Isaac knows he's a bad kid. He's not stupid. He's been suspended more times than he could count, sometimes for talking back to teachers, occasionally for fighting. He's been arrested three times now, again, for fighting, but also for that time he thought it would be a good idea to break into the Whittemore's house so he could steal the flat screen TV he saw them carrying in earlier in the day. That TV would have gotten him enough money at a pawn shop to get a hotel for a couple days.

Of course, he gets caught, and he's brought in to the station - the Whittemore's decided to drop the charges-, and then to child services, because as much as he wishes he wasn't, technically, he's still a kid. A sixteen year old, totally capable of taking care of himself- thank you very much-, kid. And they struggle yet again to find a place for him.

"We can always send him back to the group home." His case worker says to her partner.

She's an older woman with grey almost completely dominating the red in her hair. Isaac hates her. She constantly talks about him like he isn't there, like he shouldn't have any choice in his life because he's underage, and therefore he can't possibly know what's best for himself.

"And I'll just run away again." Isaac tells her, leaning back in her chair.

His case worker- her name is Dolores, because she's obviously evil (he read Harry Potter, he's not fooled by the smiles she puts on around her coworkers)- narrows her eyes at him and purses her lips. "I just don't know what to do with you." She says finally.

"Let me take care of myself, like I've been telling you to for two and a half years." Isaac suggests, words only slightly too quiet to be considered a shout.

Dolores stands up and shakes her head at him. "You're a very sad boy, Isaac Lahey." She says, and then she grabs her papers off the table.

Isaac snorts because he's never heard someone make such an inaccurate assumption about him. He wasn't sad that his mother died. He wasn't sad that, not long after, his brother joined the army and he passed away, too. He wasn't sad that his dad beat him every day from the time he was twelve until he had a heart attack when Isaac was fourteen and then he, just like everyone else, was gone.

Oh no, he was fucking furious. And it was really surprising that no one seemed to get that, considering how many times his fist seemed to connect with someone's face, or how many times he threw glasses across rooms, or kicked in car windows before the driver honked at him when he walked in front of it.

"Are you done attempting to 'help me' yet, Dolores?" Isaac asks, making air quotes around the words 'help me'. His tone is mocking and he smirks up at her while he lifts his feet up and places them on the table. "Or have you finally realized that not only do I not need any help from you, but that you're not really capable of giving it, are you?"

Dolores' cheeks stained red and she tucked he folders under her arms and put her hands on the door. "I'm switching you case workers, Isaac. You're right, I can't help you."

She disappears out the door, her assistant following her, but Isaac knows he isn't allowed to leave yet, because the police officer just outside the door, who he can see the left side of through the tiny window, hasn't moved yet. So, he waits, because, first of all, he's got nothing better to do. And second of all, he couldn't really leave if he wanted to.

Okay, yeah, he wanted to. He hated the child services building. It's small and squat and all of the offices feel more like interrogation rooms. He was told once, by Dolores, that they're supposed to put the children at ease. Isaac had snorted loudly at that and then told her that he wouldn't feel at ease in the room unless he smashed every picture frame on the wall. They're moved him to a room without picture frames after that.

After what seems like hours but couldn't have been more than a few minutes, the door opens again. It isn't Dolores. No, this woman is definitely younger, and her hair is all long dark brown curls. She's got kind brown eyes and her lips are tilted in the barest hint of a smile as she places the folders in her hands on the table.

Isaac instantly feels victorious, because he has a feeling he'll have this woman wrapped around his fingers in seconds. She looks like the easily intimidated type, and Isaac figures he'll get to walk out of this finally a free man, no group home, no cops dragging him back to said group home.

"I'm Melissa," she says, her smile widening. She doesn't reach over to shake his hand, like Isaac kind of expects, but instead she folds both of her own in front of her. "Melissa McCall, but you can just call me Melissa."

The last name sounds slightly familiar, and another pair of brown eyes flash into his memory. Scott McCall, sat in front of him in History one in ninth grade, was on the lacrosse team with him that year, too, until Isaac got kicked off.

Melissa raises her eyebrows, as if expecting him to introduce himself.

"Um, I'm Isaac," Isaac says, pressing his pointer finger to his chest. "And if you don't know that then you're obviously not doing your job properly."

He expects her to look taken aback, or at least a little flustered, but Melissa actually laughs. It isn't a strictly happy sound, but it was still a laugh. "They told me you were a smartass," Melissa says, shaking her head as she opens one of her folders. "Isaac Lahey," she says, and Isaac narrows his eyes. "Arrested three times, suspended from Beacon Hills high four times. It says here that you haven't attended at all this year, so you've missed over a month of school, and they're not willing to take you back without strict conditions." Melissa looks up at him for confirmation on these facts and Isaac just shrugs.

Melissa sighs and looks at him for a long time. Eventually Isaac snaps out an angry, "What?"

"I'm trying to think of what to do with you, obviously. You're not going back to that group home, that's decided. Why they kept trying to send you back their, I have no idea," she adds under her breath. "Don't tell anyone I said that."

Isaac finds himself grinning at that. "Right, see, I'm fine to take care of myself. I don't need to go back there."

Melissa's eyes crinkle with a sad smile. "That's not what I meant, Isaac. You're a minor, no matter what you think is right for you, even if you are right, we can't let you do that."

Isaac considers this, and then nods, once. "Okay. But this time, when I run away, don't expect to find me as easily as you did the other times."

Melissa sighs. "You're not going back there. Didn't you listen to what I just said?"

Isaac shrugs. "Then where the hell am I going?"

"That," Melissa says, frowning down at the papers on the table again. "is the million dollar question."

In the end, Isaac doesn't think that either he or Melissa could have anticipated, at the start of their meeting, just where Isaac would end up going afterwards.

"I have rules." Melissa says as they drive. Isaac's in the back seat, only because he didn't want to sit upfront. Melissa had offered, but he'd just ignored her. "You hear me?"

"Obviously, I'm not impaired." Isaac says, looking out the window.

"Yeah, okay." Melissa suddenly pulls a sharp left and then they're just idling there on the side of the road. Cars drive past them, honking, but Melissa either doesn't notice or doesn't care. "First of all, we're starting with that. You want to be a jerk? You can do it back at the group home. Do not think for a second that while I don't want you to have to go back there, that I won't drag your ass there anyways if you don't listen to me."

Isaac doesn't glare at her. He just steadily looks into her eyes as she narrows her own. "I'm not very good with rules." Isaac says, unable to resist the smirk that spreads across his face.

"And I'm not very patient." Melissa tells him. "I've already got one teenager at home, don't think I don't know how to handle that little attitude problem, okay buddy?" Isaac didn't point out that she sounded really lame calling him buddy, but he definitely thought it. "So here's my guidelines. One, there will be no law breaking in my house. No drugs, no alcohol, no stealing, no skipping school. Second, everyone has chores. You do 'em or you leave, that's it. Third, I have an absolute zero tolerance for violence towards either myself or my son. And lastly, you will talk to me with respect. You don't have to like me, you don't even have to be nice to me, but you have to respect me. Do you understand?"

And the thing is, he kind of does. Respect her, that is. Because Melissa might have this comforting mother-like appearance, but she was absolutely unfazed by any of his comments or outbursts. In fact, she'd put him in his place during their hour long meeting more times than he could count.

"I understand." Isaac says finally, sighing.

"Good," Melissa nods and pulls back into traffic. "I work late most nights. I do an extra shift at the hospital. I've already called in to tell them that I'm running late, but I'm not going to have much time to do anything but give you a quick tour of the house and introduce you to Scott. If he's even home. Crap, I didn't consider that."

"Okay." Isaac says.

He realizes that, while this isn't ideal, right now this is the best option he has. So he'll suck it up, put on a fake smile, and pretend to be okay with it. He'll play along with all of Melissa's little rules, and he'll even go to school. And then, soon enough, just as the first few foster parents he'd had before being sent to the group homes, Melissa will realize how much of a tainted, lost cause he is, and she'll kick him out too.

"I put the spaghetti sauce in the crock pot, so that should be done, as long as Scott didn't forget to put cook the noodles, so I'll get us both a plate of that before I go." Melissa continues. "And if you're hungry after that, help yourself to anything. If Scott looks at you funny, just ignore him. I love the kid, but he's a freak." Melissa meets his eyes in the rear view mirror and grins.

Isaac doesn't know what he's expecting of Melissa's house. Maybe something huge and flashy, like the Whittemore's. But really, he should have realized that was wrong. Of course her house would be the building version of his first impression of the woman. It wasn't very large, but it was homey, surrounded by plants and trees. It looks like the kind of home where you'd go home from school to find baked goods on the table.

Isaac considers telling her it's nice when he gets out of the car but thinks the better of it. Melissa doesn't check to make sure he's following as she walks towards the house. Isaac figures that she could care less if he decided to run, because they both know he's got nowhere else to go. She holds all the cards.

"Scott!" Melissa calls the second the door is open.

"I'm upstairs!" Scott calls back, and Isaac can't tell if he recognizes the voice or not. He hadn't really paid attention to Scott much.

"I'm not having a shouting match with you, get your ass down here!" Melissa shouts, but she doesn't say it in a mad way, and she looks impatient but amused.

Scott comes into view and that is definitely not the kid from Isaac's memories. Same eyes, maybe, but the rest of him is different. His shoulders are wide, his face is thinner, jaw more prominent. He freezes halfway down the stairs, eyes on Isaac, and shoots his mom a confused look.

"Scott, this is Isaac. Isaac, this is my son, Scott." Melissa says when Scott makes it down the stairs. He doesn't come towards them, though. He just stands there, looking at Isaac warily.

Neither Scott nor Isaac make any sort of greeting, and Melissa sighs. "I'm getting something to eat," she says, rolling her eyes. She looks at her watch. "Crap, then I have to get back to work. Scott, you're going to have to give Isaac the tour, show him where the guest bedroom is, okay?"

Scott just nods, doesn't question why. Maybe Melissa has foster children all the time, and he's just used to it by this point.

"First stop on your tour," Melissa says, waving a hand for him to follow her. Isaac kicks off his shoes and does just that. "Kitchen." She says, and the second he walks into the modest sized room he's assaulted with the delicious smell of tomatoes and spices and his mouth waters. When was the last proper meal he had? He can't remember. "Right?" Melissa says, noticing the change in his expression. "It's the one thing I can actually cook without possibly burning it."

Isaac is quiet as Melissa grabs two plates from a cupboard and then dishes out pasta and sauce on each before passing one to Isaac. She jerks her head at the table and Isaac sits down. Scott stands in the doorway the whole time, just watching.

"Thanks," Isaac grunts, forking up a large bite. It tastes even better than it smells, and he fights down the low, appreciative sound that tries to fight its way out of his mouth.

Melissa smiles at him and looks at her watch one more time before practically shovelling a few more bites in her mouth and getting up. "I'll be back by two." She says to both Isaac and Scott. She pats Scott on the shoulder and kisses his cheek as she passes by him. "Behave. Please, don't burn down my house." She adds, and Isaac can't tell if that was directed completely at him, or if Scott has a thing for pyromania that he hadn't been warned about.

"She's joking," Scott says suddenly when the front door shuts after Melissa leaves. Isaac is still eating, but Scott's cheeks are slightly red under the naturally tan tone of them. "She left me and Stiles alone once when we were twelve and we tried to make cookies and we started a little fire. She'll probably never let it go."

Isaac has no idea why Scott is telling him this, because Scott has seemed borderline hostile towards him since he and Melissa walked in the door. "Did the cookies turn out, at least?" Isaac finds himself asking, fork halfway between his plate and his mouth.

Scott actually laughs at that and shakes his head. "No, definitely not. They were totally burnt."

Isaac finishes eating and puts his plate in the sink, the way Melissa had right before she left. Scott's eyes follow him, and when he's done Scott pushes off from the doorframe he was leaning against.

Isaac follows him.

"Living room," Scott says, jerking his head at the room when they walk past it. "Mom's room." He points at a closed door on the main floor. "There's a bathroom down here, too, but you have to go through her room to use it." Scott says before starting up the stairs. "First door on the left is the bathroom. Second door is the guest bedroom, so," Scott shrugs. "You can go in, or whatever."

Isaac nods and takes a step towards the room. It might have felt really awkward, if he wasn't already used to this whole thing by now. "You not going to ask what I'm doing here?" Isaac questions, pausing just outside the guest bedroom.

Scott shakes his head and shrugs. "None of my business. Just-," he pauses. "My mom doesn't go out on a limb for just anyone. Remember that before you think about ruining that trust."

Isaac stares at him hard for a moment, because he hears the implications in the words, and he realizes that while he might not have the greatest memory of Scott, Isaac was fairly well known at Beacon Hills High, especially after punching Jackson in the face.

"You don't know anything about me." Isaac says instinctively, because he really doesn't. He only knows what he's heard and, yeah, sure, what he's heard is probably one hundred percent accurate. That doesn't give him the right to just blindly believe those rumours, though.

Scott shrugs once again and Isaac's starting to think that shrugging is something he does often. "I know I don't," Scott says, cocking his head to the side just a bit. "But my mom's all the family I have, and I don't like seeing her get hurt."

There's a threat underneath his words. Isaac's been in more than enough fights to hear it, and he realizes that maybe Scott McCall might just be fun to play with. Isaac might even be able to coax him into throwing the first punch, if he pushed the right buttons.

But he's tired, and it's late, so that will just have to wait until tomorrow. Isaac doesn't say anything, just gives Scott his signature smirk and disappears inside the guest room, closing the door behind himself.

The bedroom is bigger than the one he shared with two other guys at the group him. It's smaller than the one had used to have back home, though. He doesn't really mind. If the room had looked anything like his old room, he would have been out of there faster than Scott could blink as he past him on the stairs.

There's a dresser up against the left wall with a mirror on top of it. A small window on the left side of the room is closed and covered by flowery drapes. The bed is pushed against the right wall, and it's small but it looks comfortable. There's a small table beside it with a lamp.

Isaac turns off the light and goes straight for the bed, climbing in with his clothes still on. Last night he'd slept in an abandoned streetcar in an old warehouse. The night before that, he'd passed out on a bench at the park.

He falls asleep in the warm, soft bed almost instantly.

Isaac has a nightmare that night. Of course he does. It's rare, really, when he doesn't wake up with a shout, panting and clinging at whatever his hands can find.

Tonight, it's not so much a dream as a memory. He's locked in the freezer again, trying to claw his way out. He can feel his breaths coming in short pants, and while he knows he can't actually suffocate inside the freezer, his panicked mind doesn't seem to know that, and he's freaking out, trying to get out before his air runs out.

His fingers are bloody and he thinks he might have actually torn off a nail or two. He doesn't care. The dull, aching pain is not important. He can deal with that when he gets out.

It's just as he starts to think that he's not ever going to escape, that this is the time his dad finally just leaves him in there to die, that he wakes up.

The shout that crawls its way out of his throat fills the room, and his fingers are clawed in the blanket. He's disoriented for a second, unsure of where he is, until there's a quiet knock on his door.

"Are you okay?" Scott calls through the door, and Isaac can hear the concern. "Isaac-,"

"I'm fine," Isaac snaps.


"Go the fuck away!" Isaac yells.

He hears the sound of footsteps retreating from his door, and then the sound of a door just down the hall slamming. Isaac rolls back over and tries to control his breathing. When he's calmed down enough the exhaustion sets in and he feels achy and so, so tired.

This time, he doesn't dream.

"I've got your clothes." Melissa says, waking him up.

The light coming in through the window says that it's either really early, or almost noon. Melissa places a duffle bag on the floor beside the dresser.

"I stopped by the group home," she explains. "They gave me all your stuff."

Isaac isn't sure if he's grateful or furious for this woman butting into his life without his consent. But he's been wearing these jeans for so long now that a change of clothes sounds amazing, and so he just rubs his eyes and swings his legs out of bed.

"No 'thank you'?" Melissa asks, raising an eyebrow. For some reason Isaac gives in the chastised, guilty feeling, and opens his mouth to say it, but she cuts him off. "Doesn't count if I make you say it." She says, putting a hand on her hip. "You've got school tomorrow. Today, do whatever you want. There's towels in the closet beside Scott's room. If you go out, be home by nine." She doesn't threaten him, give him any incentive to returning on time, and Isaac wonders if it's because she doesn't care, or if she's just not the type to intimidate to get her way.

"Okay," Isaac says, nodding.

"Good," Melissa smiles. "Did you sleep okay?"

She doesn't look like she knows about the nightmare, so Scott must not have told her. Isaac wonders at that, but doesn't bring it up. "I slept alright." Isaac says, shrugging. "Bed's comfortable."

"Good, good." Melissa says again. "I've really got to go. I'm always running late, I don't know why I do this to myself. Anyways just- make yourself at home, okay?"

And then she's out the door, leaving Isaac feeling hollow.

When was the last time someone had been so… freaking kind to him? He didn't like it. It was easier to deal with people who didn't like you, or who were angry at you. Anger was an emotion Isaac was used to having directed at him.

But the way Melissa's eyes crinkled when she smiled at him, and how she needed to make sure that he was comfortable before she left? He didn't know what the hell to do with that.

So he decides to just push it from his mind. He gets out of bed and pulls open the duffle bag, grabbing the first clothes he touches. He grabs a towel from the closet and then heads into the bathroom.

It's a nice bathroom. Really clean. Isaac turns on the water and shrugs out of his clothes. He should take them out back later and burn them, he thinks. He doesn't want to wear those jeans ever again. He'd have to take the pack of cigarettes out of the back pocket first, though.

The water is warm and the pressure is just perfect. Isaac steps into the tub and just stands there for a few minutes, unmoving, just letting the water run down his face and his back and the rest of his body. If the bed had been an improvement from what he was used to, the shower was practically heaven compared to it.

But there's only so long he can stay like that, so he grabs the bottle of body wash, not really caring that he didn't ask to use it first. He knows it's Scott's, because it's men's body wash. It smells good, too, and Isaac considers how good Scott would smell coming out of the shower, and then pushes that thought to join the ones he'd decided to ignore earlier.

He did not need to develop a thing for Scott. Things were already strained and complicated enough, and while Isaac kind of enjoyed creating a path of destruction everywhere he went, he didn't like doing it that way.

He doesn't realize, until he's towelling off, that he mistook a sweatshirt for a pair of sweatpants. And he didn't grab boxers.

Isaac's sighs and ties the towel around his waist and picks up the clothes from the floor, letting out an annoyed sigh.

The air in the hallway is so much colder than it was in the bathroom and Isaac can't help but pause and shudder, goosebumps breaking out over his skin, his eyes fluttering shut.

A strangled noise makes them pop back open. Scott's just standing in the doorway to his room, eyes wide, fingers curled around the doorknob, turning almost white at the knuckles.

"Take a picture," Isaac tells him, smirking. "If you do I might just drop the towel for you, too."

Scott narrows his eyes and slams the door. Isaac goes back to his room, feeling smug.

Scott leaves for most of the day, and Isaac spends the time spread out on the coach, remote in hand. When Scott comes through the front door and sees him, he glares and heads straight to the kitchen. Isaac hears him moving around, pots clanging together, water running.

Half an hour later a plate of leftover spaghetti, this time topped with meatballs, is placed on the coffee table in front of him.

Isaac raises an eyebrow and picks it up. The sauce isn't as good as it was yesterday, but the meatballs make up for that. "Thanks." Isaac says to Scott, who's sitting in the recliner with his legs crossed, plate in his lap, before he realizes it. He doesn't like to thank people, especially not ones who spend more time glaring at him than anything else.

"Whatever." Scott says, shrugging.

They eat in silence for a few minutes, both of them just watching the television, until Scott looks at him. "What?" Isaac asks, shifting uncomfortably.

Scott picks up his fork and starts eating again, but he stops and stares at Isaac yet again a few minutes later. "Last night- is that something that happens often?"

Isaac bites back whatever angry words threaten to come out of his mouth. "That's none of your business."

Scott nods. "Okay."

And that's it. He drops it. Isaac's kind of flabbergasted. The first time anyone had witnessed him having one his nightmares, he'd been pushed into therapy. Until, of course, he threaten to stab his therapist with a pen. He wouldn't actually do it, stabbing people was unappealing, to be honest. He didn't like blood, he just liked punching people.

Of course, the second time he has a nightmare, that night, Scott doesn't let it go as easily as he had the first time it happened, or when it was brought up again.

There's a knock at his door, just like the previous night. And, also like that night, Isaac tells Scott to leave him the fuck alone. Except, this time, he doesn't.

The bedroom door opens a creak, the light of the hallway spilling in, and then it closes again, plunging the room into darkness.

For some reason, Isaac starts to panic, just like he had in the nightmare. He can't see anything, but he can feel Scott's presence in the room, and it's because he can't tell where he is, what he might be doing, that terrifies Isaac. No one is afraid of the dark. Just what lurks under it's cover.

His breathing starts to get ragged again and Isaac wants to strike out at everything around him. He can't, though. Can't move, or really think, because if he could he'd realize he's being ridiculous. Scott isn't going to hurt him.

"Hey, you're okay," and that's Scott's voice, soothing and coming from the end of the bed.

The mattress groans as Scott sits on it, and Isaac feels himself calm down a bit. He can't see him, still, but he can sense exactly where Scott is.

"What happens?" Scott asks when Isaac doesn't tell him to leave.

"What do you mean?" Isaac asks, running a hand over his face. His hair is matted to his forehead and his hand comes away damp with sweat. He pulls the blanket up and wipes his face down with it before leaning against the headboard.

"When you have your-nightmares, or whatever. What are you dreaming about?" Scott clarifies.

Isaac's quiet for a few minutes and even he thinks he's not going to answer. And yet, for some reason, he does.

"My dad." He says quietly, and he hates how vulnerable his voice sounds. When his father died he vowed to never be vulnerable again. And he'd done such a good job of it, too. Up until now.

"He died, right?" Scott asks, voice low and calm, like he's talking to a wild animal that's going to bite or run at any second. "Is that why-,"

Isaac laughs. It's rough and it actually hurts his throat, but he doesn't care. "I'm glad he's dead." Isaac says, and then realizes that it's true. He's never said it before, never really thought it, but he is. He's relieved. Scott doesn't know why, though, and he probably thinks Isaac is just insane. "He- he used to hit me. Before he died." Isaac says, spilling another secret in the dark to Scott McCall, the guy he barely knows, who thinks he's a delinquent. Who rightfully thinks he's a delinquent.

Isaac sucks in a breath and then there's a hand on his ankle, squeezing just enough for Isaac to feel the pressure of it. "I'm sorry." Scott says, and Isaac is annoyed at how sincere he sounded. Scott shouldn't give a shit, Isaac knows. And this poor kid is going to end up getting chewed up and spit out in the real world, if he really just threw around his emotions like that.

"Just go away, Scott." Isaac says quietly, pulling the blankets up around his head, completely covering him.

He feels raw and exposed and he hates it, kind of hates Scott, too, but it's not really his fault. He didn't do anything but sit there. Isaac was the moron who decided to just spill everything to him.

Scott doesn't even protest, because he's just that fucking nice and considerate, and he just gets off the bed and leaves the room. Isaac only kind of wishes he'd stay, but he doesn't really analyse that, because he told himself that he wasn't going there.

This time it's Isaac who walks out of his room to find Scott half naked. Melissa had knocked loudly on his door, waking him up for school before she left. He was still tired, and he considered just going back to bed when she left, but for some reason he didn't.

Scott wasn't fresh out of the shower, like Isaac had been, but he's wearing nothing but a pair of tight black briefs and he blinks lazily up at Isaac before his eyes widen. Isaac just rolls his eyes in amusement and purposefully brushes up against Scott as he heads to the closet to grab another towel.

Scott's all hard muscles and smooth skin against his arm, and he actually shudders when Isaac's skin touches his own. Isaac decides that he deserves this little indulgence, and let's his hand trail over Scott's stomach as he goes.

Even Isaac's surprised, and impressed with himself, to be honest, when he turns back around and Scott is just standing there staring at him, very obviously on his way to getting hard in his briefs.

"You're welcome to join me." He tells Scott as he steps into the bathroom. His voice is rough and teasing, but he feels almost giddy on the inside, and he doesn't know what he'd actually do if Scott took him up on it, but he really hopes he does.

The door closes between them, though, and he hears Scott go back to his room, whatever he'd left it for apparently abandoned.

And if he jerks off in the shower, playing out what could have just happened if Scott had followed him into the bathroom in his mind, well, he's pretty sure Scott's doing the same thing in his room, so he doesn't really worry about it.

The thing that no one knows, or would believe, about Isaac is that he actually really loves school. He loves classes, and books, and he's pretty smart, when he wants to be. What he doesn't like is people, students and teachers who piss him off or whisper behind his back. That's why it's always easier to just avoid it. And when he doesn't, he has a habit of starting a fight.

But the thought of Melissa's face, contorted with disappointment and anger and maybe even a bit of relief as she drops him off at the group home, keeps him from acting on anything. Even when a guy bumps his shoulder hard and sneers at him, someone whose name Isaac can't even remember, he just shakes it off and keeps walking.

When he gets back to Melissa's after school, Scott's in the living room with his friend Stiles. They apparently didn't notice him come in, and Isaac pauses to listen to their conversation for a second, because yeah, he's nosey. He can admit to that.

"It's like the O.C., but gayer." He hears Stiles say, and he has to choke back a laugh, because that kind of does sum up the situation, sort of.

Scott let's out a groan. "It's not funny." He says, and he hears the irritation in his voice, underneath the amusement. "He's kind of an asshole, Stiles. And it's just a matter of time before he screws up, and then I'm going to have to deal with my mom afterwards, and he's going to just walk away from it like he does everything else."

Stiles doesn't respond for a few moments, and Isaac's holding his breath, anger rising up in him. "I think you're exaggerating because you don't want to have to deal with your giant, gay boner for the dude."

Isaac pulls open the front door again and slams it closed, as if he's just walked in, and then heads straight upstairs.

Scott's right. It is only a matter of time before he fucks up, and he knows that. He just can't figure out why the words sting when he hears them coming from the other boy.

He's out back, smoking a cigarette, when Scott comes outside. Melissa isn't home, as is often the case. It doesn't take Isaac more than the three days he's there to realize that she's over worked. She's dedicated, though, and he kind of admires that.

"You smoke?" Scott asks, leaning against the door he just exited.

Isaac takes a long drag, letting the smoke fill his lunges with the familiar burn. "No." Isaac says, because he thinks it's kind of a really stupid fucking question, with the lit cigarette dangling from his fingers. "You?"

Scott shakes his head. "I'm asthmatic." He says.

"So that's a-?"

"No." Scott tells him, crossing his arms over his chest. Isaac just shrugs and takes another drag. "I wanted to ask you about this morning."

Isaac raises his eyebrows and drops the cigarette to the ground, stepping on it with the toe of his shoe. "What about it?"

"Did you- did you really mean it?" Scott asks, and Isaac can tell how much of a struggle it is for Scott to ask that. He might have found it endearing, or even cute, if he hadn't heard Scott's words form this afternoon.

So he takes a step forward and crowds Scott up against the door. "Did you want me to mean it?"

Scott sucks in a breath and stares at his shoulder, not moving. Isaac can smell him, this close up. His deodorant and body wash, and something else that's a little more raw, a little more Scott.

"I don't know." Scott answers, and he sounds wrecked.

"Then you're just going to have to wait until I fuck up like I always do, right Scott?" Isaac says, and his hand closes over the doorknob and he pushes it open. He doesn't laugh when Scott tumbles backwards and almost falls through the open doorway. He just walks past him.

He's been at the McCall house for two weeks now, and he hasn't, apparently, done anything to upset Melissa yet. She's only home at night twice a week, and she sleeps during the days most of the time. The nights when she is home, though, Isaac finds himself staying awake as late as possible, so that when he finally drifts off to sleep he does so without dreaming or waking up. Sure, it leaves him exhausted in the morning, but he doesn't want to wake up screaming with Melissa there. It's already bad enough that one McCall knows more about him than he's comfortable with.

Scott avoids him, most of the time. Isaac doesn't really mind, because he doesn't really care. Why the hell should he?

On his third Saturday in the house, he goes to sleep early. Of course, it's no surprise when he wakes up in the middle of the night, his panic attack worse than usual.

He sits in bed for minutes afterwards, trying to assure himself that he's fine. But his breathing doesn't calm, and the feeling of being slowly suffocated won't leave him.

He gasps and tries to gulp in breaths when he pushes the cover off himself, thinking that might help. It doesn't. Instead, it just makes him suddenly freezing cold. But getting back under the blankets sounds like a horrible idea, so he swings his legs out of bed and takes a step towards the door.

He has to stop and lean against the dresser before he even gets the door open, and try to force air through his lungs. In the hallway, it's dark. Scott must have been asleep already, too, and he finds himself padding towards Scott's room without really thinking about why.

He was wrong. Scott wasn't asleep. He was laying in bed with the lamp on his table on, just staring up at the ceiling. He looks up when Isaac stumbles into the room, and he glares at him for just a second before his eyebrows come together with confusion and he gets out of bed, moving quickly towards Isaac.

"Sorry," Isaac gets out through ragged breaths. "I didn't- I couldn't-,"

And he sounds so freaking weak and pathetic, it's a wonder Scott doesn't laugh at him, or make fun of him. But of course he doesn't, because this is Scott, and apparently he's just fucking perfect in every way.

His arm goes around Isaac's waist and Isaac isn't sure if he's grateful or regretful when he realizes he stripped his shirt off at some point in the middle of the night.

"Don't worry about it," Scott tells him in hushed tones. He rubs a circle on Isaac's back, just a slow, rhythmic movement with his thumb, and Isaac moves into the touch, his eyes closing. "Just breath." Scott coaxes, and Isaac tries, he really does. The air moves easier into his lungs, but he still fills constricted and on edge, adrenaline coursing through his veins. "You're okay. Isaac, you're okay."

Isaac leans his head on Scott's shoulder and just breaths, until the panic subsides and the awkwardness settles in. He pushes away from Scott with a bit more force than necessary, and Scott actually stumbles back a step. But when he meets Isaac's eyes, he's not furious or even surprised.

"You can stay here, you know." Scott says suddenly, jerking his head towards the bed.

Isaac smirks. "I bet you'd like that."

Scott rolls his eyes. "I'm not inviting you to have sex with me, Jesus Christ. I'm inviting you to sleep in my bed because you have a habit of waking up screaming in the middle of the night and I thought it might help."

Isaac snorts. "Whatever." He says, and he leaves the room before he thanks Scott, or worse, takes him up on the offer.

Isaac doesn't get a chance to take Scott up on his offer, though. Scott, instead, decides to take it upon himself to just worm into Isaac's life where he least wants him.

Isaac doesn't know why the nightmares come so frequently. Maybe it's because for once, he's comfortable where he is. Melissa is great, he grudgingly admits, and he's got a safe place to sleep, and he's back in school. Life is almost normal for him. So, of course, that means the universe has to balance things out, and it does so in the form of the nightmares.

The next night Isaac feels just as trapped and panicky as he had the night before, but he doesn't get out of bed to go to Scott for comfort. He just lies there for what feels like hours until his bedroom door opens, like the other time Scott came to him when he was having a panic attack.

Unlike that night, though, Scott doesn't sit at the end of the bed. Isaac is still breathing in short, terrified pants when the comforter is pulled back, and then a warm body slides up beside his.

"What- are you- doing?" Isaac pants out, narrowing his eyes. Scott can't see that, though. It's too dark in the room.

"Shut up," Scott says, and then there's an arm around his waist. "Okay? Just shut up. You're waking me up every night with those screams, and I have a test tomorrow. I need sleep. So just- just - sleep. Okay?"

He's too tired to argue, too tired to just shove Scott out of the bed, so he just sucks in a breath, rolls over, and falls back asleep.

"I'm not even going to comment." Melissa says, snapping Isaac awake hours later.

He sits up quickly, hands grabbing for the blanket. Scott, on the other hand, is slower. He rubs at his eyes, yawns, and stretches before he realizes where he is. He falls out of the bed. Isaac would laugh, if he wasn't terrified.

"We just-,"

Melissa raises a hand. "I'm just glad you both have clothes on." She says, shaking her head. "This doesn't happen again. Okay? Both of you?"

Scott nods from his place on the floor, and Isaac's throat is too dry to say anything, so he does the same thing.

When she's gone, leaving the door halfway open on the way, Scott looks up at him from the floor. "Oh, my god." He says, looking embarrassed and confused and a little scared.

"That's your fault." Isaac says, getting out of bed. He just barely avoids stepping on Scott's legs. "You were the one who came to my room in the middle of the night."

"Yeah, well, you slept better when I was in here, didn't you?" Scott shoots at him, embarrassment turning to anger on his face.

"Don't flatter yourself, McCall." Isaac sneers, because he has a habit of picking up on other people's anger and then doubling his own right back in defense.

Isaac thinks that's finally it. The point in his relationship with Scott where they both just stop talking, or even acknowledging each other's presence. But of course it's not, because Scott apparently lives to drive Isaac crazy, this time by offering him a ride to school with him and Stiles.

And Isaac takes it, only because it's raining and he'd rather not walk.

Stiles is all chatter during the drive. Seriously, the kid doesn't shut up. Isaac kind of likes that, though, because while he may not stop, he's actually pretty smart, and he makes it unnecessary for Isaac to say anything. And he's funny, in a cynical, sarcastic way. Isaac's favourite type of humour.

"I don't mind driving you whenever I pick up Scott," Stiles says when they get to school. Scott shoots him a look but Stiles ignores it.

Isaac just shrugs. "Sure. Whatever."

Isaac leaves them then, but not before he hears Scott his out, "See?" and Stiles' reply of, "I don't know, I kind of like him."

"I have a lacrosse game tonight." Scott says at dinner. Melissa's there, and she made roast. Apparently she was wrong when she said spaghetti was the only thing she was good at making, because it's really good. "You should come." Scott adds to Isaac.

Isaac takes a longer time than necessary to chew the food in his mouth before responding. "I should?"

Melissa raises her eyebrows at him, and Scott gives him a kind of hopeful, wide eyed look that's the complete opposite of the anger that had been on his face that morning. And that's how he ends up spending his Monday night sitting in the bleachers beside the lacrosse field.

Scott's not a bad player. Stiles doesn't even play at all. Isaac figures he'd be better than Scott, if he hadn't got kicked off the team. He's a little bitter about that. Lacrosse had been fun. You were allowed to hurt people without getting in trouble. Unless, of course, you take your helmet off and shove the guy on the opposing team, and then punch him in the jaw when his own helmet comes off.

But then Scott ends up scoring the final goal of the game, winning for their team by a single score, and Isaac finds himself cheering along with everyone else.

"Not bad, huh?" Scott asks, jogging up to him when he gets off the bleachers.

"You weren't terrible." Isaac says, shrugging.

"I won the game." Scott points out.

"That the only goal you plan on scoring tonight?" Isaac says while leaning down, so the words are whispered in Scott's ear, not loud enough for Stiles, who had just walked up to them, to hear.

He likes goading Scott, alright? His buttons are painfully easy to push, and it's rewarding to see the colour creep into those cheeks.

"You ridding home with us?" Stiles asks, raising his eyebrows, but he doesn't look all that surprised by the position he and Scott are in.

Isaac shrugs and waits by the jeep as they change out of their uniforms.

"Dude, you smell." Stiles says while they drive home.

Scott shifts uncomfortably. "I hate using the school showers. I'm just waiting until I get home."

Stiles makes a vomiting sound. "How wonderful for the rest of us."

Isaac ends up laughing at that.

Isaac follows Scott up the stairs when they get home, because he's got homework to do. Yes, actual homework. And yes, he's actually going to do it. Probably. As long as he doesn't get bored.

He expects Scott to head into his room, but Scott goes to the closet, grabs a towel, and then heads for the bathroom beside Isaac's room.

"Thought you had a bathroom in your room." Isaac says, raising his eyebrows.

Scott shrugs. "If that's what you want." He says, changing directions.

Isaac is frozen in the hallway, staring at his retreating back. "What?" Isaac blurts, eyes wide.

Scott turns and the grin on his face couldn't be described as anything but wicked. It's different than the grin Isaac usually sees on his face, normally all joyous an innocent. "Coming?"

"I- no!" Isaac shakes his head and stares at Scott, dumbfounded, because he couldn't actually- he wasn't really-,

"That's what I thought." Scott says, and he pulls his shirt over his head with his free hand. He's still slightly sweaty from the game and Isaac has to tear his eyes away from Scott's chest and stomach as he backs into his room. "You're all talk, Isaac.'

Scott leaves his bedroom door open and Isaac wants to move, to go into his room or back downstairs or something, but instead he just stays there, planted to the floor, watching Scott, who now has his back turned to Isaac.

Isaac watches with absurd fascination as Scott's jeans hit the floor next, and then a pair of grey boxers, and suddenly there's so much skin, all tanned and tone, and he lets out a groan. Scott doesn't turn back around, just walks at a casual pace towards the side of his room where the bathroom is. Isaac doesn't hear the bathroom door closed before the sound of running water hits his ears, too loud, the door still open.

Isaac looks up at the ceiling for a second, annoyed at how heavy his breathing sounds. "Fuck," he says, taking a step towards Scott's room.

Scott's standing in the bathroom, towel now tied around his waist. He turns to Isaac and his eyes are kind of wide, like he wasn't really expecting Isaac to actually come. Isaac didn't either, really.

Because, yeah, he made a lot of jokes about it. He liked to tease Scott, because he knew it would never actually amount to anything. Or so he thought. And now that the opportunity presented itself, he was suddenly nervous and doubtful and confused.

Now that he's actually standing outside the bathroom door, though, Scott doesn't look as cockily confident as he did just moments ago. His cheeks are flushed, but that could just be from the heat of the room. He swallows and Isaac tracks the movement of his throat with his eyes.

"Um," Scott blinks and his hand grips the towel to keep it from falling. "You're going to have to take that off if you plan on joining me." He says, jerking his head in the direction of Isaac's clothes.

Isaac clears his throat. "Are- you're serious?"

Scott shrugs. "I need to shower. You can-," Scott just waves his hand, like he can't find the right words, and then a steely look spreads over his features and he raises his eyebrows, drops the towel, and steps into the steaming water of the shower.

Isaac scrambles to pull off his shirt and it falls somewhere on the floor, he doesn't really know. He's pants follow it, and he steps into the bathroom but almost trips on the material of his clothes. He shuts the bathroom door behind himself and then sucks in a deep breath as he kicks off his boxers.

He steps into the shower, the tub slightly slippery under his feet. It's even hotter inside, hotter than Isaac runs his showers, normally. Scott turns to him and his eyes are still wide but now the pupils are dilated, and his mouth is slightly hanging open.

Isaac has to squeeze his eyes closed for a second, because-, "Fuck," he breathes again.

"Yeah," Scott agrees. Isaac opens his eyes again to meet Scott's brown ones. "I can't believe I just did that." Scott says, and his mouth is tilting up in the barest hint of a smile, and then suddenly they're both laughing because they're actually doing this, and it's so absurd and crazy and Scott's mom could come home at any time, and neither of them thought about that fact.

Isaac can't remember the last time he laughed like that, unabashed and free. The whole thing is so crazy, but he really can't stop, and he's aware that Scott is standing there in front of him naked and wet and god that's enticing, but he can't stop laughing to do anything about it.

Which is why it's probably good that Scott makes the first move and kisses him, cutting off the laughter with a gasp. He has to tilt his head down just a bit to kiss Scott back properly, and Scott's hands curl in his hair, fingers wet against his neck and scalp.

"This is really stupid, isn't it?" Scott asks suddenly, pulling back.

Isaac doesn't want to stop but he knows that it is. "Yeah," he admits. "It is."

Scott nods. "We don't have to-," he starts, looking guilty and bashful.

Isaac grabs Scott's wrist and moves so he's pinning Scott against the shower wall, his left hand trapped at his side. "But we can." Isaac says, free hand digging into Scott's waist. "Unless you don't want to." He says, realizing that maybe Scott was having doubts not about this, but about him, and that- that was fine. He let go of Scott quickly, like he burned hotter than the waters raining down on them.

Scott pulls Isaac back against him roughly. "I want to," he assures Isaac, and any doubt or nerves Isaac had disappeared under the feeling of Scott pressed against him.

Isaac's aware that it's not just stupid, but a really bad idea. But unresolved sexual tension could be more potentially harmful than him and Scott hooking up just once. It's not like it had to mean anything. He didn't like Scott. He was just- attractive. And fun to play around with. So that's what they were going to do. Just fool around, just this once, and then they'd both towel off, go to their separate rooms, and never talk of it again.

"Isaac," Scott's voice has taken on a low quality and Isaac feels it right in his groin and groans. Scott's hands grip his back and slide down and almost hesitantly squeeze his ass. "Pass me the body wash." Scott says.

Isaac blinks. Right, showering. He turns and his hand blindly gropes for the bottle. His fingers eventually curl around it and he passes it to Scott.

He doesn't want to stop touching Scott but Scott pushes off from the wall so Isaac has no choice, and then turns around so that he's facing the water with his eyes closed. Isaac makes up for that by plastering himself against Scott's back, and he's pressed almost perfectly against his ass, and just that thought alone is almost enough to make him finish right then and there.

The smell of body wash hits him. It's different than the kind he uses, but it must be the same brand because it still smells similar. Scott's head tips back against his shoulder as Isaac's hands slide over his stomach, slick now with water and soap. His hands dip lower at the same time Isaac bucks his hips forward against Scott, and the moan that Scott let's out can be heard over the loud spray of the shower.

"Is this okay?" Isaac asks, fingers hovering just above Scott's erection but he waits.

"Yeah," Scott nods his head, hard. "Just- yeah," and this time he presses back against Isaac and Isaac takes that as the go ahead and wraps his hand around Scott.

He's thick and slick in Isaac's hand and Isaac gives it an experimental jerk, testing Scott's reaction. Scott grinds back against him again and this time it's Isaac who moans before increasing the speed and movements of his hand because, a this rate, he's going to end up coming before Scott if he doesn't, and that would do seriously bad things to his pride.

Scott's hand reaches up and he braces himself against the wall. Isaac has to close his eyes against the spray of the water. Scott's body is tense underneath him, his shoulder muscles bunched and Isaac decides that if he gets to do this again, he's going to cover that back with bite marks or hickies or scratches or something.

Soon enough he pushes against Scott's body with the same rhythm that he's moving his hand, and while it shouldn't be enough he can feel himself getting close. Scott's not moaning but he's making shallow little gasps every time Isaac moves his wrist just right.

"Fuck, Isaac-," Scott says, and then Isaac can feel Scott's entire body freeze, his chest not even moving as he holds his breath, and then Scott's cum mingles with the water sliding down his hand as Scott's hand slips from the wall an he slumps back against Isaac.

Isaac's close, and he knows that if he could just get Scott's, or even his own hand on himself, that he'd be done so fast, but he just holds his arms around Scott's middle as he comes down from his orgasm. His breathing is just as heavy as Isaac's is during the moments after a nightmare, and his hands are clenching an unclenching at his sides.

Eventually Scott turns around and kisses him again. This time it's more than just the press of lips and bodies. Scott's tongue pushes into his mouth when Isaac parts his lips, and they just stand there for a while, tasting each other, hands brushing sides or arms or backs until Scott pulls away and tucks his head into Isaac's shoulder. He kisses there a few times as his hand trails down Isaac's chest, stomach, and then he's finally - finally- got a hand around him, and Isaac almost whimpers from the relief.

"Is this good?" Scott asks, switching between too fast strokes and too slow ones, so that Isaac is stuck just on the edge, moaning and trying to push against Scott, because he can tell, just from Scott's tone, that he's not accidentally doing this. He's purposefully teasing Isaac, and it's driving him crazy.

"Obviously," Isaac grinds out, because it's pretty freaking clear that he's enjoying it, with the gasps and moans and even the occasional whimper, when Scott finally relents on the teasing rhythm, that escape from him without his consent.

Scott actually chuckles, the asshole, before kissing Isaac again and then suddenly everything perfect, and his grip gets just a bit tighter, just right, and Isaac's body curls towards Scott. All the tension that had been building in his body slips away, snaps, like a breaking elastic band, and Isaac's body jerks, once, and he has to grab Scott to stay upright because the floor of the shower is all of a sudden too slippery.

When he finally releases Scott and takes a small step backwards, Scott says, "We should, um-," he jerks his head towards the bathroom door. "Before my mom gets home-,"

"Yeah, right," Isaac nods and steps out of the shower before Scott even gets a chance to turn the water off.

He realizes that he didn't get a towel of his own, but Scott has an extra one hanging on the rack. Obviously grabbing the towel from the closet had just been for show, Isaac notes, grabbing it to dry himself off. The room is way too quiet without the water running anymore, and he feels awkward and gangly as he pulls his clothes back on while he's still too wet. He can't just stand there naked, though, because he knows that they got caught up, and that they really shouldn't have done that. He's just waiting for Scott to tell him to hurry up and get the hell out of his room.

Instead, he ties a towel around his waist again, and his hair is still dripping water down his chest, and he grabs Isaac's arms and kisses him again. This time it's chaste and almost sweet, and it makes Isaac recoil.

"What the hell was that?" He asks, backing towards the door. He hits it with a thump and reaches behind himself for the handle.

Scott looks confused and wounded. "I thought- we-,"

Isaac shakes his head. "That was just- nothing. It was nothing, Scott, just a hook up. Don't try to make it into something more." He says, and then he's moving quickly from the room because he feels too raw, and he doesn't want to see the expression on Scott's face that those words cause.

Isaac hears Scott call his name once but he ignores it.

He doesn't dream at all that night. Nothing good, nothing bad. It's surprising, but he's grateful. If Scott had climbed into his bed that night, he doesn't know what he would have done.

"I need to talk to you after school." Melissa says when she wakes him up the next morning. He feels surprisingly well rested despite the pit in his stomach.

Still, he doesn't want to get out of bed. Doesn't want to face the day. He doesn't want to stay in the house either, though, because Scott's room is just across the hall, and Isaac can't stop thinking about him, what they did. What he said.

Damn it.

"Okay," Isaac agrees. "I'll be here."

Melissa smiles. "Have a good day at school.." She says before leaving.

Isaac feels restless the whole day, though, and he ends up skipping his after lunch class to stay outside and smoke. He's almost out, but he doesn't really care. He'll just find a way to get more. Somehow.

Scott completely avoids him in the hallways, and Isaac's grateful that they don't have any classes together. But he catches Stiles glaring at him on more than one occasion, so it's pretty obvious that Scott gave him break down of what happened.

He almost made it through the whole day without incident, though, despite how wound up he was feeling. It was like everything had just piled on top of each other, and it was the tinniest thing that made him snap. If he had just walked away, or if he had of taken a different route home, he would have been fine.

And yet, the car screeches to a halt only inches from him and the driver honked the horn hard. Isaac flips him off and the guy gets out of the car. He's tall and more muscular than Isaac, but he was one of those too pretty guys that you can just tell don't know how to fight because they don't want to risk their face.

But he yells at Isaac and takes a step towards him, and it's just too much. Isaac doesn't back down. He steps up to the guy and just stands there, waiting.

"What the fuck is your problem?" The guy demands.

Isaac grins at him. "Dumbasses who don't know how to drive the cars their daddy paid for, mostly."

Just like Isaac suspected, he doesn't know how to fight. The first punch he throws has too much weight behind it, and Isaac does know how to fight, so he dodges it easily and it goes wide, the guy stumbling. A crowd has started to form around them, and that just further provokes Isaac. His fist slams into the guys face hard, but there's little satisfaction when he hears the crack of bone and then blood starts dripping from the guys nose.

In fact, none of it makes him feel better. Fighting used to be something he enjoyed. He power it gave you over someone else. But he feels like his bones are too big for his body, stretching his skin, and his head is pounding. The guy clutches his face and Isaac just rolls his shoulders once and then walks away.

Not, of course, before noticing Scott standing their on the outskirts of the crowd, watching him. He doesn't analyse the look on his face. Doesn't want to note the disappointment and lack of surprise.

The front door slams behind him when he gets home. Melissa's car is in the driveway and he faintly remembers her telling him she needed to talk after school. He heads to the kitchen, instead of his room, like he'd originally planned.

Melissa stands up the second he's in the room. "What the hell, Isaac?" Is the first thing out of her mouth.

Isaac just stares at her.

"I just got a call from your principal. You got in a fight? And then just walked away after punching the guy?" Melissa says, shaking her head with disbelief. "You might want to start explaining right now, because I cannot think of a single reason why that would be necessary."

"He threw the first punch." Isaac felt compelled to point out.

Melissa throws up her hands. "Oh, that's obviously a good reason-,"

Isaac flinches at her raised tone and the movements of her hands. He doesn't mean to, god, he doesn't. He knows she wouldn't- she wouldn't, and yet, this scene is all too familiar. The script is different and the person playing the part is different, but the rest of it is the same. The yelling would continue, and his dad would hit him, or throw something at him, or maybe, if he was feeling like it, he'd drag him into the basement and-,

"Isaac," Melissa's tone is quieter now and he realizes he's shaking.

"I'm sorry." Isaac says, and he feels tears in his eyes. It's so stupid, so uncalled for, and yet they're there anyways. "I- I'm sorry. I know I shouldn't have hit him, okay? But he- he swung at me, and I was just so fucking angry and I-,"

Thin arms wrap around him and then he's being sat down in a chair. He almost collapses in it, grateful to be off his feet all of a sudden. Melissa releases him and moves to sit across from him until he calms down.

Melissa sighs when he meets her eyes and she runs a hand over her face. "You know what I wanted to talk to you about today?" She asks, and he shakes his head, no. "I've got all the paperwork filed for me to become your permanent guardian. I was only granted it because you've stayed completely out of trouble since this started. But a suspension, or possible expulsion, could ruin that."

Isaac stares at her. "You wanted-,"

"For you to stay?" Melissa finishes for him. "Of course I did. Isaac, you're a good kid. You're smart, I've been talking to your teachers. And you can stay out of trouble, when you want to. You just- you just need structure."

Isaac snorts but it's not because she's being ridiculous, it's because it's not true. "I think we both know that I proved today that you're wrong about that."

Melissa's face turns steely, an expression he's seen more than once on Scott's face. He doesn't like making that connection right now, not when thinking about Scott makes the ball in his stomach tighten again.

"One slip up doesn't make you a lost cause, Isaac." Melissa says. But it's not one slip up. It's a hundred of them over the course of a few years. And there'll just be more, and he doesn't want that to be her problem, he realizes. He doesn't want to stay, because she doesn't deserve to be responsible for that just because she's too nice.

"I want to go back to the group home." He tells her, crossing his arms over his chest. "I don't want to stay here anymore."

Melissa raises her eyebrows and laughs, just like that first day they met. "Oh, I don't think so. You screwed up, and there's going to be consequences. You're grounded. No TV, no-," she frowns. "I don't know, but I'll think of something else. You don't just get to walk away because you screwed up. You're going to stay, and you're going to fix this mess."

Isaac blinks. "And if I don't want to?"

"You don't really have a choice, now do you?" Melissa shoots at him, looking determined.

Isaac leans back in his chair. He can't stay here. He can't. He's just going to continue screwing up, and even if Melissa doesn't decide to kick him out after that, she should. He's doing her a favour.

"I'm in love with Scott." Isaac says suddenly.

And what? What?! What, what, what? He didn't- he didn't mean to say that. The words just slipped out of his mouth. He wanted to say something that would make her change her mind, but not that. He didn't-

No, no he didn't. He hardly knew Scott! He didn't know his favorite colour, or what movies he liked. He doesn't know him, he can't love him. That's ridiculous and stupid and he didn't mean to say it.

Maybe there were things about Scott that he liked. Maybe. Like the way that he was protective of his mom. Or that he was strong and he could have been threatening or intimidating, if he wanted to be, but he never did. Or how he cared about Isaac enough to check on him since that first day, when he didn't know anything about Isaac but that he was a pretty shitty guy. Or how he slept with Isaac to get him through the nightmares, and didn't care when Isaac woke him up in the middle of the night.

And then there was the way he felt pressed against Isaac's body, and the way he looked without a shirt on, or how he smiled like there was actually good things in the world.


Shit, shit, shit.

"I walked into your room yesterday to find the two of you cuddling in your bed." Melissa says, pulling him out of his internal turmoil. "If you expect me to be shocked, I'm sorry to disappoint you."

Isaac doesn't know what to say to that. "I didn't mean to say that." He settles for.

Melissa smiles at him. "Don't worry, I'm not telling him. But there's rules, you hear me? I'm still a mom. The mom of a teenage boy. Alright? So I know how your- how your pervy little minds work, okay, so if I walk in on either of you naked together, there will be hell to pay. You understand me?"

Isaac nods.

"Good. So you're staying, and that's final. Alright?"

Isaac nods again.

"Get your butt upstairs. I have to call your principal and convince him to give us a meeting instead of just suspending you." She shakes her head at him. "Fighting." She lets out a breath. "At least he didn't manage to hit you back. I deal with enough blood at the hospital."

"I'm sorry." Isaac finds himself saying again as she pulls a cellphone out of her pocket.

"Oh, you will be." Melissa promises. "Because grounding is only the beginning of your punishment. Upstairs." She points at the ceiling. "Now."

Isaac starts heading towards his room.

"And Isaac? We're going to talk about your panic attacks eventually, alright? When you're ready." She says, and Isaac continues walking, pretending that he hadn't heard her, because she wasn't supposed to know about that.

The thing about being grounded is it gives you a lot of time to feel guilty. Especially the way Melissa does it, bringing him dinner in his room and sighing at him whenever she gets the chance.

But she's not yelling at him, or hitting him, or kicking him out. And that in itself is more consideration than he's used to.

She's trusting him, he realizes as he lays in bed during the fourth day of his grounding. He had the meeting with the principal and luckily he wasn't suspended. Apparently witnesses vouched for him, saying the other good took the first swing. But Melissa is trusting in the fact that he's really not as terrible as he seems, deep down, and that's more than he can say for a lot of people in his life.

But things aren't better at the McCall house. Not at all. Isaac constantly skirts by Scott, making sure to wait for Scott to go downstairs before leaving his room, or taking different routes at school to avoid him. The only time they'd been together since- since their hook up, was at dinner the night before, when Melissa told him he could eat downstairs instead of his room.

It had been so awkward, and Scott didn't look at him if he could help it. If Melissa caught on, she didn't comment on it, and Scott had Stiles over, so that kept the night from being silent, as well as painfully uncomfortable, at least.

Melissa knocked on his door twice before coming in. She was wearing her blue hospital scrubs. "Scott and Stiles are having a movie night downstairs." Melissa says, crossing her arms over her chest. "I ordered pizza."

Isaac nods and goes back to reading his book. He's read a lot lately, because he has nothing else to do.

"You just going to sit there, or are you going to go down and join them?" Melissa asks.

Isaac looks up, surprised. "I'm grounded." He reminded her.

"Yeah, well, I'm ungrounding you. For the night."

Isaac considers that, but he knows it would be awkward downstairs. "I don't think they'll want me down there." He admits, shrugging. "I'm fine up here."

"It's my house, and I'm paying for the pizza. If you want to go and watch the movie, you can." She says. "In fact, you're grounded again. To the couch. Get your ass down there."

Isaac laughs and swings his legs out of the bed. "Okay." He says, raising his hands. "I'm going."

She actually ruffles his hair as he passes. His mom used to do that, when he was younger and he allowed his curls to grow out longer. It feels weird, but also nice, so he doesn't say anything to ruin it.

Stiles and Scott both look up when he walks in. Stiles is spread out on the floor, an entire large bottle of Pepsi beside him with a straw in it and a bowl of popcorn. Scott sits on the couch, and he's using a glass, at least.

"Hey," Stiles says, nodding at him. The greeting's frostier than it used to be, but it's without the glare he'd taken to giving Isaac lately, so he'll just have to work with that.

Scott doesn't say anything. Isaac sits as far away from him on the couch as he can.

"Pizza should be here in about half an hour," Melissa says as she passes the living room. "And no baking."

"Ah, but I bought chocolate chips just for cookies!" Stiles tells her. She gives him a stern look. "I'll just eat them out of the bag."

"Have fun!" She calls before the door closes behind her.

Isaac has no idea what movie they're watching, but there's a lot of shooting and sex scenes. It's definitely… something, he decides. Except he can't really pay attention to the plot, because every time Scott shifts Isaac's aware of it, and that fact is driving him crazy.

The words, "I'm in love with Scott" keep playing over and over in his head, and he still doesn't know why he said it. But maybe there was some truth there, he admits.

Eventually the doorbell rings and Isaac realizes it's only been about twenty minutes. It felt like time had dragged on. Scott gets up to answer the door, leaving Stiles and Isaac alone.

Stiles pauses the movie and turns to face him. "You really hurt him." He says boldly, eyes narrowing slightly. "You know that, right?"

Isaac doesn't meet his eyes. He just keeps staring at the TV screen, where the characters are frozen in place. "I know."

"That's not cool, man. Scott doesn't-, Scott's the kind of person who cares a lot. He liked you, and you took advantage of that and then threw it back in his face afterwards." Stiles continues.

Isaac makes a face at him then. He's been trying, as of late, to tone down the attitude. It's his first choice of defence, though, and he reverts back to it when he feels threatened or uncomfortable. "I didn't take advantage of him." Isaac tells Stiles. "It wasn't like he stopped me before hand and said, 'If we do this prepare for the emotional baggage that comes with it'. It was a casual hook up. They happen all the time. It's not my fault he thought it was something more."

Stiles snorts. "Yeah, okay, it was just a casual hook up." He shakes his head. "I think we both know that you're lying. Maybe to me, maybe to yourself. Either way, man, it's kind of a dick move."

"I really don't think it's any of your business." Isaac snaps.

Guilt is an emotion he hates dealing with. It eats at you, twists your stomach, and he hates it. Hates that it clouds everything else out when he looks at Scott.

"He's my best friend. His happiness is my business." Stiles says stiffly.

"You guys coming to get pizza?" Scott asks, carrying two large boxes towards the kitchen.

"Just bring me a slice when you get yours." Stiles calls after him, not moving.

Isaac gets up and follows Scott, and the scent of cheese, to the kitchen.

"Pepperoni or all-dressed?" Scott asks, pulling plates out of the cupboard.

"Doesn't matter." Isaac tells him, leaning against the cupboard.

Scott's wearing a loose blue t-shirt and the colour looks good on him. Isaac's annoyed at himself for noticing, but he excuses that by pointing out to himself that anyone would have thought that looking at Scott right now.

"Enjoying the movie?" Scott asks, popping open the lid of one of the boxes.

"It's not bad." Isaac says.

Stiles' words play back to him. Did he really hurt Scott? Or was this all just normal, after-hook-up awkwardness?

Scott hands him a plate with two pieces of pepperoni pizza on it. His hand brushes against Isaac's when he reaches for it and Scott jerks his hand back like Isaac burned him. "Sorry," he says, looking up at Isaac with wide eyes.

Isaac wants to grab his hand and pull him back. He wants to apologize, too, for the way he reacted after everything. But he just takes his pizza and walks back into the living room.

For some reason he doesn't sit on the other end of the couch like he did the first time, though. Instead he sits half on the middle cushion and half on the last one.

Scott walks in after that and hands Stiles a plate. Stiles instantly presses play on the movie while shoving pizza in his mouth at the same time. It's kind of impressive. He doesn't even look when he eats, just kind of sticks it in there.

Isaac tries not to notice how Scott takes in the shift in where he's sitting, and then he ends up doing the same thing Isaac had, so there's only about an inch of space between their arms and they're both sharing the middle cushion.

When he's done eating he leans forward to put the plate on the coffee table. There's a loud, violent scene playing and he tries to ignore it because, really, he couldn't even watch an action movie without it being triggering? Okay, maybe it has to do with the guy on screen being pushed into a coffin. He's screaming and kicking but the bad guys don't care, they just lower him into the ground.

And it's like the air can't get into his lungs fast enough, and he knows nothing's stopping him from breathing, he knows it, but it doesn't seem to matter, because he has to make an effort not to let out ragged breaths, because he doesn't want Scott or Stiles to notice.

A hand touches his thigh and Isaac jerks his head up to look at Scott. He's staring at the screen, expression blank, like he's just normally watching the movie. His hand, though, says different as it moves farther up his leg and then stops just close enough to his groin and then he slides his fingers back down again, repeating the process.

About three fourths of the way into the movie Scott stands up. "I'm getting a drink." He says.

"I'm not pausing this for you, man," Stiles tells him, giving the movie his undivided attention. "But get me one."

Isaac frowns and looks at the Pepsi bottle on the floor beside Stiles. It's empty. How the hell he hasn't gotten up to use the bathroom yet, Isaac has no idea.

But then Scott catches his eye on the way out of the living room, and the slight lift of his eyebrows has Isaac getting off the couch to follow him. Stiles doesn't comment.

"You okay?" Scott asks in the kitchen.

Isaac shrugs. "Yeah, I'm fine."

Scott looks like he doesn't buy that. "We can talk about it, you know. Why you- freak out." He says, and Isaac appreciates that he doesn't say the words panic attack. "I know that I… messed things up. The other day. I realize that I totally screwed up, and I'm sorry, but we can still- you know- talk. When you need it."

"You think you screwed up?" Isaac blurts, because, how? How could he possibly blame himself for what happened?

"Well, yeah, obviously." Scott shrugs and crosses his arms over his chest. It's something Isaac does when he's angry, it makes his body look wider, more intimidating. Scott uses the action as a defensive move, though. "I kind of, like, pushed you into it. I mean, I stripped in front of you." He says the words stripped so quietly that Isaac almost doesn't hear it. "And then afterwards I tried to make it into a big deal when it apparently wasn't for you, and so, yeah. I screwed up."

Isaac runs a hand through his hair in frustration. "This is why I can't do this with you, Scott. Jesus Christ."

"I know," Scott says quietly, shrugging again. "I'm clingy. I get it, I hold on to people too tightly. That's why Stiles and I are so compatible-,"

"It's not that!" Isaac knows he's shouting but Scott doesn't flinch. He just raises his eyebrows, surprised. "God, it's just- you're so freaking unguarded, and you- you care and you worry and you're so freaking nice and it's- it's infuriating."

"Being nice isn't a bad thing, Isaac." Scott says steadily.

"Oh, really?" Isaac laughs. "Tell me, Scott. How did it feel after we hooked up and I told you that it meant nothing? How did it feel to open yourself up to me like that, to be vulnerable with me, and then have me throw it back at you the way I did?"

Scott's eyes narrow and colour rises to his cheeks, not from embarrassment. Anger. "I felt like shit." Scott says, and the words twist Isaac's gut, but they were exactly what he wanted to hear. "I felt really fucking stupid, and you know that. I couldn't even think about you without feeling it."

"Exactly!" Isaac takes a step towards him but Scott doesn't react. "Because that's what happens in the real world, Scott. People aren't nice. And the ones who are? They're stomped on. You open yourself up like that to someone, and they're only going to break you. But you're so freaking naive that you don't realize that."

"So that's why you acted like you did." Scott cocks his head to the side, glaring at him. "Because you opened up to me, and you couldn't let that happen, because you're so fucked from everything that's ever happened to you that you think everyone's out to hurt you."

Isaac tilts his chin up defiantly. "Done with the psychoanalysis?" Isaac asks.

"And you're doing it again." Scott points out. He shakes his head. "That's really sad, Isaac, because you act like you're tough, and yeah, maybe you can punch people and walk away like it's nothing, but you're weak. You're afraid."

"I'm not afraid of you." Isaac sneers.

"Good," Scott says, taking a step towards him. Despite his last words Isaac steps back. "I don't want you to be afraid of me. I'm not trying to intimidate you. In case you haven't noticed, Isaac, I'm not trying to screw you over and hurt you."

"Yeah, because I'm not giving you the chance to."

"Well maybe you should," Scott snaps, grabbing the front of his shirt.

"Maybe I don't want to." Isaac retaliates. Scott's hand are balled in his shirt, not letting go, even though Isaac doesn't attempt to move away from him. "Maybe I just want you to leave me alone."

Scott smirks. "You have this bad habit of tell me to leave you alone when you most need me not to."

"You have this bad habit of assuming you know things about me when you don't." Isaac shoots back at him.

He's not even sure how it happens. Once minute he's glaring at Scott and the next minute he's kissing him. Or Scott's kissing Isaac. He really can't tell who initiated it.

It's like a scene out of a freaking romance novel where the couple's fighting and they shut each other up with their lips, and his life has no right being like that. But Scott's hands let go of his shirt and move to his waist and Isaac decides that he doesn't give a single fuck if his life is like a really bad romance novel.

It's just like the day he got home from school after the fight and Melissa was yelling at him and he suddenly snapped and started apologizing. He does that now, pulling away from Scott's lips.

"I'm sorry," he gasps, and he's shaking his head, because he is. He's so freaking sorry that it hurts. "Okay? You didn't fuck up. I fucked up. Royally. It's what I'm good at, alright? I'm really freaking good at ruining nice things."

"You think I'm a nice thing?" Scott asks, grinning and raising his eyebrows.

"You, your mom, your house, your freaking guest bedroom. Probably the nicest things that have ever happened to me, and -," he starts to say that he doesn't deserve it but Scott's lips cut him off and Scott's pushing him until his back hit's the counter.

"So then don't fuck up." Scott says, not pulling far enough back to talk. His lips slide over Isaac's as he speaks the words. "Don't sit there and worry about it, just don't-,"

"Oh, easy for you to say." Isaac replies, but he's not snapping the words, and he can feel the hint of a smile starting on his face as Scott kisses him between words. "You're Scott McCall, you're all nice and-,"

"Stop saying that I'm too nice." Scott's fingers dig into his sides with just the barest hint of pressure. "Because the things I'm thinking about doing to you right now are far from what most people would consider 'nice'."

A shudder goes through Isaac and he kisses Scott hard, the slightest hint of a moan escaping between their lips. Scott's tongue swipes against his bottom lip and Isaac's mouth opens just enough for his tongue to push inside. He tastes like soda and pepperoni and Isaac's tongue pushes back against Scott's, fighting for dominance.

He bites Scott's bottom lip and Scott grinds his hips against Isaac's and Isaac really, really hates both of their jeans right then. There's not much he can do about that at the moment, though, because they're in the freaking kitchen, but he placates himself by hooking his fingers into the belt loops and tugging Scott even closer against him.

"So, uh, the movies over." Stiles says from the doorway.

They don't even separate. Scott just pulls back a bit and Isaac keeps his fingers tucked into the loops of his pants to stop him from going too far. Scott's panting slightly and Isaac would be willing to bet that his own lips were red and swollen.

"And I'm just gonna, um, go." Stiles says, pointing his thumb towards the door. He moves to turn around but then spins back to face them. "But since you guys decided to bail on the end of the movie to make out, I'm taking the rest of the pizza." He says, stalking across the room to pick up one of the boxes. "And don't forget to use protection!" He calls as he leaves.

Isaac lets out a laugh and leans his head against Scott's. "I can't believe that just happened."

"I can't believe we're making out in my kitchen." Scott adds, laughing with him. He almost instantly sobers, though, and his hand slides slowly up Isaac's arm. "Are we- are we okay, then?"

Isaac kisses him again, this time slow and long instead of heated and hard and fast. "We're okay." He says finally.

"And this isn't nothing, right?" Scott pushes, genuine worry in his brown eyes.

Isaac pushes Scott's shirt up just high enough to get his hand under it. "This is definitely something." He assures him.

"Good," Scott nods. "Good."

Isaac leans forward to smile against Scott's lips, just because he can. "Yeah." He agrees.


"You've been here a year, Isaac, you can learn to do your own damn laundry!" Melissa calls down at him.

Scott laughs and nudges him with his shoulder. "I can't! We've got a lacrosse game in an hour. I'll do it next time!" He shouts back up at her.

"You bet your ass you will." Melissa grumbles.

Whatever she says after that is lost as Scott kisses him, hand running under Isaac's shirt. They were supposed to be watching Supernatural, but Isaac doesn't really mind. He'll just rewatch it later. Ah, DVR.

"I hope you realize that I have the power to ground both of you for that." Melissa comments, walking by them with a basket in her arms. "Don't think I won't."

Scott rolls his eyes but Isaac blushes. "Sorry."

"Yeah, yeah. Your mouth says one thing but Scott's hand on your leg says another." Melissa comments, and Scott removes his hand like it zapped him. "Teenagers." Melissa murmurs, shaking her head. "I'm leaving after I put this load in and getting off work early to see your game." She tells them before heading towards the basement.

"I'm going to take a shower before the game." Scott announces, getting off the couch. Melissa's out of the room so she can't see him tugging his shirt off right there in the living room. She misses how he bites his lips and looks down at Isaac sitting on the couch before his fingers quickly unbutton his belt and let it fall open before he winks and turns to head upstairs. It's probably a really good thing she didn't.

It should bother him that it takes nothing more than the sound of the shower upstairs being turned on to get him hard, but it really doesn't. What does bother him is waiting the ten minutes for Melissa to leave so he could do something about it.

The second the door clicks shut behind her Isaac jogs up the stairs, pulling his shirt over his head as he goes. Scott's bedroom door is open. So is the one to the bathroom. He accepts the invitation, heading towards his waiting boyfriend.

Thank you for reading! Reviews are always appreciated! - C