Danny knows something's wrong when Stiles answers Isaac's phone.
He's been trying to get a hold of him since this morning. It's the first full moon of the summer, and color Danny a cheesy romantic, but he kind of had this idea in his head of him, Isaac, a blanket, and some junk food out on the bluff. A sort of moonlit picnic. He thought it'd be sweet, and Danny's always been kind of a closet astronomer. He can't really think of a better way to spend a Saturday night than alone with Isaac under the stars.
Except every time he's tried to text or call him to see if he's up for it, he hasn't answered. He's left a frankly embarrassing number of messages, and he hasn't even heard a peep out of him, which isn't normal, because Isaac doesn't not answer messages. He may not be an avid texter or anything, but at the very least, Danny thinks he would've gotten a Can't talk or a Sorry, busy by now.
Naturally, he's spent the better part of the day worrying about him. He doesn't think he did anything to upset him, and if he did, Isaac's not the type to go radio-silent for a grudge. Especially not when the last few texts Danny have sent have been somewhere along the lines of R u ok? and I'm worried, plz txt back. Because Isaac has this thing about Danny worrying about him, and even if Danny did do something, he doesn't think Isaac would leave him hanging like this. Not on purpose.
Which has him wondering what came up. It doesn't help that, when he texted Scott and Stiles to see if they'd seen him, he got nil from Scott and an idj from Stiles that he's pretty sure was supposed to be idk and nothing else. Even Lydia didn't have anything to say to him, just that maybe he'd left his phone somewhere. And even though that made total sense and was actually totally possible, it didn't do anything to ease the nervous feeling in the pit of Danny's stomach.
That feeling just gets worse when he hears Stiles' voice on the other end of Isaac's phone.
"Stiles, why do you have Isaac's phone?"
"Now's not really a good time," Stiles says. He sounds anxious, and he's talking awfully loud. It takes Danny a second to figure out why.
There's shouting in the background. Some voices he doesn't recognize, and some he does. "What's going on? Stiles, is Isaac there? Why are there people yelling?" Loudly, he might add. And there are strange sounds. Maybe it's just the reception, but they sound almost like…howls. Which is both stupid, he tells himself, because there haven't been wolves in California for, like, sixty years, and really not important in the grand scheme of things. "Stiles!"
"Danny, I can't—" He hears Stiles sigh on the other end. "Okay, you know the animal clinic right off the highway?"
That kind of throws Danny, but he manages a sort of confused, "Yeah, why?"
"Just meet us there."
"Us?" Danny asks at the same time he hears someone in the background shout Stiles' name. The voice sounds familiar, but it's not one he can put a name to. Too deep to be one of their gang's.
"Just hurry." And then Stiles hangs up the phone before Danny can ask anything else.
He probably should. Ask something else, he means, at least to himself. He just heard people shouting, screaming it sounded like, and Stiles sounded like he was calling in from the middle of a freaking war zone. That should probably raise a few red flags. And meeting them at the vet?
Only, he's already throwing on some jeans and a jacket and running out to his car.
It normally takes Danny about fifteen minutes to get to the vet from his house. He makes it there in about nine. Amazing what running a few red lights and fudging a few speed limits'll do for a commute.
His parking job's for crap, but he doesn't really care. Not only is he in a hurry, but two of the three other cars in the lot are parked even worse than his. Allison's jeep is catty-cornered by the bushes, and Stiles' jeep looks like it might've actually hit the side of the building over by the garage door around the side.
Danny doesn't exactly take the time to check. He's barely shut the car off before he's climbing out jogging for the door. He knows he might be freaking out over nothing, but it's just – the way Stiles sounded, Isaac not answering his phone all day…he's worried. Like, nausea-level worried, so much that he actually hits the wrong side of the door when he gets there, and he can't even bring himself to be embarrassed.
Not even when he actually gets in, and freaking everyone and their mother is standing there looking at him. Stiles is there, and Allison, and Scott, and they're all three looking at him with wide eyes, and it occurs to him that he probably looks like a crazy person, but he doesn't care, because he's too busy bugging out over how they look.
They look like hell. Worse, they look like someone took hell, beat the crap out of it, put it through a paper shredder, rolled it around in mud, and then kept it up for three days straight watching horror flicks. They all look rattled and tired at the same time, and they've all got cuts and bruises that Danny can see just from looking at them. Scott, especially. One whole sleeve of his shirt is ripped off, and he's got bandages around his whole upper arm, almost to his elbow. He's got a big bruise on his cheek, and Danny notices he doesn't get up like Stiles and Allison do.
Stiles is pretty messed up, too. His shirt's more mud than fabric, he thinks, and he's got an ice pack ACE-wrapped to his shoulder and a fresh white bandage on his wrist.
And as awful as all of this, it pales not quite to utter insignificance, but at least markedly lower priority to the fact that Isaac isn't there. See, the more he played that phone call over in his head, the more he thought about that scream he heard, the more he could've sworn it sounded like him. He would know that voice anywhere, and if that was him screaming, and if these guys look the way that they do, then—
"Where is he?" His voice sounds strained and reedy, even to his own ears. He tries to tell himself he's overreacting, that he doesn't even know that Isaac's there, or that he's even hurt like they are, except it's not working, because Stiles had Isaac's phone, and he could've sworn he heard him, and he's just got this really horrible feeling in his stomach that something's really, really wrong. "Stiles, where is he? What happened?"
"It's a long story," Stiles hedges. His voice sounds hoarse, like he's been yelling, and it's just barely loud enough to be heard over the crazy amounts of dog barks going on in the back room. As freaked out as he is, there's a part of Danny that just wants to tell him to sit down and stop moving, because he looks like he's about to fall down.
But there's something about the way he's refusing to look Danny in the eyes that's tightening the knot in Danny's chest, and when Stiles opens his mouth again, Danny cuts him off. "Stiles," he says slowly, "is Isaac okay?" Because between the way all of them look, and the way none of them will really look at him, he's starting to get the impression there's some seriously bad news waiting for him.
He almost regrets asking, partly because of that impending bad news he's expecting in return, but mostly because of the way Stiles' jaw tightens. Danny's no psychic, but he's pretty good at reading people, and that…that's not a good sign.
"He's gonna be," Scott says from his seat over against the wall, and it doesn't sound like he's lying, but when Danny looks over at him, he doesn't look happy, either. The dogs are barking even louder, now, and Danny thinks he might hear a voice in the back that sounds a lot like the vet's, but honestly, he's pretty sure his heart beat is the loudest thing in the room.
His new level of ohmygod must show on his face, because Stiles cracks a smile that's so forced it actually only makes things worse. "Breathe, Danny Boy," he says, clapping Danny on the shoulder with his good arm. "He's a little worse for wear, yeah, but Doc Deaton's taking care of him."
And Danny's, like, ninety-nine percent sure he didn't hear that right, because there's no way the veterinarian who neutered his dog is in any way involved in taking care of his boyfriend. The man is a vet, not a doctor, and Danny's just about to tell Stiles as much right before he goes and finds Isaac himself to take him to the damn hospital where he should be in the first place – where they probably all should be – but then a sound stops him dead.
It's not a scream.
It is, but it's really, really not. There's something else about it, something not right. Something not….
Which should probably send him running out the front door, away from his friends that are all either lunatics in hiding, or Beacon Hills' own personal Fight Club. He should probably be out in his car, like, five minutes ago, speeding away from this place like a bat out of hell before the crazy catches or before the crazies catch him.
Except it's too late; the crazy must've already caught, because instead of doing any of those perfectly rational, logical, sane things, the next thing he knows, he's sprinting for the back room as fast as his legs will carry him. And it's a crazy, stupid thing to do, and he knows that, but in keeping with his theme for the night, he really can't bring himself to care.
Because even though that scream didn't sound right, even though it didn't sound natural….
It sounded an awful lot like Isaac.