It was late in the morning when Stiles was finally dressed. He walked down the stairs into the living room. He looked around. No one seemed to be in the house. He walked over and looked out the front door. The van wasn't parked in the gravel driveway. Perhaps Derek had gone into town after seeing the void in the cabinets where snack food used to be. Whistling to himself he knocked on the door to Allison and Scott's room, hopefully they wouldn't be in the middle of making out. He wanted to see what they wanted for lunch. He was going to make up a picnic basket so they could all hang out on the beach.
There was no answer. That sucked, maybe they were outside. He went over to Lydia and Jackson's room, knocked on their door as well. No response came. He sighed, pulled out his phone. There were no messages. He dropped the phone back into the pocket of the cargo shorts he was wearing. He head towards the front door, slipped his feet into flip flops as he went. Everyone had a key of their own so it wasn't like anyone could be locked outside.
He made a circuit around the porch. He felt silly about wanting to call out for his friends. No one was there. He went back inside, noting that the bathroom door was open. He went up to the second floor and out onto the terrace. His stomach grumbled, hungry for something more than the Lucky Charms he'd given it earlier.
Stiles walked around the terrace, looked down the small slope that led down to the beach. He couldn't see anyone. It was like the whole world was empty except for him. He swallowed nervously, his mouth suddenly dry. Where was everyone? He decided he'd just pack a variety of things into the basket. If some people didn't like what he had it would be their own fault. They should have been around when he was making them food.
He went back inside, headed down to the kitchen. Stiles opened the fridge, started grabbing all sorts of things. Cold cuts, vegetables, condiments, and fresh fruits. He piled it all up on the counter. He added a jar of peanut butter, two kinds of jelly as well as a loaf of bread. He pulled out his phone. There were no messages, no missed calls. He shrugged, went about the work of preparing what everyone would declare was the most amazing lunch spread they'd ever seen.
Stiles worked happily, listened to music playing from his phone. He didn't glance at the front door or the doors that led to the back very often; it wasn't like he was worried he'd been abandoned by everyone. He chewed on his lower lip as he made the food.
When he was finished and the basket he had purchased solely for the occasion was nearly bursting with yumminess he glanced at his phone again. It was sort of past lunch time. There were still no messages on his phone, no missed calls. He glanced out the back door, there was no one on the beach that he could see.
He went out and spent some time in the hammock, played video games on his phone. He chuckled to himself as birds sought vengeance against the pigs who'd wronged them. The hammock was comfortable, but after an hour his stomach reminded him that he was not the master, that it was time to pay tribute.
He hopped out of the hammock, walked down the driveway to look both directions down the road. No pretty strawberry blonde with her arms full of shopping bags appeared. There wasn't a young couple holding hands and whispering secrets to each other running up breathless and happy to be back at the house. He walked around to the back and glanced down towards the beach again. There wasn't a blonde athlete swimming in the water or basking in the late afternoon sun. Hell, there wasn't even an intimidating man who only wore black scowling at anyone who seemed to be having fun.
Stiles went back inside, noticed his phone battery was almost dead. He walked back up to his room, plugged it in to charge. He must have sent too many pigs' houses tumbling down. His phone hadn't rang, hadn't notified him that anyone was wondering where he was or what he was doing. Stiles went back downstairs, figured that it was time to eat alone. It sounded awesome…
He pulled a peanut butter and jelly sandwich out of the basket along with an apple; he snagged a bottle of water from the fridge and headed out the back doors. He locked them behind him. The clicking sound it made left Stiles's empty stomach feeling worse. He meandered down the zigzagging ramp and onto the warm sand, felt the heat of the late afternoon sun on his face. He didn't bring a jacket, his cargo shorts, t-shirt, and flip flops were all he needed to have a great day at the beach. A great day by himself…
He walked east along the beach, it made just about as much sense as anything else, not like he knew what was west either. The houses seemed pretty far apart, they were all part of the resort, the entire beach was open to the renters. It wasn't like he was trespassing. It wasn't like there was anyone to yell at him, to tell him to shut up or ask him what he was talking about or why he couldn't just stand still for five minutes.
He ate the sandwich as well as the apple as he walked, deposited the core and the plastic the sandwich had been wrapped with into a trash receptacle as he passed it. There were identical ones spaced out around the area with polite signs asking people to keep the beach clean. He took off his flip flops, carried them in his hand. He stepped gingerly in the hot sand, occasionally cooled his feet off by walking through the waves lapping against the shore.
Stiles watched the shadows on the beach lengthen as he walked. He sat down and gazed at the ocean. The sun was starting to set, he wasn't sure where he was exactly, but knew that all he had to do was turn around and walk west to make it back. He got up, decided to keep exploring the beach in the fading light.
Stiles loved the brilliant blue water, was fascinated by several brightly colored shells he came across. He picked some of them up, filled his pockets with them. He wanted souvenirs. Occasionally he saw couples or small groups of friends playing volleyball or sunbathing. Sometimes they were laughing; sometimes they were whispering to each other or kissing. None of them were people he knew.
A few pretty girls waved at him. He smiled nervously and waved back, a couple of guys who were not bad looking did the same. He wasn't sure what to do at first so he just waved back to them too.
He found a small cove with several tide pools in it, set about exploring the area. He added more shells to his collection, drank the rest of his water. He kept the bottle; he'd throw it away when he found another trash bin. He sat on the rocks of the cove, watched the most brilliant sunset he'd ever seen.
It was like someone had drawn a blanket of orange over the horizon. The sun fell behind clouds, brilliant rays of light struggled against the oncoming night. They tryied to hang on, to give out more of their life sustaining warmth. The sphere was reflected in the water, dancing golden flames played with each other on the surface. The sun of the air and the sun of the water eventually sank into each other. Yellow faded to orange, orange became crimson, and crimson gave way to purple before finally there was no natural light left. It was the most incredible thing he'd ever seen. He wished there'd been someone to share it with.
The night was still fairly well illuminated, houses had lights on, the glow of the street lamps from up the hills towards the road was more than enough to see by. He decided to head back west, maybe some of the pack had returned to the house, maybe they were done doing whatever they were doing that they didn't want him to be a part of.
They probably weren't excluding him purposefully; Scott and Allison were likely just caught up in their love and their laughter. Jackson was probably just caught up doing whatever it was that Lydia wanted them to do. Derek was probably looking for people having fun so that he could stop them.
He chuckled. Derek had actually surprised him, especially when helping him with dinner. He thought back about the previous night, about how vulnerable Derek looked asleep, he didn't think about how warm Derek's skin was or how good his hair smelled. That would be weird, that would be very weird.
Stiles looked around, saw a blonde surfer guy waving at him from a group of people who looked to be building a fire. It didn't seem to be working out so well for them. He decided to see what they were up to; they looked just a few years older than him. They also looked like a beach clothing advertisement.
"Hey," Stiles said. He licked his lips, shifted from foot to foot in the sand.
"You know how to build a fire?"
Stiles looked at the blonde surfer. Most of the group turned to regard him. He could smell the booze in the area. He didn't really know how to build a fire, but he was sure he was smart enough to figure it out.
"Yeah sure no problem, I'm practically Prometheus."
"Is that Italian?"
A pretty girl with red hair watched him curiously. He shrugged under her scrutiny.
"It's uh- it's nothing I was just joking."
Stiles glanced around, noticed that a guy who seemed more his age near the back of the group had a knowing smirk on his face. Stiles grinned at the guy, got closer to the fire pit.
It took a lot of sweat and cursing but Stiles got the fire going. The beach crew cheered. The guy who got his Prometheus joke earlier, who had fascinating blue eyes, blonde hair, and an enigmatic smile offered him a beer. Stiles bit his lower lip for a moment. He accepted it and joined a group of people who seemed to want his company.
One beer became a few, then a few more. Stiles drank too much, the guy with the smile was getting a little too close for his comfort. He was constantly touching him, trying to put an arm around his shoulders. He probably wouldn't have cared because the guy was nice, he was good looking, and Stiles was very drunk, but the touching reminded him of his pack. Thinking of his pack brought pain he was not expecting crashing down on him. He was probably overreacting because he'd been drinking. He didn't care.
They'd abandoned him. No one called, no one messaged him, he could be dead and no one would know. He reached for his phone to check his battery level, remembered he had left it at the house. He fumbled and came up with a handful of shells instead. They were awesome. The guy next to him seemed to think they were cool too. They talked about them, drank a bit more.
The guy leaned in, closed his eyes. Stiles was not ready for that. He clumsily ducked out of the way, stumbled as he scrambled to his feet.
"S-sorry, I gotta go," Stiles said. He sounded a little drunk. He stumbled again as he waved over his shoulder, called out more friendly goodbyes, offered thanks for the booze. The guy with the smile was watching him every time Stiles looked back over his shoulder until he was out of line of sight of the fireside party.
Stiles didn't fall too many times on his way back, maybe just five or six times. His hands were scraped from hitting small bits of driftwood, rocks, and cans that people hadn't thrown away like they were supposed to. His face felt hot, he thought he might've been a little more uncoordinated than normal. He took another dive into the sand, amended silently that maybe he was a lot more uncoordinated than normal.
Some of his precious shells fell out of his pockets. He gathered them up, put them back. He liked them, maybe he'd have a necklace or something made out of them. He kept one of the large ones out, rubbed it with this thumb as he walked.
He hiccupped, shook his head slightly. He looked down the beach to the west. He wasn't sure exactly where he was. He figured he'd just keep walking. Eventually he'd find his way back, either that or he'd pass out on the beach, those were minor details.
He walked, stumbled, fell a few more times, he got up every time, kept going. In the distance he saw two forms coming out of the darkness running towards him. The forms turned out to be an angry Jackson and a very angry Lydia shaped she-demon.
"Stilinski, where the hell have you been?" Jackson said. His fists were clenched tightly at his sides, his neck full of tension.
Stiles couldn't tell why he was so upset. The young werewolf reached out towards him. Stiles backed away from the touch. He didn't say anything, but he wasn't interested in Jackson pawing at him.
"We've been worried, everyone's looking for you." Lydia said. She walked forward, placed a hand on his arm, fingers curling lightly around him.
He laughed at the absurdity of it, laughed right in her face. He didn't care that she stiffened with anger. He pulled his arm out of her grasp, stepped back again.
"Whatever, I was busy, not like I'd just wait around until someone thought it was time for Stiles," he said. His voice betrayed how drunk he was. "Not like anyone cared what I was doing earlier."
"What?" Lydia watched him. He felt like she was judging him.
"Like you don't know? You know what? I used to love you, despite the fact that you never talked to me, that you treated me like I was invisible. I cared about you." Stiles took a shaky breath. Fury welled up in his chest.
Lydia opened her mouth, tried to say something but Sitles kept talking, didn't listen.
"I wanted to see you happy. Not because of your perfect hair or your perfect makeup. I didn't care about what clothes you wore or who your friends were. I liked you because you were amazing, in ways that other people had no idea about. Just me, and it never mattered." Anger and pain bubbled up from his heart, spilled out of his mouth.
Lydia recoiled as if Stiles had physically struck her. He didn't care, he should have but he didn't. At any other time, on any other day he'd be apologizing for being such a dick. Not today. He was tired, tired of being walked on by her and everyone else. The alcohol gave him the courage to say it.
"Don't try to act like you give a crap! I was always invisible to you. Not like anything has changed." Stiles closed his eyes, his chest felt a little hollow. He wasn't sure he was happy with what had come out of him.
Jackson growled softly, stepped between the two of them. He loomed up to his full height. It made Stiles laugh again, to see Jackson act like he was protecting her, acting like he cared.
"Calm down," Jackson said. It was a warning; Jackson was trying to sound like Derek, trying to glare like Derek. It was more Chihuahua bullshit. Scott had attacked Stiles, had wanted to kill him when he'd been driven mad by the wolf. Jackson's posturing and threats had no impact.
"Screw you, Jackson! You think that just because you drive an expensive car that you can just tell people what to do? That because you're popular and people like you that you can just do whatever you want?"
Jackson's lips compressed into a tight line, his fists clenched tighter. "You don't know me."
"Oh right, I forgot, you were adopted. That makes it okay for you to walk all over other people, to treat them like they aren't as good as you because it's hard to be so rich and so good looking."
Stiles snorted, Jackson had the perfect life. It wasn't enough that it was perfect, that he had everything, he wanted to make sure other people knew it. Stiles was sick of it. He wasn't afraid to tell Jackson how much of a dick he was.
Jackson blanched, his shoulders slumped. Stiles had hit a nerve. He wasn't done. A small part of him hated himself for what he knew he was going to say. He didn't care, he wanted everyone else to know how much he was hurting.
"Guess what? At least you have two parents who love you! They may not have given birth to you, but they made the choice to take you in, to love you, give you everything you want. Some of us don't even have two parents."
He glanced at Lydia. He saw the echo of his own pain, the divorce probably still fresh in her mind. Jackson needed to hear what he was going to say, not because it would make Stiles feel better, but because Jackson needed to know it, he needed them both to know it.
"I only have my dad. Not because my mom left to find something better, she's dead. So suck it up, both of you. Your lives are the lives that everyone else wants. Get over yourselves."
Stiles stormed past them, didn't look back. He didn't want to see if there were looks of pain on their faces. He didn't want to see the hurt he dished out. He ran, he ran and he stumbled. He didn't fall, he kept going.
Two more forms moved toward him from the distance. He knew what he was going to say as soon as he saw them. He wanted to get it off his chest before he got back to the house, before he got his phone, called a taxi to take him back to Beacon Hills and away from the horrible experience the trip had turned into. There was a small part of him that knew he was overreacting, that he was dealing with his pain the wrong way.
Scott and Allison rushed to meet him. Allison's face twisted with fear and concern. She looked at his bleeding hands. The pain was nothing. His heart was bleeding. It had been bleeding for a long time. No one noticed, that's not what anyone wanted to see from him. He was the comic relief in their little dramas, he didn't matter. Allison reached for his hand. His grip tightened on one of his shells hard enough that it cracked. Shards of it opened the cuts in his hand further.
"Don't touch me!"
Scott's mouth fell open in shock. Allison backed away covering her mouth with her hands, frightened by the emotion in his voice. He didn't care. He didn't care about any of it anymore. He just needed to say what was on his mind.
He looked into Allison's eyes, he knew he would probably regret forever the things he was about to say, but if he didn't say them they were going kill him slowly. They would fester in the parts of his mind that he never spoke about, poisonous thoughts that ate away at the insides of his brain.
"You stole him from me!"
She gasped, looked at Scott. He looked bewildered. Stiles kept talking, kept babbling out the pain that was tearing him apart, tears started to fill his eyes.
"He's supposed to be my best friend! He's supposed to be there for me and he isn't. It's your fault!"
He wiped angrily at his face with his bloody fist. He wanted to blame the alcohol, even as he pressed on he wanted to make excuses for his behavior.
"I'm always there for you Scott, I'm a real best friend. When the werewolf thing happened to you, I tried to help you, even when you hurt me. When you kissed Lydia, when you thought everything was too hard, I was there."
Stiles's rage gave way to naked pain. His body shook. Tears started streaming down his face against his will. He hated it, hated that he was doing this. Hated that he'd let it build up in him.
"Where were you when I needed you? You were with her, or you were with Derek, or you were thinking about being with her. You never once asked me if I was ok, if I was worried that my father could be torn to shreds by Derek's uncle."
Stiles choked on his words, took a deep breath, and cleared his throat. Scott's mouth was still open, but not saying anything, not trying to break in. Scott was letting him pour his heart out.
"You just didn't care enough about anything but your own life. I was there too! I was in danger. I tried to do everything I could to help and you just took me for granted. The worst part about that, the worst part, is that even though you tried to kill me, you were still the only friend I had and that was the best thing I had going for me. Pretty pathetic, no wonder no one takes me seriously."
Scott looked away from him, gazed down at the sand. He opened his mouth as if to say something and then closed it again. Allison put her hand on Scott's shoulder; the simple act of kindness was too much for Stiles to witness.
He walked around them; his body trembled at the emotions ripping him apart. What he was doing was wrong, but he couldn't stop himself. The pain was all there was, soaked in alcohol and burning away all the rational parts of his brain. His body was covered in sand, he was bleeding, his face was a mess, and none of it mattered because he was just the sidekick. No one was there for him when he needed it. He was alone.
He made it up onto the porch, dropped the bloody shell back into his pocket before wiping his hands on his shirt. It stung, but it wasn't as bad as what was roiling around in his gut. He grasped the door handle. It slipped and wouldn't open, the brass was streaked red with his blood, wouldn't turn. He slammed his fist against the wall. He cried out all the fury and hurt he kept bottled inside so that no one could see how bad it was. It ripped its way out of his throat as he slammed his head against the door hoping it would make the pain stop. It didn't, the pain didn't stop. It coiled tighter around his heart.
He was about to slam his head against the door again when strong arms encircled him from behind, pulled him away from it. He thrashed and screamed. He was shaking trying to get free of the overwhelming strength that lifted him off his feet and held him in the air. He knew who it was.
"You," he cried, he couldn't see Derek's face but he knew that's who had him. "This all started with you and your family!"
Derek didn't say anything, his grip just got tighter. Stiles's weak human strength couldn't break the overwhelming power that had him in its grasp, couldn't get away from the searing heat of the body that held him solidly against itself.
"I didn't have much, but I had one friend. You took him from me! It's your fault" Stiles knew that he wasn't making any sense, some part of him knew that Scott wasn't gone, that Scott had made him cereal exactly the way he wanted it to be made. He knew that Scott cared about him but it wasn't enough.
There was emptiness in Stiles, there had been for a long time. His friendship with Scott was the only thing that made it bearable. Scott didn't have that much time for him anymore. It was selfish, it was unfair, but Stiles couldn't help it. His father was always busy at work, Scott used to stay at his house all the time. They would play video games and eat pizza. They'd talk about everything. Now Stiles was a toy that Scott had outgrown. He wanted to be happy that his friend's life had gotten so much better, but at the moment it tore him apart that he'd been left behind.
He screamed, he cried, but Derek wouldn't let him go. It made him furious. The Alpha managed to open the door even with Stiles thrashing about. It made him feel impotent that Derek could just do whatever he wanted, that there was nothing Stiles could do because he was just a weak little human in a world of werewolves.
Derek held him tighter as he moved through the house. Stiles struggled harder, but it was still pointless. There was nothing he could do. Derek carried him up the stairs, threw him down onto the bed closest to the door.
Stiles whipped around ready to scream, to throw the lamp on the nightstand at Derek, to do anything to get the man to leave him alone. Before he could the werewolf's weight crashed into him. Derek pinned him to the bed, powerful arms trapped him, kept him from escaping. Stiles howled out his pain and his rage. He tried to twist out of Derek's grasp. The man didn't say anything, just held him down, solid warmth all around him.
Stiles hiccupped, choked on his own tears for a moment before coughing. Derek didn't let go. Stiles was exhausted, he was hurt. Derek just kept holding on to him keeping him still, like he was somehow trying to steady the raving mad mess of a person who used to be Stiles.
He didn't know when the moment happened, but at some point he wasn't pushing Derek away anymore. He was clutching him, crying into the man's shoulder. He poured out everything he'd held inside. He told Derek about his mother's death, how Scott didn't have time for him anymore. He told Derek how jealous he was of Jackson, how hurt he was that Lydia never acknowledged him. He babbled about how he felt betrayed and alone, weak and unimportant, how hurt he was that no one was there for him.
Derek didn't say anything; he just held Stiles down until he stopped shaking, held him, and warmed him. Stiles started to fall asleep slowly. He didn't let go of the solid weight on top of him, basked in the support it silently offered. He didn't know why, but it made everything seem a little bit better, a little less broken, and like he was a little less alone.