When Things Start Splitting At The Seams
"You know when you're drowning you don't actually inhale until right before you black out. It's called voluntary apnea. It's like no matter how much you're freaking out, the instinct to not let any water in is so strong that you won't open your mouth until you feel like your head's exploding. Then when you finally do let it in, that's when it stops hurting. It's not scary anymore, it's… it's actually kind of peaceful."
It's almost midnight on a Saturday night when Stiles' phone rings.
He's a little surprised when he sees Allison's name on the screen, especially so late and when she's supposed to be with Scott, but he answers anyway. "Hey Allison, what's up?"
"Stiles," She sounds breathless, "Where are you?"
"Uh… at my house," He replies with almost too much sass, "Where are you?"
"Home," Allison breaths, "I can't find Scott."
Stiles rolls his eyes even though she can't see him, "Game of naked hide and seek go terribly wrong?"
"Stiles!" She practically shrieks, "He's gone. I can't find him, and do you know what day it is?"
"Of course, it's - Oh, shit," He replies, finally understanding. It's a full moon. "But… how? I mean, he hasn't lost control on a full moon in forever. Why now?"
"Well…" She sighs, "We kind of got in a fight. And then he changed. And left. And I don't… I don't know what to do. Please, Stiles. I need your help."
"Okay, yeah, I'm on my way," He mumbles, putting the phone between his shoulder and ear and throwing a hoodie on, "Just… Stay there. I'll be there soon."
"Okay," She breaths out, then, "Thank you, Stiles."
At that, he hangs up and rushes out of his bedroom. He pauses for a moment at his dad's room, glancing in to find him sleeping and contemplates leaving him a note, just in case he wakes up, but decides against it, hoping he won't be gone too long. Instead, he throws on his shoes, grabs the keys to his jeep, and runs out the door.
It doesn't take long for him to get to Allison's, and by the time he gets there, he has already called Derek to let him know what's going on. Allison is wiping her eyes when she opens the door for him - she's obviously been crying - but she holds her head up high when she steps out the door, trying to be strong. "I uh… I didn't know that he was coming…" She says, sniffling when she steps out onto the porch.
Stiles' head whips around, and he can't say he's surprised when he sees Derek standing outside of his jeep, arms crossed. "Jesus, man, I was only turned around for a couple of minutes. You really need to stop this whole magically appearing thing."
"Scott's missing?" He asks, instead of replying to Stiles. Sometimes Stiles really hates when he does that. It makes him want to wave his hands in the air, yelling something along the lines of hello, I'm right here, but he doesn't. It does bug him, though, when he's one of the only human ones among a pack of wolves – literally – because more than half of the time, they don't take him seriously.
"Yeah," Allison answers, shaking Stiles out of his thoughts.
Derek studies her for a moment - looks her up and down - before deciding that she's not fit to be searching for him. Not like this. Not on a full moon. "Stay here," He says, voice actually soft for once, "We've got it covered. I'm sure he's fine."
Allison nods. It's reluctant, but she understands. She hugs Stiles quickly before retreating back into her house, leaving him and Derek alone.
"Do you know where he is?" Stiles asks immediately after the door shuts. Though he and Derek had their differences at first – and though Derek treats him like a child sometimes – they've become quite a good team lately.
Derek shakes his head no, "But I know where he might go." And at that, the two of them climb into Stiles' jeep and peel out of the driveway, toward the old Hale residence.
"How come it always comes down to you and I cleaning up after Scott?" Stiles groans as they make their way to Derek's old home. It has been silent the entire car ride so far, but he felt the need to say something. He's not sure if it's his nerves or the adderall and he doesn't really care.
In fact, Stiles half expects to just get a smart ass remark or a grunt in response from Derek, but he actually cracks a little smile in return and agrees, "I don't know. Apparently we do an okay job though."
Stiles hums in agreement, and he can't deny that it's nice to see Derek smile for once, "I guess. Let's just find this idiot."
After reaching the house, the boys set off on foot into the trees. Stiles usually feels uneasy out in the woods nowadays, knowing what could be out there, but he feels a little comfortable with someone like Derek by his side. The werewolf has saved his life on many occasions – though Stiles has also done the same for him – but it makes him feel better. He feels safe with Derek.
The though sends a weird feeling to the pit of his stomach, but he ignores it.
"You think he's okay?" Stiles asks, turning to Derek when they haven't found a trace of him after a few minutes.
"I don't know," Derek replies honestly, eyes narrowing, "Something doesn't feel right about tonight…"
"Oh, well that's just great," Stiles says sarcastically, "That makes me feel so much better. Seriously, that doesn't make me totally terrified to be walking around the woods looking for a pissed off werewolf. Thank you."
Derek shrugs, "Just being honest."
And, as if on cue, a loud howl pierces the silence of the woods, and Derek's head immediately shoots up. He's listening.
"What is it?" Stiles asks after the noise subsides.
Derek holds up a finger, as if he's still trying to process it. And then he looks at Stiles. And the look is enough to send a shiver down the boy's spine. It's not that his eyes went red – which they did – because Stiles is used to that. It's just… the look on his face. He can't decide if Derek looks more terrified or worried or… heartbroken. But either way, he doesn't have much time to think about it because then he's speaking. "Stiles, I need to go. Get back to Allison's, okay?"
"Whoa wait, what do you mean you have to go? Is it Scott? Is he okay?" Stiles asks, chasing after Derek when he turns around and starts walking in the opposite direction.
"It's okay," Derek replies, though his voice falters, giving him away. Even Stiles can tell that he's lying and that kind of scares him because Derek never lies, "Everything – Scott is okay. Just… Get to Allison's, okay? And stay there."
The look on Derek's face has Stiles worried again, but he doesn't have time to worry about it before he's running off into the woods, leaving him alone. Like usual. Stiles sighs and makes his way back to the Jeep. Once again, he hates being one of the few humans surrounded by wolves because half of the time he gets left behind, bored or doing research and the other half he's bait. Sometimes he wishes he would have gotten the bite. Sometimes.
"Are you sure Scott is okay?" Allison asks, pacing back and forth in her living room when Stiles gets back to her house.
"I'm sure," Stiles reassures, "Derek is on top of it. I'm sure he's got it all figured out. You know, crazy alpha werewolf senses and all…"
Allison smiles, "Yeah, you're right. Thanks, Stiles. For everything. Sometimes I forget I'm not the only human dealing with all of this craziness."
Stiles sighs, "Nope. Apparently we're the normal ones."
She laughs in response, "Normal. Right."
It's quiet between the two for a moment, and though Stiles knows it's probably inappropriate to ask, he has word vomit and well… "What were you and Scott arguing about? Before he left?" He asks.
Allison opens her mouth to say something, but is cut off by the shrill ringing of his phone from his pocket. "That's probably him right now," He says, smiling reassuringly at Allison. He's surprised though, when he sees Scott's mom's name on the screen when he looks at it. He waves it at Allison, though, still smiling, "His mom. I'm sure she's calling to let us know he got home okay." Stiles is somewhat grateful that Scott's mom knows about everything now. It makes their lives a hell of a lot easier sometimes.
"Hey Mrs. McCall," He says in a cheerful voice, "A little late to be calling your son's best friend, don't you think?"
"Stiles," Her voice sounds stressed on the other end, and it's the second time in one night that someone has greeted him that way. Sometimes he wonders why he can't just have a normal life.
"Is everything okay?" He asks, suddenly worried.
"I need you to get down to the hospital, Stiles," She says, voice somber. There's something really eerie about it.
"Is it Scott?" He suddenly panics, hoping his friend hasn't fucked up too badly this time, "Is he okay?"
"Scott's fine, honey," She assures, "It's uh… It's your dad, Stiles. Just. Please get down here, okay?"
Stiles' heart drops to his stomach. "M-my dad?"
"Yeah, look, I need to go, but just… hurry." And at that, she hangs up.
Allison tags along, even though Stiles begs her not to. The ride from her house to the hospital is silent, but thankfully, she doesn't comment or complain about his speeding.
And the entire drive to the hospital, Stiles mind is racing, wondering what could have gone wrong. Maybe someone broke in? Or it was a heart attack. Stiles had been bugging him to eat healthier, but he knew that his father had been sneaking burgers and curly fries behind his back every now and then. The one thing that stiles hopes most, though, is that the crazy, fucked up part of his life hasn't bled over into his normal one with his dad. Not again. He just hopes it's not something werewolf – or any other mythical creature – related. He doesn't quite know what he'd do if that was the case.
He sprints – full out sprints – through the emergency doors, leaving Allison running behind when they reach the hospital. He doesn't even remember if he shut his car door or not, nor does he care.
"Where's my dad?" He demands as he nears the front desk, breathless and almost on the verge of tears. There are people everywhere, rushing around the lobby and behind the desk, running in and out of rooms.
"What's your name?" The receptionist asks.
"Stilinski," He all but screams, "Stiles Stilinski. Where is my dad?"
"Stiles," He hears someone call his name, and when he looks up, he spots Scott's mom, walking down the hallway. From the look on her face, he knows that something is wrong.
"Where is he?" Stiles demands again, leaving the desk in favor for running to her, "Where's my dad?"
"Stiles…" She just repeats again, voice soft, but glances over her shoulder toward a room with a closed door, and that's what gives her away.
"I need to see him," Stiles says, mind in overdrive. He can't even think anymore and it's a miracle that his legs manage to carry him toward the door. He just needs to see his dad.
A pair of arms wrap around his waist when he tries to walk away though, and he knows that it's Scott's mom stopping him, "Stiles, wait. You can't."
"The hell I can't!" He screams, scrambling to rip away from her grip. At this point, he's attracted the attention of everyone else in the lobby and hallway, and a couple of other nurses are rushing over to help contain him.
"Please, listen," She begs, holding on tight.
"It's my dad!" He yells, and now he can feel the tears streaming down his face. He vaguely registers Allison watching from the lobby. Her dad is there, arm wrapped protectively around her waist and a quick flash of 'why the hell is he here?' shoots through Stiles' head. "Please…"
"You can't, Stiles," Mrs. McCall insists, "You can't."
And then he gets it.
He didn't make it in time.
Stiles loses it.
"No. Nonononono!" He screams, "Let me see him! I need to see him!"
Now there are other hands on him. Two more nurses are next to him now, and Allison's dad seems to have come closer, too.
"Let go!" He bellows, trying to rip the protective arms off of himself, "He's my dad! He can't be… I wasn't - I didn't-"
I didn't even get the chance to say goodbye.
"Stiles, please," Scott's mom begs, a few tears running down her face now, "Please, you have to believe me. We did everything. Everything."
"No," He shakes his head frantically, "No. This isn't real." His knees buckle under him and he slumps into Mrs. McCall's arms. His tears are blurring his vision. "Dad…"
"What if it just gets worse. What if it's agony now and then... then it's just hell later on?"