Title: Scarred Feelings
Fandom: Teen Wolf
Prompt: hc_bingo prompt "Body Image Issues"
Warnings: reference to past canon character death
Summary: No matter how small a scar can be on the outside, there is no telling how big it can be on the inside.
-Post episode 2x09 "Party Guessed"
Characters: Stiles Stilinski, Scott McCall
Disclaimer: Playing in a sandbox that is not mine. (Although I'll keep convincing myself that Stiles totally is mine)
AN: Thanks tons to Engel and Mish for their beta work on that one. Never would have done this without you and your faith in me. *HUGS*
- Scarred Feelings -
Stiles hates that scar. He hates it every day, but today, he hates it even more.
His father's words keep coming back to him; they haunted him all day long. "It's you, Stiles. You killed your mother. You hear me? You killed her. And now you're killing me." He knows his father didn't say that. He knows it was a hallucination. He knows his father doesn't even think that; those were his own thoughts he had put in his father's mouth. Because his father may not think it's the truth, but Stiles sure does. Deep down, a part of him believes that he did kill his mother, that he's the reason she left them. Most of the time, he can keep it buried deep enough to forget, his mind too busy, focused on other things, but sometimes – when he's tired, stressed, sick, when the world crashes around him – the guilt reappears with a vengeance. Like now. And it hurts.
It hurts in his soul. It hurts because no matter how many years pass, Stiles still misses his mother like it was yesterday. He misses her stories, her joy, her lunches. He misses her face, her smile, her smell, her touch. He misses her. She left a void when she died and even if Stiles loves his father to bits, he's really not good at filling it. He doesn't blame him. They both miss her a lot and neither can begin to fill in for her properly. He knows what a handful he is and he knows how important being the Sheriff is – was – to his father. This morning was the first time Stiles can remember him still laying in bed while he was leaving for school. And it's his fault. It always is. He ruins everything. "How the Hell am I supposed to raise this stupid kid on my own. This hyperactive little bastard who keeps ruining my life?" Yes. That's him. All him. 100% pure Stiles. And it hurts.
It hurts his flesh too. It hurts because every time the guilt comes back, his body decides to remind him that he bears the physical trace proving that it's all his fault. The scar hurts. The Scar. A symbol of love and hope turned into a symbol of loss, weakness, suffering and guilt; two sides of a coin, the yin and the yang, depending on the day. He can't really see it. He knows it's not as visible as it was ten years ago, but days like today, Stiles feels like it's a beacon pulsing on his back. A neon sign flashing brightly for everyone to see, a vivid reminder of all his flaws, his limits, the disappointments he represents. A constant reminder of everything he will never be. Of everything his mother will never be – because of him. He doesn't want anyone to see it – not even a trace of it, but he also feels like everyone should see it, that everyone should know how he fucked things up. But he keeps it hidden. Always. Because it's easier to hide than to face all this. Even if Stiles knows that this is not a problem that will eventually just go away, he'll keep ignoring it for as long as it works.
Stiles is alone in the locker room now. All his team mates already changed and out on the Lacrosse field. There's no one left around to mock him. No one left to see the scar and ask questions. No one to push him deeper down the Abyss of darkness where his mind is at the moment. No one to pull him out either.
Regardless of the scar, Stiles doesn't like changing with the rest of the team. He's not strong like they are; he's never been able to put much weight or muscle on. Even after the operation, with the various meds and supplements, he still looks sick and fragile. He knows what they think of him. He's just the scrawny kid who's on the team without anyone really knowing how or why. It's not like he plays anyway. He's just number 24, bench-warmer. Most of the players probably don't even know his name – Hell, even the Coach doesn't know his name, if that doesn't speak for itself. At best, he's being tolerated, ignored. At worst, he's being bullied around by Jackson and his thugs.
That's why Stiles usually waits until most of them are gone, or not there yet, to change. It's often just him and Scott. It's different with Scott. Scott knows him, knows the scar and the story behind it. They're friends. They're actually friends because of it. Most days, Stiles knows Scott doesn't judge him, but today isn't one of those days. He's too far gone in his mind and Scott's been an ass lately. He spends more and more time with Allison and less and less with him. Stiles is actually pretty sure Scott spends more time with Jackson and Isaac than with him. Which he's fine with. Usually. Not really. Not today. Tomorrow maybe. Still, it would have been nice to have a friend around today, to ground him and distract him; to prevent him from feeling like a shadow, a ghost, wandering, unnoticed through the halls. But having someone care about him right now would mean talking, sharing and he's not up to it.
That's why, at the moment, Stiles is alone in the changing room, sitting in front of his locker and it's not so bad. His left hand is busy kneading his back, just where the scar is. He'd be better if it didn't hurt so much, but he deserves some of that pain. It feels like a knife is stuck in his kidney – in his mother's kidney – and it hurts as much as it did when she died. It hurts as much as it did just after the transplant. He was young, but he remembers how much it had hurt back then. It had hurt both times. Differently. And it hurts again today. It hurts because of everything his mother sacrificed for him and he grew up to be a waste not worth the trouble.
On top of everything, today's the anniversary of the operation; it's been eleven years since his mother gave him life, for the second time. He knows that's why he's in so much pain. She never should have given him one of her kidneys. The world would be a better place if she hadn't. His father wouldn't have had to take care of him on his own, he would still have a job and Stiles wouldn't be taking up time and space from the people around him. But she had, and now Stiles is here and she isn't and it hurts.
Looking around him, Stiles decides that it's just not worth it. He gets up to pack his things and just go home. It's not like anyone will notice anyway. He'll take some painkillers, occupy his mind by doing his homework and try to sleep the rest of the day off. Hopefully things will be better tomorrow.
"Where are you going?"
Stiles swirls around so fast it makes him dizzy and it pulls on the scar. He keeps himself up by planting his right hand on a locker, his left one reflexively returning to its spot on his back, putting pressure on the aching point. He doesn't even realize it did until Scott speaks again.
"Are you okay, Stiles? Did you hurt your back? Because you don't really look too good."
Stiles looks up at his friend, smiles and shakes his head, because he's really not okay, but it's not like he's going to pour his heart out here and now. He'll keep it all bottled up inside and just pretend a bit longer. He can do that without really thinking about it; it's a second nature. His armour only cracked once, two years after his mother's death and it hadn't been pretty. He's not quite sure how it had happened anymore but it had already been Scott who'd been around. Poor Scott. He'd taken it all in stoically. He had sat patiently while Stiles explained how his mother was dead because of him. Because he'd taken a kidney from her and he couldn't give it back when she needed it after the cancer started damaging her organs. Because maybe she could have survived if she still had two kidneys. He had explained why he hated the scar and everything it represented, everything he wished he could change. Scott had listened to Stiles explain how he was damaged goods, too weak and in pain to do anything properly. About his father not wanting him around, distracting him all the time. Stiles is pretty sure he even cried on Scott's shoulder about Lydia, how she was ignoring him and how that was the final straw. It had been a pretty messy break down, jumbled thoughts not making much sense anymore at some point. But Scott had stayed and in the end, from the top of his ten years, he'd just been Scott. He had hugged Stiles awkwardly – their first hug ever – before dragging him down to the kitchen for some ice cream and Nutella and cookies, and challenging him to a game of Call of Duty on the Playstation – at least that part had been more manly. In his own very special way, Scott had brought Stiles back and they had never talked about it again. Stiles is still very grateful for that, so he refuses to put his best friend in the same situation again. And really, they couldn't be caught hugging and crying in the locker room or they would never live it down.
"Stiles? Talk to me, man," insisted Scott. "I know I haven't been around much and I'm sorry, but I'm here now, and you're freaking me out a little. That whole Silent-Stiles thing is really creepy."
Stiles opens his mouth to reply, but no words come out. Because really, what can he say? Either he'll tell a lie, or the horrible truth, and he wants none of the two options. Instead of talking, he digs his fist deeper in his back, biting his lower lip when the pain flares up a notch and shakes his head again. He appreciates Scott coming back for him, more than he can tell, but really, he just wants to leave and go hide at home. Stiles picks up his bag, shoulders it and after adjusting it, his left hand stays in the small of his back, so that his forearm is now keeping pressure on the scar.
"I'm going home. Tell Coach, I... tell him I... I just... whatever. It's not like it matters. I'll see you around." Stiles finally manages to blurt out. Not his most eloquent speech but it would have to do. He starts forward, coming closer to Scott who's never left the doorway, his gaze now on the floor. He hopes his friend got the hint and will move away to let him through. Scott was never really good at taking hints though, so he's only half surprised when he feels an arm on his chest blocking his escape.
"Wait. It's your scar, isn't it?" Scott asks, and at the same time, he lets the hand that's not blocking him sneak under Stiles' shirt, between his arm and back, and stops exactly above the scar. Stiles shudders at the touch, but the warmth that gently spreads around Scott's hand is a nice relief and he leans into it. He realizes that Scott is actually leaching some of his pain and he suddenly loves his best friend. As much as Scott can be completely oblivious to his surroundings most of the time, sometimes, just when it really matters, he gets his head out of his ass and he steps up. "Let me grab my stuff and we can just go home. There's ice cream and cookies with our names on it and the Xbox's been feeling lonely lately."
And maybe it's just that easy. Maybe Stiles won't have to wait until tomorrow to feel better. Maybe today isn't that bad after all.