The Scent of You and My Memories
It had been there his whole life. The scent of Stiles Stilinksi. A scent so unique, so powerful, he could pick it out of a crowd of thousands faster than he could find Allison or his mother.
Scott McCall had become familiar with that scent long before he had become a werewolf. It's said that the sense of smell is the strongest, in regards to memory. Scott believed it. Every memory, every important moment of Scott's life had a hint of Stiles.
The scent itself was made of so many things, all of which Scott held dear.
Bubblegum: It was the first day of first grade and Scott wasn't allowed outside to recess because of his asthma. He had forgotten his inhaler amid the excitement of his first of school at Beacon Hills Elementary. Forced to watch through the window of a glass door, Scott watched as his classmates interacted, slowly forming friendships. He had never felt so alone.
The feeling did pass however, the second a fidgety boy took a seat next to Scott. Things were awkward at first, even for a couple of six year olds. That changed as Scott explained why he wasn't allowed outside. The kid, who introduced himself as Genim, but preferred Stiles because it didn't sound like an alien, explained that he wasn't allowed outside because he couldn't listen to his teacher.
Neither boy had said anything after that, until Stiles offered Scott a piece of bubblegum. From that moment on they were best friends.
It was long after the group had defeated Peter Hale and Derek had become the alpha of their rag-tag little pack that Scott was introduced to the idea that the scent of Stiles wouldn't always be around.
The pack had grown to include Jackson, Lydia and Danny as other Betas; Allison and Stiles were the only humans left, although Allison was more adept at fighting than Stiles.
As Derek had explained, the pack needed to stick together, which severely impaired the group's choices as far as colleges went. Derek explained that as long as they stayed as close to Beacon Hills as possible, they were in the clear.
Scott had been operating under the assumption that everyone in the pack would be held to this rule, and that everyone would either settle on the same college or keep it within a reasonable distnace.
It was at lunch in the cafeteria, an arrangement that heralded stares and which also included all seven pack members, wolf and human, that Scott's delusion was shattered.
Over the past year it was not unknown that Scott and Stiles had somewhat drifted apart. They still had their moments and rituals, but Scott had focused his attention into Allison and Stiles had filled the void with a budding friendship with Lydia (emphasis on the friendship).
Everyone had been seated when Allison had noticed that Stiles had been absent. She questioned the group as to where he was.
"He has a meeting with an admissions rep from Northwestern," Lydia said without taking her eyes from her Calculus text.
No one but Scott picked up on the comment, unsure of where in California Northwestern was, and also wondered how far that was from where everyone was going. "Is that near UCLA or Cal Tech?" Scott asked, referring to the schools which Scott, Allison and Jackson and Danny and Lydia were going to, respectively.
Jackson and Danny looked up from their trays and stared at Scott with uncertain gazes, trying to gauge whether he was joking or not. It was Lydia who pointed out his faux pas.
"Northwestern is in Chicago, or near it at least," Lydia said, her voice filled with a condescending air that only she could accomplish.
Scott was dumbfounded for a moment. "But that's not in California," he said slowly.
"No shit Sherlock," Jackson said, always one to take Scott down a peg.
"I thought we all had to stay in California. We're a pack. We're supposed to be together," Scott said, dread filling his stomach.
"The wolves have to stay in California sweetie," Allison said, patting her boyfriend's back. "Stiles and I have the option of going anywhere, as long as we keep in contact."
"Who said that," Scott asked desperately.
"Our almighty alpha decreed this a long time ago buddy," Lydia said, her tone growing frosty. "Maybe if you talked to Stiles more often you would be aware of this."
Scott had no response. He meekly looked down and pushed his tray away, appetite long gone. No one seemed to notice his recent sullenness, except for Danny.
Peppermint: It wasn't the first Christmas that the McCalls and the Stilinksis had spent together, drawn by their children's incessant need to be around one another. It was, however, the first Christmas since Mrs. Stilinski had been diagnosed with cancer and it was also the first Christmas that Mr. and Mrs. McCall didn't smile at one another all night.
The boys were ten and oblivious to the problems enshrouding their parents. Or so the parents would have thought. Only Scott could see the bags under Stiles's eyes. And only Stiles could see the tense look on Scott's face whenever one of his parents said something too quick or too loud.
Scott had managed to walk in on one of his parents fights while the Stilinksi's were in the living room. They had stopped the second they had realized that Scott was in the room, but it was too late. For the rest of the night Scott was withdrawn and his parents acted as if nothing had happened.
After everyone had gone to bed and Scott and Stiles were once again hunched in Scott's small single did Stiles attempt to cheer his friend up. When nothing worked, he pulled out two candy canes. Scott knew the rule, no candy before or after bed. It didn't stop them though. Nor did the rule stop them from laughing or giggling until dawn as they talked. That was the day Scott came to the conclusion everything would be alright. As long as had Stiles . . . and the Power Rangers. But Stiles was more important.
To this day, Scott still sees Stile's smile every time he catches a whiff of peppermint.
The second the end-of-day bell rang Scott was out of his seat and racing for the door. Finding Allison, he explained he would be unable to study at her house after school and headed for Stiles's jeep, hoping to catch him before he left.
Bolting into the parking lot, he managed to slide smoothly into the passenger seat of the jeep as his friend started the car. Stiles jumped at the appearance of his friend. "Um dude, taking a page out of Derek's book: so not cool."
"You're going to Chicago," Scott asked, his eyes itching with the power beneath.
Startled once again, Stiles faced cooled and he took squared his shoulders, facing the person he used to care about most. "No, I'm not going to Chicago," Stiles said. Scott relaxed for a moment, only to become tense at Stiles's next words. "I'm going to Evanston, just north of Chicago."
Scott faltered for a second, unused to being treated so coldly by Stiles. "But dude, that's so far away."
Stiles let out an uncharacteristic laugh: icy and loud. "Far away? Maybe not far enough Scott. Now you decide that you wanna be let in on my collegiate plans. Is Allison busy or something?"
Scott could feel his eyes flash, unsure of whether it was caused by the mention of his girlfriend or the hurt bubbling in his chest. "What's that supposed to mean?"
Stiles just looked at Scott before finally expelling a loud sigh. "Seriously, just get out of my car. Please. I just want to go home and share the good news with my dad."
Again, Scott felt as if he had been slapped. This was the most important person in his life. Had things really gotten that bad? "What good news?"
"I got a full-ride to Northwestern," Stiles said, his voice less icy.
It was suddenly hard to swallow. Scott had managed to work himself into a frenzy through out the day, thinking he would be able to talk Stiles out of this plan. He was supposed to stay there, in California. "That's um. . .great. Seriously, good for you," Scott choked out. Jumping out of the car, he turned and waived before taking off.
Stiles stared after him, unsure of how to take the sudden appearance and disappearance. "So typical," Stiles muttered as he pulled out of the parking lot.
Fresh-cut grass. Such a potent scent, it overpowers just about everything else . . . except when it comes Stiles. It always managed to compliment everything else, like it was meant to be a part of the attention-challenged teenager.
It had been a part of Stile's scent since the day he had put his mother to rest. The occasion had been gloomy, although the weather didn't seem to reflect the theme. The sky was a beautiful blue, the sun shined and the grass at the graveyard had been freshly mowed. Almost all of Beacon Hills had turned out for the funeral of the sheriff's wife. Scott remembered the man looking as if he was broken, unsure of where to go and nervous amongst the crowd of mourners.
But Stiles looked numb. His face had been blank and instead of the spastic movements that Scott had come to expect, he was faced with an eerie stillness. Scott had wanted to stand by his best friend, but his mother had kept her arm wrapped around his, reminding him that today he could be there for his friend, but that didn't mean he could be by him. The grave-side service had wrapped up and everyone had headed into the hall attached next to the church, which happened to be by the graveyard. Everyone had left, except Stiles.
Even at 11, Scott knew things would never the same for his friend, and, by extension, himself. Letting go of his mother's hand, he had motioned that he was going to Stiles. Smiling softly, she let her son do just that. Stiles had moved to sit by a tree facing his mother's grave. Saying nothing, Scott took a seat by his best friend. No words passed between them for the rest of the day. They sat by one another, then laid next to each other, laying under the sun, the smell of grass overpowering.
Eventually Stiles reached over and grabbed Scott's hand and squeezed. And Scott squeezed back. From that day on, they were just a little bit closer.
Scott raced up the steps of the recently restored Hale house. Not bothering to knock, he burst through the door. Before he could take a step farther into the house, he was grabbed and pushed against the nearest wall, glowing red eyes glaring at him mercilessly. Struggling, Scott pulled at Derek's hands until the elder man let him go.
Derek watched as Scott dropped to the floor. "It's rude to enter someone's house without asking to be invited in," he said, glare still present. Scott choked as he tried to get words to come out, but the stress of the Stiles's situation and Derek's manhandling left him speechless. Derek questioned the young wolf further. "What are you doing here?"
"Stiles," Scott managed to choke out. Derek nodded his head, waiting for him to continue. "Stiles is leaving. He is leaving me…I mean us. He is leaving us."
Derek smirked at the slip up, knowing this would come up at some point. "And why does that concern you?"
"He's part of the pack. He's my best friend. Why doesn't this bother you? You decreed that we all had to say here. Why not Stiles?" Scott said, desperate.
"He's human. I don't have to worry about him tearing someone's throat out," Derek responded.
Scott tried to find the right words, but nothing came to him. Seeing this, Derek sighed and led Scott to his living room, beckoning the young wolf to take a seat. "It's his decision Scott. I'm not going to interfere with his decision. He's done a lot for this pack," he said.
Scott bowed his head. "I know. I just…I don't know…never thought that he would leave here."
"Why does it bother you so much, the thought of him leaving? And I know he grew up with you and he's been your best friend, but is there anything else to that?"
Scott looked taken aback for a moment, confused at where the conversation was heading. "We're just close. I thought we were a pack, that we wouldn't split up. He's been there most of my life, I just didn't know that things were going to be like this…"
Rain. It carries a distinctive smell, both as it's falling and after its wreaked its havoc. Stiles was the perfect mixture of both. It was by far the most comforting part of his scent, one that Scott clung to in his darkest times.
It had been raining the night Scott's dad had left. He could hear the smashing of glass from his room. He was only twelve, caught between the awkward stages of being a boy and becoming a man. He knew his father had thrown something in anger, or his mother had thrown something at his father because she was angry. In all honesty, Scott had been waiting for this day, the day where everything finally boiled over. Despite his youth, he knew things weren't perfect in his family.
The sound of feet on the stairs and louder screams jostled the young boy. He knew his parents were know in their room. He listened as words were slung, some he had never heard before, while others had ingrained into his head as off-limits. Suddenly the yelling stopped, footsteps came down the hall, pausing outside his door, before once again resuming. The only sounds after that were the muffled sobs from his mom's room and the sound of a car door slamming.
Tears had gathered in his eyes, understanding leaking throughout his body about what had just happened. Reaching over to the nightstand, he dialed the number that he memorized six years ago. True to form, Stiles had answered on the first ring, and had talked with him until he had fallen asleep.
Scott had awakened once, when Stiles was climbing through his window. Like the funeral, no words were exchanged. Stiles slid into Scott's bed and hugged his friend, the scent of rain clinging to his skin. After that night, Stiles was the only person Scott cried in front of.
"That's part of life," Derek said. Sending him a knowing look, Derek understood exactly what was happening. "You just found out today Scott. Why do you think you're having such a strong reaction?"
"I've already told you why I'm upset. He's my best friend. I didn't know where else to go," Scott said, frustrated.
Derek sat back and gave Scott a leveled look. "That's bullshit Scott." Scott's head shot to his, anger at his alpha's words clouding his features. "I like Allison, I do. And I really don't want to piss of a hunter, but you need to step back and ask yourself why this bothers you so much"
Scott went to respond, but Derek held his hand up. He told Scott to think about it and not to do anything drastic. Still upset, Scott tried to talk to Derek more but the alpha sagely said to sleep on it. Leaving Derek's house, Scott headed home and climbed into bed.
Sleep alluded the young wolf and after an hour he rose from bed. Walking around his room he caught a whiff of his best friend's scent. Opening his closet, he found an old sweatshirt that Stiles had left months ago at their last sleepover. Grabbing it, Scott crawled back into bed, letting bubblegum, peppermint, grass and rain wash over him, lulling him into a deep sleep.
AN: Not fond of how this chapter ended, but I have an idea of where I want the story to go. I would love some feedback or just to hear if you think I should continue it. Let me know! Review, it gives me motivation!
Also, please check out my other Teen Wolf stories, Where is My Mind? (Derek/Stiles) and Ask Me No Questions, And I'll Tell No Lies (Jackson/Stiles). I am kind of at a point where I am unsure of which fic to continue with and would love the insight!