Warning for talk of suicide and attempts of suicide. Happens after the events of Motel California.
Just really fucking sad in general.
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It all starts a few days after they get back to Beacon Hills after the "Motel Incident".
It starts out slowly. Shadows flickered in the corners of his eyes. Sometimes the color would drain out of his vision, only to be brought back after vigorous blinking. Soon, whispers just beyond his hearing range added to the mix, no matter if he was in a loud crowded area or alone in his room.
Stiles pointed the finger at stress, and who wouldn't after what the school year had handed them so far? Alphas and Darachs and hallucinations; plus Derek was God knows where, probably dead or pretending he was. The asshole.
So the signs of his impending insanity were ignored, because Stiles had way more important things to do. Things like trying not to lie to his dad and keep him safe at the same time, making sure Scott didn't feel anymore suicidal urges, as well as the other werewolves that had been involved, trying to make sense of the Alphas and the Darach, and staying on top of school work.
What Stiles wouldn't give to just go back to the way things were during summer vacation.
Things couldn't stay that mild for long, though. After about a few days of paranoia build up from constant attention seeking whispering shadows, they soon built forms.
While trying to open a box of detergent, a noise of desperate scratching came from the laundry room door. Entirely too curious for his own good, Stiles set down the box he had been wrestling with and opened the door. A small, blood spattered dog rushed through the door, knocking over Stiles' load of laundry and a few of the cleaning supplies left on the floor in its desperate bid to hide. How an animal was able to get into his house, Stiles didn't know, but the poor thing was obviously terrified. Stiles tore his eyes away from the frightened animal long enough to check the hallway.
Standing at the end was a giant, brutish wolf with burning red eyes. They locked gazes, and the alpha, because it couldn't be anything else, charged. Stiles slammed the door shut and scrambled back, arming himself with only a broom. He made a mental note to have weapons everywhere in the house if he made it out alive. Stiles found himself waiting for the impact, for the werewolf to crash through the door and tear him apart.
Stiles cautiously made his way back over to the doorway and slowly opened the door to peer into the hallway once more.
Nothing was there.
With his broom still in hand, Stiles made his way meticulously through the house, checking every inch for the werewolf. But there was no one there. The doors were all locked, as were the windows. Nothing was broken or forced open. It was strange.
So Stiles went back to the laundry room, intent on finding the tiny blood coated dog. But, it too, was missing. The laundry basket and cleaning supplies that it had knocked over were righted and in the exact place they were before.
"You're losing it Stilinski," he said to himself with a shake of his head, as if he could make the delirium go away. "Don't worry. This is just lack of sleep coming back to bite you in the ass."
With his heart still pounding, he went back to his load of laundry.
But the strange sights kept coming.
While Stiles was walking into the grocery store, he heard a car screech and a deadly thump. Turning around, he saw what looked to be a hit and run on an old lady. But people passed the scene by with no problem and no glances at the gory mess as he stood there gapping. He looked around wildly for anyone to see her, to rush to her aid. Or was this some strange prank for a deluded TV series that thought shit like this was funny? But when he looked back, the old lady was gone. No blood, no guts, just regular concrete.
Stiles put up with the strange sights that no one else could see. He was just working too hard, no reason to worry someone else when he could take care of the problem later.
Until they started bothering him during school. He was sure people were starting to take notice. So, Stiles figured that if he brought a notebook dedicated to the documentation of the strange not-murders and terrible scenes then he could make sense of them later; try to figure out what was going on. But he always found that reliving what he wrote down was too traumatic to look back at.
Still, the notebook remained in his book bag. Writing or drawing on the pages and then trying to erase the event from his mind became somewhat therapeutic.
After a full week of the visions, they kept growing into more horrific and disturbing sights. They plagued him more often than just once a day, and Stiles could swear he felt his sanity slipping. Stiles would be sitting in class when a masked man would come into their classroom and shoot their teacher. He would be getting his lunch when a group of people would suddenly slump over, probably from being poisoned. Stiles would be running with the rest of the cross country team when a kid would just explode on the spot, sending his insides everywhere.
The more he saw, the more Stiles drew away from others. He couldn't deal with talking to people who he had seen die such horrible deaths. He was constantly looking over his shoulder, and when actual dangerous things happened, like someone pulling the fire alarm because Greenburg set his pants on fire, he didn't move from his seat until Scott bodily pulled him out of the building.
"What's wrong with you? You've been really out of it lately," reprimanded Scott once they were out on the field.
"It's nothing," Stiles said, watching a pit form under one of the students who fell to their supposed death. "I just need some long overdue sleep." Which he actually did need, but every time he tried, he would be haunted with some horrific image of the town being set ablaze, or watch as creatures systematically killed everyone he cared about. The worst nights were when he was forced to watch his mom wither away, and at the end, right before she would die, she would give him a gentle smile and whisper in his ear, "This is all your fault."
He clearly needed some fucking therapy.
But Scott just gave him this all-knowing look, something worse than the puppy eyes, because it showed Scott's true intelligence instead of the naivety he usually went with.
"I'm just really worried about you," something Stiles had been trying to avoid. "You've been really jumpy around everybody, and you seem to drift off into your own world lately. You're pulling into yourself, and I think it's making your problem worse." Damn Scott and his observance. "I don't want to push too much, but when you want to talk about it, I'm here for you. We're brothers." Stiles nodded his head in understanding before following Scott back into the school, which was burning with purple and gold flames.
Scott isn't stupid.
His grades last year may have been poor, and he may have handled certain situations wrong, but Scott is far from uneducated. And if there is one thing Scott is educated about the most, it's Stiles.
Stiles is funny, sarcastic, sometimes an asshole, loyal to a fault, a worrier, talkative, and mildly possessive over the people he has in his life. Lately, all Stiles has been is withdrawn, quiet, and mildly lethargic. Stiles hadn't even been like this when his mom had died.
It's starting to really freak Scott out.
He tries to push his worries aside, because Stiles is obviously trying to do the same. Maybe Stiles thinks Scott will have another 'Motel' episode, or maybe Stiles is really lacking in sleep like he said he was, though Scott honestly doubted that was the only issue.
Scott fears quickly built up when Stiles started carrying around 'The Notebook'. (No, Scott is not talking about Lydia's favorite movie. Stiles did that back in the 8th grade and Lydia still didn't talk to him.) He and Isaac had started calling the unassuming notepaper that because it was all Stiles really focused on after he started bringing it. Stiles refused to let anyone else see it or what was inside, thus, it earned its own name.
The final straw that convinced Scott that this problem wasn't going to go away on its own was during Ms. Blake's class.
Stiles had been writing in 'The Notebook', as per his usual these days, when Ms. Blake came by his desk and lightly tapped it with her ruler to get him to focus on the actual lesson. Instead of being moderately surprised and then putting 'The Notebook' away, Stiles completely loses it.
Scott only has a second to hear Stiles' heartbeat rocket off of the charts before he's running out of the classroom screaming like someone's trying to murder him. The class doesn't laugh, because that blood-curdling yell was so obviously real, because Stiles was genuinely terrified.
Ms. Blake is stunned, her eyes glued to Stiles' seat as her now slackened hand drops the ruler. The clattering noise it makes snaps everyone out of their shocked state and worried whispers fill the room.
Scott can only look out of the door in pure astonishment.
The class can barely continue; Ms. Blake looks as if she's been slapped and the rest of the class is too high on nerves to be learning anything, so when the bell finally rings, a collective sigh of relief fills the air and everyone rushes to get out of the suffocating atmosphere.
Before Scott can leave himself, Ms. Blake, worry plain on her face, pulls him aside.
"I'm… not quite sure how to put this…" Dear God, she was going to ask him about it, wasn't she? "Stiles' reaction to me, can you tell me if I did something personal to him, or was it…something else?"
The way she emphasized the last couple of words was strange. She could be implying so many things.
"Well, I'm sure it wasn't you," he tried, going for an in-between answer. Ms. Blake bites at her lower lip nervously, wringing her hands and then smoothing her skirt as if trying to make herself more comfortable with the conversation.
"I've heard that you two are close friends-,"
"We're brothers," Scott cuts in, not wanting his and Stiles' relationship to be undermined after the 'Motel Incident'.
"Is it possible Stiles is not receiving proper care at home?" What?
"What?" Scott asks in confusion and slight disbelief. She couldn't possibly be implying-
"I've been a teacher for a while, and certain reactions that I get from students mirror the way they act at home. Stiles' reaction was very-,"
"Out of character," Scott cuts in once more, not believing that she would suggest that Stiles' father was abusing him. "Stiles' dad is like my father, and he would never treat his son the way you're thinking. Stiles has been having an off week. I'm going to talk to him," Scott says with conviction. Ms. Blake nods nervously at him, not fully convinced, but partially relieved that Stiles wasn't being abused at home.
Scott left the classroom, his head buzzing as he tried to find an explanation to Stiles' behavior.
For as much as Boyd likes to point out that they're not friends, Boyd is concerned about Stiles.
Boyd can admit to feeling grateful that Stiles saved his life and that Stiles probably considered him a friend even if Boyd didn't return the sentiments. But Stiles hasn't been acting right the past few days. He's paler that normal, and dark spots are under his eyes. The layers Stiles normally wears look too big, like he's drowning in his clothes. Like he's thinner.
And Stiles was already worryingly thin for a boy his age.
But most of Boyd's concerns are about the notebook. Stiles usually communicates with others as often as he can using his long streams of words and arm flailing. But lately, Stiles has barely said more than five words a day, choosing instead to devote his time and words to paper and pen.
True, writing is a form of communication, and much less hazardous than Stiles' out of control limbs, but it's the way Stiles looks when he's using the notebook. His eyes glaze over and his movements lack the usual 'Stiles flair' of incoordination and rushed writing.
Boyd needs to know what Stiles is writing about. It's obviously about something he's not bothering to tell anyone else, and Boyd is able to keep secrets as he barely talks to others himself. If it needs to be shared, then he'll share it with people who need to know and can provide help. Stiles will get over it or hate him forever, it's not like Boyd particularly cares as long as Stiles gets his shit back together.
When Stiles asks to go to the bathroom, Boyd takes his chance. He swipes the notebook off of Stiles' desk and opens it to the first page. Boyd almost immediately regrets his decision, but is immensely grateful at the same time.
Stiles definitely needs help.
The inside cover holds a carefully drawn picture of what would be a beautiful woman if there was no wicked gleam in her eyes and a less demon-y appearance to her. She has horns and fangs and claws, with what looks like real blood dropped onto them. Her smile is twisted, sinister, evil. The words written around her is "THIS IS ALL YOUR FAULT".
The worst part is, under all of the maliciousness of the drawing, Boyd can recognize this woman as Stiles' mother.
As much as Boyd doesn't want to look through the rest of the notebook, he has a limited amount of time before Stiles comes back, and he doesn't know if he'll ever get this chance again, so Boyd takes out his phone and takes as many pictures as he can. After about fifteen pages, most of them grim recounts of death with a few pictures to go along with them, Boyd hurriedly puts the book in the exact place he found it.
Seconds later, Stiles slinks back into the classroom. When he sits down at his desk, Stiles stares unseeingly at his notebook for a moment, as if he feels something is amiss about it. Boyd tries not to pay attention, tries not to make it obvious he's the one who messed with Stiles' things, but Stiles just opens to a new page in the notebook and loses himself in his own little twisted world.
Boyd thinks it's worse than getting caught.
Lydia can't get the incident from Ms. Blake's class out of her head.
Even if she and Stiles hadn't become friends it would still bother her. It strikes a chord deep within her, and completely and utterly disturbs Lydia to her core. She feels like she's looking into a mirror from the end of last school year.
Like when Peter was using her to resurrect himself.
Lydia doesn't know what Stiles is seeing, but she knows it's nothing short of horrific and traumatic, and that Stiles shouldn't be alone for this process like she had been. Neither of them should have gone through it in the first place. But Stiles always shakes her off. Stiles doesn't want to be around anyone right now, and she knows that he's being influenced by visions or something equally as powerful, and it's obviously changing the way he sees them.
If this is the same thing she went through, then the only people she can think that can use him are either Erica or Derek, but she's leaning more towards Derek. Derek and Peter are both born wolves and more likely to know how to perform the ritual. Hell, Derek had been a part of it the last time. Erica, on the other hand, was probably too busy running away and then being tortured by the Alpha Pack to know about it.
The only difference is that she's near 100 percent sure Derek hasn't attacked Stiles like Peter had attacked her, but it doesn't mean that has to be the only way that the ritual can be done.
Derek Hale better hope he isn't using Stiles to rise from the grave because she will kill him again if he is.
Isaac is worried for Stiles' wellbeing.
They might not have been the best of friends, and Isaac might have been unconsciously jealous of Stiles' and Scott's relationship and tried to get the same kind of relationship for himself, but Isaac is completely and utterly grateful that Stiles helped him during the incident at the motel.
Even though it was mostly Stiles risking Isaac ripping his arm off after shoving a flare into his face. But that was forgiven and would one day be forgotten.
That's why, the day after Stiles' freak out, Isaac is trying to watch Stiles carefully during their math class without being too noticeable about it. But he's pretty sure that he doesn't even have to be discreet about it.
Even though Stiles isn't even writing in 'The Notebook' right now, he's clearly not paying attention. Stiles' gaze is somewhere beyond the classroom, somewhere Isaac can't follow him and try to help him get away.
Stiles looks like a walking disease the way he is, something he and Boyd had talked about in the hallway earlier, and he can see it. Stiles' scent doesn't suggest any sort of physical illness, but Stiles doesn't exactly smell right.
Isaac is brought out of his thoughts when the teacher calls on Stiles.
The entire classroom stills, yesterday's incident still clear in their minds as well, and the teacher freezes up as if she's just realized what she's done. But Stiles doesn't scream, doesn't run, doesn't even blink. Instead, he slowly turns his head towards their teacher. When they lock gazes, their math teacher's eyes widen in horrified surprise and she quickly averts her stare, stuttering out Greenburg's name so that he can answer the equation instead.
"42," a quiet, scratchy voice calls out.
If Isaac hadn't been sitting right next to him, he never would have believed that it was Stiles who said it. His voice is rawer, as if it hasn't been used in a long time, and the quiet tone he used was so unlike his usual self that it made a shiver crawl down Isaac's spine.
Their teacher looks just as taken aback before she gathers her professional persona back together.
"Th-that's correct. Thank you Mr. Stilinski." She doesn't call on Stiles for the rest of the class period.
Isaac can't blame her. If only one word from Stiles mouth sounded like that, he dreads holding a conversation with him. He sounds like such a stranger that his wolf wants to be anywhere but right next to Stiles, but it also wants Stiles to be comforted by its presence so that he goes back to the way he was before.
Isaac knows it's not going to be that simple.
Even though Allison barely interacts with the werewolf pack because of their tentative truce, she's known Stiles long enough to know that Stiles isn't acting like himself.
It's been a relief to have a different lunch period than everyone else, except for Stiles, and that wasn't a terrible thing in itself. It had taken a few very long lunch periods to hash out their problems with each other (or the company each of them kept. Stiles with the werewolves and Allison with her creepy family members. Stiles barely approved of Chris.). After that, Stiles would sometimes eat with her when he got tired of his usual 'lunchtime acquaintances'.
But he hadn't eaten with her for the past week.
She was slightly hurt by that, until she had noticed that Stiles wasn't eating lunch at his other usual spot either. It wasn't until she had checked outside that she found Stiles curled up against a giant oak tree, writing in 'The Notebook' she heard about from Scott and Isaac.
A week went by and she saw him sit under the same oak tree, in the same position, with the same damn notebook. It was also by the end of this week that Allison realized that she hadn't seen Stiles eat a bite of food.
So she texted Scott about it.
And he texted back that they were all going to have a meeting at Derek's loft and hash out the details that everyone had gathered so that they could make a game plan.
Allison didn't hesitate to send back to tell them that she would be in attendance.
Stiles was her friend, and she was going to help fix Stiles no matter what.
"What the hell are you doing here? And why did you bring them?" Derek growled out while gesturing to the two girls of the group.
"So you are alive," Scott concluded as he took in Derek's glowering face as it loomed over them. "Were you so injured that you couldn't call anyone to them you were alive?" Derek growls again and eyes the group wearily.
"I decided that if you didn't know I was alive, then the Alpha Pack wouldn't know. They might have left-,"
"They totally know you're alive. Ethan told me like, 2 weeks ago. I just didn't know if it was true or not." Derek is actually very surprised.
"What? How could they know?"
"They were tipped off when you killed off the really big Alpha. Ennis or something like that." Apparently that is completely new information to Derek.
"I haven't left the loft since I got here. I certainly didn't get to kill him personally unless he died during that fall." Scott shrugs uselessly, before remembering why they were at Derek's loft in the first place.
"Listen, as much as I would love to talk about this, we came here to have a very important meeting." Derek raises an eyebrow, but doesn't dispute what Scott is saying. He must be able to smell how serious it is.
"Then where's Stiles. He's usually in on important meetings, no matter how much he really shouldn't be."
"Actually, this meeting is about Stiles." Derek's other eyebrow raises to join the first, a bit a genuine concern rolling off of him for a moment before he steps to the side to allow the teens access to his loft.
They gather around the table, and there's an awkward silence when they don't know how to start.
"Tell me what's happening," Derek begins, wanting to understand the problem before they try to find a solution.
"Around two weeks ago, Stiles started acting strange, but we really didn't catch on until earlier this week," Scott admits. "I think what tipped me off was 'The Notebook'." Everyone murmurs in agreement as Derek gives him a strange stare.
"I've actually looked in it," Boyd admits. Everyone at the table turns to stare at Boyd in shock as he unfolds his arms to reveal a folder. He drops the contents onto the table as if they've burned him. "I took pictures of a few of the pages while he went to the bathroom. Stiles is clearly disturbed." As he says this, Boyd leafs through a few of the pictures to take one in particular out. Boyd hesitates to show them.
"What is it?" Lydia demands, her strawberry-blonde curls bouncing as she moves around with agitation.
"I'm sure most of you remember Stiles' mother." The color immediately drains out of Scott's face as he looks at the back of the page in horror, not really sure if he wants to see the front anymore. Boyd places the picture down slowly and turns it around to face the rest of the group. Shocked gasps fill the air as they take in the monstrosity that Stiles' mother has turned into.
"The rest is mostly is how he's seen people die. Not like he's seen the future, but more like frequent hallucinations of people dying right in front of him. And then how the rest of the world passes it by without looking twice." Everyone at the table looks horrified. "Also, I'm sure those red spots are actually drops of Stiles' own blood."
"Dear God," Allison breathes out, wiping a hand down her face and then gripping the table so hard that her knuckles turn white. "All I know is that he isn't eating lunch. Every day for the past week, he spends the entire lunch period writing in that notebook. And for the amount of running he does, I know that's not healthy."
"He's definitely skinnier," Boyd agrees with a nod from Isaac.
"Stiles hasn't been talking," Isaac chimes in, surprising everyone.
"What do you mean?" Lydia asked. "He has to be talking at home, right? During school?"
"A teacher asked him a question today, and the noise that came out of his mouth was not anything I've ever heard. I'm positive he hasn't been talking."
"You're right," Scott says, looking horrified. "The only time I've even heard him this week was during the fire drill and then during the incident in Ms. Blake's class." Derek twitches, but the rest of the group puts it down to Derek worrying about what said incident is, not that it has something to do with their teacher.
"The way Stiles is acting reminds me of when Peter was using me to get resurrected," Lydia cuts in when the table gets too silent. "At first, I thought Derek might be doing the same thing to Stiles," Derek looks offended and everyone else is thinking about the possibilities, "but it doesn't really add up. Especially since Derek is alive anyways."
"But now that you mention it," Scott says suddenly, "this still reminds me of a time when you were under Peter's control. Back when you poisoned us with wolfsbane, if he really is hallucinating."
"But Stiles is human-," Isaac tries to say, but Scott interrupts.
"And he was affected too. He was hallucinating like the rest of us."
"It's true," Allison agrees, shocked that she just now realized it. "I hallucinated too."
"But you guys ingested it, right?" Lydia asks. "Does it have the same effects on humans when it's airborne?"
"Not really," Derek says, cutting in. "Not unless he inhaled a lot of it. And it's slow acting when it's inhaled."
"Then I guess it's back to square one-,"
"No, wait," Scott interrupts once more. "Stiles did inhale a lot of it." A look of understanding crosses both Boyd's and Isaac's faces. Scott was right, they were there, they saw it happen.
"What do you mean?" Lydia asks.
"When you guys asked Stiles to get Coach to pull over, they had this big argument. They were in each other's face and Coach kept blowing his whistle. In. Stiles'. Face."
"So what happened at the motel…" Allison starts.
"Is happening to Stiles." Isaac finishes for them.
"Stiles is going to kill himself!" Scott shouts, running for the loft door, everyone else behind him, even Derek who had less of a clue of what was going on and what motel incident they were talking about.
Isn't not like he can't find out later.
They all jump into their respective cars and book it out of the parking lot, taking care to speed towards Stiles without attracting attention from law enforcement or Stiles' dad. When they roll into the Stilinski driveway, the group is relieved that Stiles' dad isn't home and they rush into the house, Scott taking the lead and Isaac in the back trying to get ahold of Deaton.
Scott breaks down the door, having no patience to actually open it and suddenly stops in his place, making everyone behind him crash into one another.
Stiles was sitting on the edge of his bed, 'The Notebook' open in his lap to his mother's image, and a gun resting on his temple. Stiles takes a moment to blink, then looks up at Scott as though he was trying to determine if he were real or not. He probably was. Scott takes a few easy steps forward, and Stiles lets him, until Scott is right next to him and prying the gun out of his brother's hand.
"Stiles…" Scott whispers, sitting gently next to him. Stiles blinks once more, and a bit of the cloudiness in his eyes goes away.
"You're real," Stiles' scratchy voice states in awe. Scott repressed the urge to panic, because Isaac wasn't kidding about Stiles' ability to speak.
"Yeah, bro. It's me. It's Scott. And Allison is here, with Isaac and Boyd and Lydia and Derek." Stiles nose crinkles at the mention and his eyes narrow.
"You aren't real." Stiles lunges for the gun sitting in Scott's hand. Scott holds him back long enough to give the gun to Isaac, who in turn hands it to Allison to be unloaded.
"I'm real. We all are. Derek never died, he was just being an asshole." Stiles blinks once more and leans into Scott's embrace.
"Sounds like something Derek would do." He sounds so unemotional and unattached, that coupled with Stiles' gravelly voice makes Scott want to hold his best friend and cry all over him, just like the night at the motel.
"Why didn't you tell me?" Scott asks in desperation. Hadn't he asked Stiles to tell him if it got too unbearable? Did Stiles still not trust him enough?
"I did. But it wasn't you. It was hallucination Scott. He died." He hears a few gasps from his friends as he tries to wrap his arms tighter around Stiles.
"I'm so sorry you had to go through that," Scott whispers into Stiles' throat. He can feel the others gather on the bed with him, no longer willing to be spectators to Stiles' suffering. Even Derek sits on the corner of the bed, hovering around their group awkwardly, but close enough to count as comfort. Scott then takes 'The Notebook' from Stiles lap and closes the book so that the gruesome picture of his mother is no longer looking at him, the accusation plain on her face.
They sit there silently on Stiles' bed for a long while, just holding on and letting Stiles feel their warmth. A knock downstairs from the front door makes Derek vacate his seat, only for him to come back with a worried-looking Deaton.
"I came as soon as I heard," the man pants out, setting down his briefcase and leaning in front of Stiles.
"How are you feeling?" The vet asks. Again, Stiles blinks, then he turns to Scott.
"Is he real too?"
"Yeah, Deaton is here to help you out." Deaton collects 'The Notebook' from the floor and flips through it, his face carefully neutral, before taking in the sight of the unloaded gun sitting on the dresser where Allison left it.
"I think it would be best if we take him back to the clinic. I need some different tools than I thought. I wasn't sure how far he had progressed. You all literally dodged a bullet this time." The group winced a bit before pulling out of the pile they had on Stiles.
A few months later and Stiles was mostly back to normal.
Of course, most of his mental healing had been disturbed by the Darach and the Alpha Pack, but he had pulled through them with a surprising amount of strength and determination. By the end of their junior year, Stiles was back to making jokes and laughing along with the pack openly.
The nightmares had slowed down to twice a week, and the glazed look had stopped all together. 'The Notebook' had been burned by his own hands, but Stiles now kept a journal with him because the habit became ingrained and the relief he felt from writing down his feelings was real.
Stiles no longer wrote just about death. He wrote about life, about the pack, about his father.
He drew his mom in a truer light, and not the demonic creature that haunted his nightmares.
By no means was he back to the way he was before he was poisoned, but he was far better than the broken soul who couldn't tell his horrible fictional realm from the real world.