a total gentleman not T-M-I kind of way I mean."
She reached out and plucked one from the container he fumbled open, twisted in place back a little bit. She smiled at him, popped it into her mouth. He grinned. For the first time in the past two days she saw his face brighten up with that inner light, that self sustaining optimism that burned incandescent in him. She wanted to see him happy like that more often.
"How did you know I was out here?" she asked. She winced as soon as she said it. She'd been going for subtle. The cat was out of the bag.
"I think it was the way you casually kept walking by whatever window you saw me through and then looking up into the sky when I looked back." A dopey smile accentuated his features. He rubbed a bandaged hand through his hair.
Busted, she shifted her weight from one foot to the other, put one hand behind her back and plucked another strawberry out. She offered it to him with a wink. She watched gleefully as he licked his lips nervously, cleared his throat then opened his mouth. She fed him the strawberry then licked the juice from her fingers before brushing her hair away from her face.
"I-I just wanted to talk to you for a second, if that's alright," her voice was hesitant and soft, very girly sounding in her own ears. "If not… I totally understand."
He swept one of his arms in front of him, made an awkward little flourishing bow only slightly spoiled by the fact he almost lost the container of strawberries. He was practically the human incarnation of adorable. She thought that he slyly used it to his advantage.
"At your service of course," Stiles said, a small self deprecating smile played across his expressive mouth.
She wondered if everyone noticed his mouth. If he knew how it drew people's attention when he flicked his tongue over his soft pink lips. She bet he did. It made her smile. He may try to act like he was blissfully unaware of other people around him and how they reacted to him, but she knew better. She had countless stories that Scott had told her when they spent time together.
He probably just didn't know what they really thought. He spent so much time giving off the appearance of being happy; no one could see how lonely he really was. It broke her heart a little.
"Oh Stiles," she said. She wrapped her arms around his neck, pulled him in close. He stumbled slightly at the sudden impact, but managed not to drop his precious peace offering. "No one could ever take him away from you."
Allison's heart twisted a little when she heard the hitch in his breath. He went rigid in her arms. She squeezed him tighter, ran one hand up the back of his head, stroked his hair. He was still tense, like he wanted to pull away.
"He talks about you all the time, more than you realize I bet. He tells me stories of the mischief you get him into and out of, about the times you've drank and talked about girls or school. He never told you because he was distracted at the time, but he was so proud when you made first line too. You didn't even need to get wolf slobber on you to do it."
His torso heaved a little bit. She felt him let out a small chuckle into her hair. He sniffled a bit and the arm that wasn't clutching strawberries wrapped around her. She smiled, he hugged her back. It was a start.
"Thanks," he mumbled against her shoulder.
She turned her head against his neck, tightened her arms around his body. "You and his mom, you're all he has, you're his family, his brother. He couldn't stop loving you any more than he could stop breathing," she whispered to him.
He mumbled something else against her shoulder, but she didn't know what it was. His torso trembled against her. She rubbed his hair and held him tight. He was trying to be all tough and manly. Boys were silly.
"I'm getting fonder of you every day too you know," she told him. "We're going to be friends. You and I will build forts in the forest and we won't let the werewolves in because it will be our 'No Wolves Allowed Club House'. We'll get Lydia to decorate it, okay?"
"Okay," he sniffled. "But I'm not bringing my comic books, because girls aren't allowed to touch them."
She laughed and kissed him on the cheek. He really was the most adorable boy. She pulled away from him, rubbed her thumb over his cheek to wipe away the small tears that slipped out. He smiled shyly, looked away. He pulled out another strawberry and offered it to her. She took it, winked at him.
It didn't make everything better, they weren't suddenly going to be best friends, but she was trying. She wanted him to feel more included, wanted to see him smile more. Stiles was at his best when he was laughing and joking with the people he loved. She wanted to be one of those people one day. She didn't really understand all the details about how she fit into Scott's pack, her pack, but she knew that taking care of someone who was hurting was something she'd want to do regardless. She'd figure it out eventually, they all would, together.