How do you define a family? Mellissa McCall always thought that one was hard. Some say its blood and blood alone that made a family. But Mellissa was an ER nurse, and she had seen enough to convince her that blood relations were not always good relations, or a good foundation for family.
Some say it's the ties of affection and not blood—of love for another person, about caring for them and wanting to protect them and guide them.
Looking at it now, after everything that had happened, Mellissa thought it was a combination of the two. Blood and affection. How else could you explain her family as it stood now?
Scott was her baby boy. She had carried him for nine months, changed his nappies and raised him. She was tied to him by blood and affection, and he was her son in every way that mattered. He is family.
When Scott was five, Mellissa made him share his toys with a hyperactive boy who literally fell into their live—from the lowest limbs of the tallest tree in the playground. That was how they meet Stiles, and Mellissa sometimes doubted whether or not it was a good thing. But over the years, as she saw the happiness Stiles brought to Scott's life, and to her own, these doubts were washed away. It was fair to say that she loved this motor mouthed boy who was as hyper as a monkey on caffeine.
When Stiles was eight, his mother died. Mellissa found him having a panic attack- his first ever panic attack. She did what any woman who was both nurse and mother would do, he calmed him down and held him until his tears died away. He had kissed her on the cheek and thanked her quietly, and Mellissa knew she would look out for this boy no matter what.
When her husband left, taking their daughter with him, Mellissa was heartbroken. She didn't pay as much attention to the regular things—like meals, or whether Scott had his inhaler. But Stiles, now nine, was there to repay her for her kindness. He convinced his dad to bring take away so that Mellissa wouldn't have to cook. He was there to clean up. He asked for the spare inhaler for Scott, because he was forgetting his. Stiles carried it in his school bag, just in case Scott ever forgot his again, and Mellissa saw him as Scott's brother after that.
By the time the boys entered high school, Mellissa saw Stiles as her son. She didn't know when or how she started to think like this, but Stiles was in her house almost as much as he was at his own. He ate most of his meals here, and on occasion, she did his laundry.
Yes, it was fair to say that Stiles was her son. Maybe not by blood, but in every other way that Mellissa thought was important, he was. Stiles is family.
Scott and he were her boys.
Mellissa could never understand why anyone could be cruel to Isaac Lahey. The curly haired teen with the gentle smile was a gentleman. When Scott had come to ask her could he stay, all she had to do was take one look as his sopping wet curls and the plastic shopping bag with a t-shirt and pair of jeans, and she said yes. She didn't know why. Maybe it was the way Isaac had looked at her. It reminded her of the way Scott had looked when his dad and left, and how Stiles had looked when his mom had died—lost, alone and afraid. A kid who needed someone to wrap them in a warm hug and tell them everything would be ok, even when they knew it wasn't.
For the first week, Isaac was always at the door, ready to help with the shopping, to cook dinner, to hang up her keys. He cleaned up after himself, and when Mellissa picked up a sock he had dropped, she saw the fear flash behind his eyes, and she understood. It tore her up inside to realise what must have happened to create that much fear, and Mellissa swore that it would never happen under her roof. Her desire to protect and nurture Isaac increased when she found out that three family members- an aunt, an uncle and even a grandmother- had all refused to take Isaac (due, no doubt to his father's lies)- Mellissa filed paper work to become his legal guardian.
Mellissa work hard to make Isaac comfortable. That when she said "punishment," she didn't mean locking him in a fridge, but rather, making him do the dishes or was the car for a month. Maybe cutting his TV and Xbox time. Pretty soon, Isaac had carved a place for himself in Mellissa's heart.
Then, after the incident with her (Mellissa refused to use her name, not after been kidnapped and nearly sacrificed), after hugging Scott and Stiles, Mellissa realise she was looking for Isaac. As she pulled him into a tight hug, she realised that her "boys" now included Isaac. Scott treated Isaac the same way he treated Stiles- as a brother. Isaac was now family to Mellissa.
When Mellissa first meets Ethan and Aiden properly, Scott had told her their story. She didn't know what to make of the massive boys. They were big, intimidating, and they looked like two lost puppies. Almost like Isaac had that night in her hallway- both they and Isaac had lost their alphas, and while they might be alpha's themselves, they had never been independent. Even the way they looked at Scott for guidance reminded her of Isaac, and that should have raised alarms in her head. It looked like Scott was taking on the same role with them as he had with Isaac, in the beginning- mentor and friend.
Within a week, after she had heard that they were still minors and living in an abandoned warehouse, the twins were moved into her basement. There was enough room for both of them down there.
Mellissa was not a stupid woman; she could see that the same thing that had happened with both Stiles and Isaac was happening with the twins. She was getting involved because there was no one else to get involved. But she couldn't help herself. They were teenagers who needed guidance. The fact that they were werewolves made it all the more important. As an ER nurse, she had seen what happened to wayward teens that had no guidance, and given what a werewolf could do... Mellissa shivered. Anyway, Mellissa realised there was very little difference between teenage boys and werewolves. They just needed plenty of food, sleep and patience.
Before she knew it, Ethan and Aiden had joined Isaac in calling her "Momma McCall." Mellissa was startled to realise that her "boys" now numbered five, and that she didn't really care.
All of them needed to be loved and cared for, and Mellissa wanted provide that. She wanted to guide and protect them. She may only be related to one by blood, but he was related to the others in a way she couldn't really grasp. He was the Alpha of his own pack, and she needed to be there for him. If that made her "Pack Mother," as Stiles put it that was fine by her.
In the end, family was what you made of it. Related by blood, or related by love, family was family, and hers were five teenage boys who just needed a mother.
And occasionally a nurse!