Author's Note: I'm thinking a few more chapters to wrap this one up and then probably starting a new one. And I'm keeping things bromancey, just had them do a little cuddling in the last one as friends who needed each other. Thanks again for sticking with me! My graduate thesis is finally done and now I have lots of time to write! The reviews are lovely. Keep them coming! :)
Scott's phone began to vibrate and skitter across the coffee table, the sound loud enough to wake both him and Stiles, Allison's name illuminated on the screen.
"You ready to talk to her?" Stiles asked as he watched Scott blinking his eyes repeatedly to wake himself up.
"Yeah. I think she needs someone to talk to," he said groggily, pulling the phone from the table but waiting to answer the call. "I promised we'd talk about it."
"Okay. I'm gonna go…in the kitchen," Stiles said, leaving before this grew heated between Allison and Scott. He pulled a box of Bagel Bites from the freezer and plopped them onto a plate before feeding them into the microwave. Scott was off of the phone and in the kitchen barely a minute later, finding a seat at the table and putting his head on his crossed arms.
"She's coming over," he mumbled, "and I'm shaking and starving thanks to all of that medication."
"Well, you're breathing, aren't you?"
"Yeah, but I feel like absolute crap."
"I'm making Bagel Bites," Stiles smiled and pointed to the microwave. "Your favorite!"
"Can you get my inhaler?" he asked, the defeat in his voice enough to throw Stiles out of his good mood.
"Yeah, man," he sighed, remembering all of the times he'd stayed home from school with Scott when he'd been sick. How they'd watch movies and make snacks to satisfy Scott's prednisone cravings. He wished they could go back to that, the fun they had despite the ever-present wheeze that was sometimes so loud it overshadowed the movie.
Returning with the medication, he sat beside Scott, letting the microwave beep to signal that the food was ready. "Lungs still tight?" he asked.
"No. Just want it on me. I'm tired of feeling panicked for air." Scott rushed his hands back and forth through his air to wake himself further before sighing heavily. "Food?" he asked.
"Do you know what you're going to say to her?" Stiles asked as he got the plate from the microwave and put it in front of them.
"I don't even know. I just need to eat something and lay down. That's literally all I can think about right now."
"You want me to leave?" Stiles expected a quick answer, but Scott stalled, shoving an entire mini bagel into his mouth and keeping his eyes from him. "Okay, I take that as a yes." He'd tried to keep the disappointment from enter his voice, but it came anyway, his urge to eat suddenly gone.
"I don't want you to leave, Stiles," Scott sighed again. He banged his fists on the table. "I just…ugh! Right now I don't know what I want! These stupid steroids. I didn't even take them that long ago and I already feel like my emotions are spiraling out of control."
"So you want me to stay so that I can keep you from lashing out at Allison?" Stiles asked, hating himself for even proposing the question.
"No, that's not why I want you to stay."
"Why do I always feel like I'm too busy taking care of everyone else for anyone to notice when I need someone back?" Stiles couldn't even stop the tears so he just let them fall and let Scott see them.
"Stiles," Scott's voice softened as he put his hand on his shoulder. "I know I haven't been the most available person lately. I'm sorry. Things have been a little…wild. I guess I figured that since you weren't having panic attacks, things were okay."
"But that's the thing," Stiles chuckled through his tears. "I'm still having my panic attacks; they're just happening when I'm all by myself. In the shower, when I'm in bed trying to fall asleep. They just follow me everywhere I go, wait for me to be alone."
"Why didn't you say anything?!"
"Because you're too busy trying to breathe and my dad is too busy at work. And I just don't want to bother anyone with my craziness," he whispered.
"You're not crazy, Stiles. Lots of people have anxiety. It's a real thing and you shouldn't be ashamed of it."
"But I am ashamed of it!" he cried, fresh tears falling. "I'm supposed to go and see this doctor. This guy who is just going to prescribe me pills and ask me how I feel about things every single time I go. And that's the thing! I don't want to talk about my mother. I don't want to talk about all of these emotions because I don't know what they are. I don't know if I'm happy or upset or optimistic or just distracting myself from everything that I'm afraid to feel. All I know is that I'm tired and the only thing keeping me going is making sure that you're okay."
"Come here," Scott said, pulling his best friend into a tight hug as he cried, Stiles' body shaking with sobs as the two stood in the middle of the kitchen. "I'm sorry I was too busy to notice," Scott sniffled. "I promise I won't let it happen again." They stood there like that for just a little while longer, the contact between them causing their hearts to begin beating in sync, both taking shaky inhales as they parted and pulled themselves together. "I'm sorry," Scott whispered.
"It's fine. Really," Stiles replied before grabbing the plate and nodding towards the stairs, a small smile coming across his lips as he slowly led Scott up the stairs so that the two could sit and watch the start of a movie while devouring Bagel Bites before Allison arrived.
"Scott," Allison said in the doorway of his bedroom, eyes red and puffy from crying. Stiles had gotten up to go to the bathroom. "I-I didn't know, I swear. I'm so sorry." She was shaking her head, knuckles under her chin as she apologized.
"Come here," he said as he pulled the covers off of his legs and scooted to the edge. Allison sat beside him, sniffling to keep herself from breaking down again.
"I really didn't know," she admitted mid-cry, hands wringing beneath her chin as she hunched over.
"Shh," Scott soothed as he put her head on her shoulder and pulled one of her hands into his. "I know. I'm not angry at you. Or your mom. It's okay, Allison."
"It's weird because I hate and miss her at the same time. I mean, she's my mom," Allison explained, half-smiling but also feeling like there was a lump in her throat. She wiped her face and sniffled. "My relationship with her has always been a little weird. I guess I've always been closer to my dad. But this, with the perfume. I just…how am I supposed to forgive her for that?" The tears started up again, but she refused to wipe them away. "How do I just forgive her for lying to me about who I really am? And then leaving me to pick up all of these pieces on my own?"
Scott pulled his lips inward, afraid to hug Allison because he thought maybe she was mad at him for keeping so many secrets himself. As he watched her fold over herself, sobs becoming quiet, he realized she needed him. So he wrapped his arms around her and pulled her against his body, grip tight like his mother always used to do when he was in the middle of a tantrum as a child. There was just something about being that close to someone that had always made him feel less alone and a lot more understood, which was exactly what Allison needed at that very moment.
"S-she just left me," Allison sobbed, body shuddering with each one she let out. "A-and then she left me with that perfume," she continued, shaking her head. "So that I could kill you. W-what kind of mother d-does that?"
"I know she loved you, Allison, more than anything else. Sometimes people do things because they think it's the best for someone they love. Maybe that's what she was doing when she decided she had to go, after she got the Bite and realized that she'd become the one thing she'd been trying to protect you from since the moment she knew you were going to be born." Scott wasn't sure where that had come from, but he'd went with it because it had felt like the right thing to say.
"I just wish that none of this had ever happened," she cried, her tears going through Scott's shirt as she buried her face against his chest. "I hate this. I hate all of this."
"It's all over now," Scott assured her, rubbing her back as he let the vice around her go a little slack. Allison calmed in his arms, sniffling the only remnants of her outburst left as the two hugged closely for a few wordless minutes.
Stiles appeared in the doorway, waiting for Scott's eyes to catch his to let him know whether or not it was a good time. Scott shook his head and nodded to Allison, to which Stiles backed himself up and snuck down the stairs.
"She can't hurt us anymore," he whispered, letting Allison lean against his shoulder as the two sat and calmed down, the anxiety of the past few weeks' events finally easing up.