He lets his dad clean the blood from his face because he's exhausted and the only place he wants to be right now is wherever his dad is. (The part of his brain that is still a 16 year old boy rebelling against control is not impressed by this at ALL.) He's got his face propped up on his hand and is trying to keep his eyes open.

Dying and then floating in an ice bath for 16 hours hasn't done him any favors. He tries to think back to the last time he got a full night of sleep and he keeps coming up blank. It was somewhere before the recital from hell, before his best friend tried to kill himself in a gasoline soaked parking lot, before one of his oldest friends was slaughtered….

A shiver runs through him and grows into a steady trembling that he can't control. His father looks at him from where he's gingerly shrugging out of his shirt, trying his best not to jar his injured arm. Oh right, he had forgotten to add watching his father get stabbed in a classroom that he is going to have to sit in every school day until the end of the year.

Stiles chokes on a sob and misses the way his dad's face crumbles in misery. He's motionless for a minute before dragging his chair as close to Stiles' as he can get and gathers his son into his arms, tucking his head under his chin.

"Stiles…kiddo…I think I'm finally getting a glimpse of the life you've been living and I have to say…I am horrified. I don't know whether to be grateful that you are strong enough to make it this far, or lock you in your room forever. Your mom…."

He cuts himself off and pauses, starts again in a lower tone.

"I am proud of you."

Stiles blinks up at him, trying to keep his face blank and knowing that he has failed in that regard.


He hates how small his voice sounds, how obvious it is that he needs to hear this.

"Yes, really."

Stiles hugs him tighter for a moment, then nods and pulls back from his dad's embrace. Pushing his chair back, he stands and leans against the table, folding his arms before sighing and glancing around the kitchen.

"You should go take a shower dad. You'll probably feel better."

He moves towards the hutch in the corner, reaching for the ever present whiskey on the shelf.

"You want a glass?" He glances back at his father as he pulls the bottle towards him.

"You know what? Yes I do. Fill that puppy up."

Stiles snorts through his nose and grabs a glass from the collection on the shelf below the liquor. He's tempted to grab one for himself but he knows his dad isn't going to be that generous no matter WHAT has happened. He does sneak a quick sip after he fills the glass, the whiskey burning its way down his throat.

He turns to hand the glass to his father and is startled at the look his dad is giving him. It's a look he hasn't seen since his mom's funeral.


The change in his father's mood is so severe, Stiles is convinced something else happened and his dad hasn't told him.

"Nothing. I was just thinking that…."

He stops for a moment, glances down at the floor, and then back up at Stiles.

"I was thinking that I hope you can understand where I've been coming from. I mean, this is all like some bad trip and even though I was there for a lot of it, my brain is just not processing this."

Stiles has been shaking his head since his dad started talking.

"No, dad. I get it. There's a very good reason I didn't tell you what was going on. I mean, other than thinking you would have me committed."

He takes a gulp from the glass in his hand and shrugs as his dad raises his eyebrows before reaching forward and taking the drink.

This time the whiskey warms his belly and the tremors ease up enough that he no longer feels in danger of collapsing. His head is still throbbing but he's had concussions before and it's a familiar pain. This is something he can handle.

"I just didn't want you to get hurt. I was trying to protect you."

His dad takes a long drink and stands, coming close enough to lay a hand on Stiles shoulder.

"That's not your job, Stiles. I'm your father. It's my job to make sure you are safe."


"No, no buts. Now I understand why you didn't think you could share any of this…this…shit, I don't even know what to call it, but starting now, I expect to be made fully aware of the goings on in my town. Capiche?"

Stiles isn't sure he can promise that he'll be able to do that, so he doesn't answer. Instead he stares at the ground and yawns, letting his dad interpret his silence anyway he wants.

He seems satisfied for the time being although Stiles knows that this will come up again sometime in the future. He just hopes that the next time doesn't wind up driving as big a wedge in their relationship as the last couple of years have.

Distantly, he can hear his phone going off and knows he should go answer it. This whole ordeal has been too much of everything for everyone and he suspects it will be awhile before the group is calm enough that a missed call doesn't turn into a major disaster.

His dad's head is cocked as he listens to the Star Wars theme echoing from the living room, his glass raised halfway to his lips.

"Sounds like Scott. You should answer that."

Stiles nods and heads for the foyer where he had dropped everything after staggering through the front door. Rifling through the pockets of his hoodie produces his phone and he slides the bar on the home screen to the right to pick up the call.


Scott sounds as exhausted as Stiles feels.

"Hey buddy. How's it going? Your mom settled in?"

"Yeah, she's in the kitchen arguing with Mr. Argent about going to the hospital. She's losing."

"Mmhmm. Not surprising."

Scott is quiet for a minute and when he speaks again, he sounds almost hesitant.

"How's your dad?"

Stiles turns around to see his dad putting his empty glass in the kitchen sink before slowly making his way through the living room.

"He's alive. Can't ask for anything more."

His dad smirks at him before stopping a short distance away.

"Hi Scott. I want to have a chat with you too."

His voice is raised like he's trying to be heard over the phone. Stiles wonders if he isn't aware of Scott's werewolf hearing or if he's just forgotten.

"Good night, kiddo. These bones aren't as young as they used to be. I need to sleep for a week."

He puts a hand on Stiles' shoulder, drops a kiss on his head and turns to the stairs.

"Don't stay up too late."

"Dad? I love you. "

His dad turns back to him with a soft smile. It reminds Stiles of how he used to look, back when they were whole. Back when his mom was alive.

"I love you too, son."

He turns and walks up the stairs slowly, groaning as he gingerly tests his shoulder.

"Glad to hear that he's okay. Not surprised that he wants to talk."

He sighs deeply in Stiles' ear, and sensing this might be a long conversation, Stiles heads over to settle onto his couch.

"He's taking this all pretty well. I mean, way better than I could have expected. He's not happy about it, but we weren't either. So…."


Scott's voice is quiet, like he's thinking.

"What happened earlier? When you disappeared?"

"Oh, yeah, uh…I got caught in some freaky ass storm and uh…crashedmyJeepintoatree."

"WHAT? Jesus Stiles! Are you okay? Why the hell didn't you say something?!"

Stiles can't help but feel happy at Scott's anger. It feels like it's been a lifetime since his best friend has had enough time to actually worry about him.

"I'll live."

It's not that he's trying to come off tougher than he is, it's just that he doesn't want to rehash what happened, especially when all it's going to do is make Scott feel guilty.

"Do you need someone to go pick it up with you?"

"Nah. It got towed. Having the sheriff's office on speed dial has its perks."

Scott snorts and then yawns.

"Listen, are you busy tomorrow? I was thinking maybe we could do a CoD marathon or something."

Something in Stile's chest loosens at Scott's words and he grins and nods even though he knows that Scott can't see him.

"Yeah dude, sounds awesome."

Scott sounds oddly relieved, like he thought that there might be a chance that Stiles would say no.

"Great! Then I'll see you tomorrow."

There's another pause and Stiles is about to hang up when he hears Scott's voice again.

"Stiles, I just wanna say thanks. Thanks for always being there. You know, for me. Just, thanks."

"Anytime, man. You know that. That's what bros are for."

Scott laughs a little and Stiles can hear his mom calling his name.

"Alright dude, I'll see you tomorrow. 'Night."

"Yup. Night"

Stiles hangs up and leans his back against the cushion briefly before rocking forward and pushing himself up from the couch. He looks around his living room once more, before heading for the stairs. He needs a hot shower and at least 12 hours of solid sleep but it looks like tonight, for the first time in a long time, he might be able to do just that.