Stiles tapped his pencil impatiently on the desk, absentmindedly shaking his foot.

"Mister Stilinski!"

Stiles jumped and looked up. He could tell by his teacher's expression that his name had already been called several times. He plastered on a smile. "Yeah?"

"Your inability to pay attention is what landed you in detention in the first place. Unless you'd like to come back tomorrow, I suggest you adjust your behavior accordingly."

Stiles nodded. "Yes, sir," he said dutifully. Scott snorted.

Mr. Harris rolled his eyes. "You can go."

Stiles and Scott stood up and gathered their books.

"Not you, McCall. You and I need to have a chat."

Stiles hesitated. "Uh…I'll wait for you in the parking lot," he said. Scott nodded, giving him a sheepish smile.

"Yeah, you go ahead. I'll be out in a minute."

Stiles quickly left the room. He had no desire to hear his best friend be the victim of yet another lecture from yet another awful teacher who couldn't possibly understand what Scott was going through.

He was so lost in his thoughts that he didn't notice the person standing by his jeep. Until said person grabbed him by the front of the shirt and slammed him into the side of it.

"Ah! What the hell! What's your problem, Connor?" Stiles cried.

"What's my problem? Your stick-up-the-ass cop dad is my problem!" he growled, and punched him in the jaw.

Stiles fell to the ground and spat out blood, propping himself up on his elbows. "Look, man-"

Connor ignored him, dragging him back to his feet and holding him by the front of the shirt. "Shut up, Stiles," he snarled, and hit him again.

Stiles started to fall again, but Connor kept him on his feet, Stiles' shirt balled up in his fists.

"Nuh uh. On your feet." Another blow.

The world was starting to get blurry at the edges as Stiles felt Connor's fist slam into him again. The next one landed on his ribs, and Stiles doubled over, coughing and trying to catch his breath. Connor hit him again in the gut and Stiles crumpled to the pavement. His vision was quickly being reduced to a pinprick of light. He was pretty sure Connor was going to beat him to death in the school parking lot. Damn, that would suck.

XXX

Scott frowned as he walked out into the parking lot. Someone was kicking at a figure by Stiles' jeep. Someone was kicking at Stiles by Stiles' jeep.

"Hey! What are you doing? Get the hell off of him!" he shouted, running toward the assailant. The kid looked up and took off, running in the other direction. Stiles lay on his back on the pavement, moaning, his lip and nose and face bleeding, trying to catch his breath. Scott knelt beside him.

"Holy crap, Stiles! You okay? Aw, hell…"

"Scott," Stiles croaked.

"Yeah, I'm here. Hey, I'm gonna take you to the hospital, my mom's working and-"

"No! No, I'm fine." Stiles waved a hand dismissively, sitting up on his elbows. "I'm fine." He tried to stand, but fell back down with a grunt of pain.

"Okay, come on," Scott muttered, putting an arm around his friend's middle and helping him to his feet. "You really should let me take you to the hospital."

"No, Scott," Stiles insisted. "Could you-could you just let it go?"

Scott sighed. "Fine. But there's no way I'm letting you drive. Give me the keys, and I'll drive you home. Deal?"

"Fine," Stiles mumbled, digging in his pocket for his keys. "Here." Scott took the keys, then helped Stiles around to the passenger side and into the jeep.

Stiles turned on the radio. Scott turned it off. "Stiles, talk to me. Are you gonna tell me what the hell happened back there?"

Stiles shrugged. "I dunno. Connor's been riding me lately. Found me alone in the parking lot, saw an opportunity, and seized it."

"But why?"

"Look, I don't know!" Stiles snapped. He sank down in his seat a little. "Sorry. I didn't mean to snap. I just-I need to go home and rest."

Scott nodded. "Okay. Fine," he answered shortly, a little offended. Immediately, he felt a surge of guilt. Scott had tried to kill Stiles on more than one occasion, and nearly got his father killed, and then there was the whole thing with that night at the school…and Stiles was still his best friend. In spite of everything, he was right there by Scott's side whenever he needed him. If anyone deserved Scott's understanding, it was Stiles.

"Look," he said, his voice softening. "If you ever wanna talk about it, I'm here for you. But if you don't, that's fine too."

Stiles simply nodded. The rest of the drive went by in awkward silence.

"Oh, thank god," Stiles muttered as they pulled into his driveway. "My dad's not home." He stumbled out of the car, and Scott hurried to his side.

"Scott, I'm fine."

"No, you're not. I'm coming inside," Scott said firmly.

Stiles pursed his lips, but didn't argue as Scott led him into the house.

"Do you have a first aid kit anywhere?" Scott asked.

"Seriously? Scott, you fix animals. I'm a person. Besides-"

"I know, I know. You keep telling me. You're fine. But you're not, Stiles. Where's a first aid kit?"

Stiles sighed and sat heavily in a chair. "On top of the fridge."

Scott felt around on the top of the fridge until he found the corner of the metal box, and he brought it down. He set it on the table and opened it up, taking out a packet of antibacterial wipes.

"Okay, this is going to sting," Scott warned. Stiles yelped.

"I haven't even done anything yet! Now just...try to stay calm. If you jerk around I don't wanna poke your eye out." He reached up and began to wipe the blood off of Stiles' face. Stiles gasped sharply and bit his lip.

"Yeah. Yeah, you're right, that stings like a bitch. Ow. Ow!" He swatted at Scott's hand.

"Quit being such a baby! There. At least now your face isn't covered in blood." He walked to the freezer and pulled out a bag of frozen peas. "Put that on your ribs. My mom's probably worried sick, I should probably go."

"Thanks Scott. For everything," Stiles said. Scott nodded and headed out the door.

"Scott."

He looked up.

"I mean it. Thank you."

"Any time, Stiles."

XXX

Stiles jumped as a knock on the door jerked him from his sleep. "Uh, come in," he called.

"I just wanted to let you know-what the hell happened to your face?"

Stiles sighed. "Nothing, Dad. It's fine."

"No, it's not fine. Who did this?"

"Dad, it's not a big deal, okay? Can't you just let it go?"

"No, I'm not going to let it go! Who was it?"

Stiles closed his eyes in frustration. "Can you please just not be a cop, just this once? Please?"

His dad frowned. "You think that's what this is about? You think I just wanna book the kid? Stiles, you're my son. I'm a cop, but I'm also your father. And that always comes first. I want to know who did this so I can make sure it doesn't happen again."

"Fine. But you have to promise that you won't call his parents. That would just make it worse."

"I promise I won't call his parents. Now who was it?"

Stiles sighed. "It was Connor Greene. Ever since you busted him for drinking, he's been bugging me every chance he gets. Today after I got out of detention he was waiting for me in the parking lot." He decided to leave out the part where Scott was the only thing that stopped him from getting beat to unconsciousness.

"Connor Greene," he repeated, frowning. He pointed. "I see you're guarding those ribs. You need to go get checked out?"

"Naw, Dad. I'm okay."

"Well, you let me know if that changes. Understood?"

Stiles sighed and rolled his eyes. "Seriously?"

"Yes, seriously." He hesitated and stood awkwardly for a second. Then, he planted a kiss on the top of Stiles' head. "I love you, son," he said, before quickly leaving the room.

Stiles stared after him. His dad had never been very sentimental, at least not that he could remember. "I love you, too."

XXX

Connor looked in the rearview mirror and cursed as the cop car flashed its lights. Swearing, he pulled over to the side of the road and rolled down the window as the officer approached the car.

It was Sheriff Stilinski. He felt a pit form in his stomach, but tried his best not to show it. "Is there a problem, Sherriff?" Connor asked innocently.

"Yeah. You didn't use your turn signal. I'm gonna need you to step out of the car for me."

Connor swallowed and did as he was told. Sheriff Stilinski grabbed the back of his shirt and slammed him into the car. Connor winced. The sheriff pushed him hard against the car.

"Ow, ow, ow!" he yelped.

"Oh, I'm sorry." The sheriff put his mouth close to Connor's ear. "You're eighteen, right? Which means anything you do can go on your permanent record. I know what you did to my son. And I'm telling you that if you ever lay a finger on him again, I will personally see to it that you do time. If you have a problem with me, you take it up with me, not Stiles. Is that understood?"

Connor nodded vigorously.

"I want to hear you say it," Sheriff Stilinski growled, his voice low and dangerous.

"Yes, yes, that is understood."

"That's understood…"

"Sir! That's understood, sir," Connor said.

"Good." He stepped back, releasing him. "Drive safe now, Connor. Have a good evening."

Connor nodded as Sheriff Stilinski walked away, breathing heavily and sinking to the ground in relief.

Sheriff Stilinski smiled.

XXX

"How was school today?"

Stiles looked up. His dad was leaning against the kitchen counter. "Oh. It was fine."

"That Connor kid give you any trouble?"

"Nope. He couldn't even look me in the eye in the hallway," Stiles answered.

"Huh. Really? Well, he must have satisfied with beating you up in the parking lot," his dad said.

"I guess so." Stiles walked toward his bedroom to do his homework. He paused in his doorway. "Thanks, Dad," he said.

"Just doing my job, son."

XXX