He doesn’t know the werewolves that hold his arms, push him forward into the massive open space.   It’s a place that was once something but isn’t quite anything else yet, bereft of purpose amongst other things.  At least, for the time being.  It’s dark here and cold and unsettling in how unsettled it is; buildings, by their nature, shouldn’t feel so alien and unwelcome.  Human touch, however unpleasant or ugly it may be, is at least human touch.  But the broken stone and warped metal beams seem as inhospitable as any piece of true wilderness as he’s shoved across the dirty stone ground, walked towards his highly questionable fate. 

He won’t look up at first, partly because he knows what he’ll be seeing and part because he’s worried it’ll be worse than the last time, which was… he doesn’t know how long ago it was.  The days have blurred and the edges of memories are frayed by pain and guilt and a dozen other things he doesn’t want to examine, mostly because he doesn’t think they’ll help him now.  He doesn’t know what will help him now, pulled from his bed and dragged here in front of the monster that was haunting him in the uneven sleep he’d been, in generous terms, ‘enjoying’. 

One of the werewolves grabs his head, though, claws threatening to pierce the thin skin along his jaw if he fights.  He almost closes his eyes before realizing that he could actually imagine having them pulled open without much care for how much it would hurt.  He’s actually relieved when he looks, because it’s only as bad as it was the last time he was here.

There’s no pile of skulls, no ridiculous throne, but the way the massive wolf is reclining against the rubble gives a similar impression.  The claws are out, dark with something he doesn’t want to think about, and a red tongue slides along the massive teeth as if to remind him how quickly, how easily, he can be gobbled up.  He shivers, can’t help it, because he remembers that mouth curved into a smile, harmful only to cheeseburgers and fries.  He tries to think of it that way, but his mind fills that mouth with blood.  The old memories are too stained and tattered and he mourns them silently as he waits for the wolf to acknowledge him.

Then he decides he’s waited too long already.

"All right, Scott.  What the hell do you want?  Cause if it’s just to show off your big bad werewolf lair, I gotta tell you… still not as cool as the Bat Cave."

Deep red eyes study him for a moment and the beast doesn’t move for just long enough that he KNOWS it’s to make a point. After all, he hasn’t gone by ‘Scott’ for almost a year.  Not since Allison tried to kill him.  Not since Allison left.

"I’m not callin’ you ‘Tiberinus’, cause first off, LAME, and second, you’re a fucking psycho, SCOTT, so if you wanted me DEAD, I’d be dead already."

The massive wolf makes a noise, a gruff snort that almost sounds like a laugh, before he uncurls and gets to his paws.  The transformation is slow, gradual, done for effect if Stiles knows anything, and then it’s like it’s his best friend in front of him.  His best friend wearing old jeans and a ratty t-shirt and he’s not sure if THAT is for effect, but it makes his heart clench anyway.

"You get to call me Scott."

"I get to call you whatever you want when you drag me out of bed late at night.  I haven’t change my cellphone, man.  I mean, I’m not going to answer a mass murdering fuckhead and come when he calls, but a little warning would have been nice."

Scott shrugs, his eyes still red.  Stiles wonders if he can even change them back anymore, if those brown puppy eyes are gone forever, and he’s almost a little glad.  Because his friend is gone forever, and he doesn’t want any more reminders of it.

"So?"

A tilt of his chin and the werewolves who’d brought him in skitter off, leaving them alone, leaving Stiles standing on his own with the shell of his best friend.

"What?  Did you desperately want a sleepover or something?  Cut the silent act, man, and stop wasting my beauty sleep.  I’m trying to be brave here and you’re making that REALLY hard."

"Bravery’s overrated."

"Says the evil overlord," he says with a roll of his eyes.  Because this feels almost like it used to, tit for tat, Scott and Stiles bickering except they’re in the literal wolf’s den and the wolf is SCOTT.  It shouldn’t feel so right when it’s so wrong.

"I’m not an overlord.  I’m just… an Alpha."

"THE Alpha.  You know, cause you killed all the other ones."

Another shrug.  Like he’s admitting he took the last cookie on the plate.  It’s AGGRAVATING.  Especially because they’ve had this fight before.  And Stiles wants him to go where they both know he could go, but despite the fact that he’ll kill people and he’s killed people and he’s this terrifying THING crouching menacingly in an abandoned warehouse with a small army of werewolves, he never GOES there.  Which only makes it worse.

"So?"

"Do you think I wanted to be this?"

Which is not the line he’s supposed to say.  He’s supposed to ask Stiles for something devious or offer him a place in the pack or hell, tell him his supervillain plan in a deep evil voice.  Because Stiles had been there.  Stiles had been there when they’d attacked his mother.  Stiles had been there, seen the change in his eyes as he held Melissa McCall’s hand in the hospital, had stared at him as he quit the lacrosse team.  Blood had splashed on him the first time Scott had killed someone, and he’d watched the red seep into Scott’s eyes, the gold disappearing forever.  And then—

"How’s your mom doing?  Since we’re asking off-topic questions and all."

"She’s fine," he answers, like they’re just catching up.  Scott’s… Scott’s being Scott and Stiles doesn’t know how to handle this.  Because he hasn’t SEEN Scott for what feels like ages.  Because he thought Scott was ‘dead’.

"Just ‘fine’?  Not ‘horrified at what her son has become’ or, you know, ‘off in Ft. Lauderdale living the high life’.  Just ‘fine’?  Trying out the strong, silent type thing now that no one’d DARE laugh at how silly it looks on you?"

"She’s fine," he says again, finally moving again.  Walking.  Almost walking around Stiles before visibly realizing he shouldn’t, that circling isn’t what he wants to do.  He turns, unnaturally, and paces, an unusual show of emotion.  "I didn’t bring you here to talk about Mom, Stiles."

"Ooo, you remember my name.  Awesome.  What’s next?  Will your conscience peek out next?  The surprises keep coming."

"I wanted to be a veterinarian."

He almost snaps back, but he’s watching Scott’s face and there’s things there, things he’s not sure if he’s actually seeing or imagining or what.  Hope like a ragged flag flutters inside of him and he wants to let it go but he can’t.  He can’t because maybe there’s a chance things may change and for the first time, they might change for the better.

"I wanted to be a veterinarian.  I wanted to get married and have kids and they’d play with your kids.  That’s what I wanted.  That’s who I wanted to be."

Stiles made a show of looking around and let out a soft whistle.

"I gotta tell you, man.  You kinda missed the mark."

Which was when the eyes flare and he gets the nasty reminder that this isn’t Scott.  That this is Tiberinus, the wolf who’d broken all the rules, the renegade child who’d taken on a pack of Alphas and become their master, the monster who’d looked into the abyss trying to figure out the rules of the dark new world around him and who’d turned into everything he’d tried to fight to defeat it.

And Stiles startles back, afraid, because he doesn’t know this person.  

"Don’t act like you don’t know how I got here."

Which is close, so close to the truth that it BURNS.  Stiles knows.  Stiles was there.  Stiles HELPED.  Stiles pushed him and Stiles pulled him and ultimately, Stiles failed.  Stiles failed because Stiles is the one who showed him how.  Because even if Scott was the one who’d done it, Stiles was the one who’d told him it was okay.  

Stiles had been scared and Stiles had been helpless and Stiles had wanted the horrible bad things to go away and all he’d done was help make his best friend into the most horrible of them all because he’d thought it was safe.  Because he’d thought Scott would never really go bad.  Because he’d kept his hands clean by letting Scott do all the dirty work.

And Scott had broken under the weight of them all.  

"So?" he asks again, quiet this time, eyes down.  He isn’t cowed by fear, can’t be because that feature was broken on arrival in one Stiles Stilinski, but he can’t bear to look.  That’s why he startles at the perfectly human hand pressed to his.  The warm, dry, brown skin against his own.  Scott.  Scott’s hand.  He startles, but he doesn’t pull away.

He doesn’t even pull away when the blue-tinged blade is pressed into his hand.

What he does is throw the damn thing as far as he can.

"No," he says, shaking his head, knowing he has no right.  Knowing how HARD that must have been, how long he had to have been thinking about this, and still Absolutely Refusing on Every Level.  He’s a hypocrite and worse than Scott ever was, ever has been, because he might not have held the blade, or borne the claws or pulled the trigger or pressed the button, but he badgered and harangued and dragged Scott kicking and screaming into that dark night and then ran away when it got too scary because he could.  Because he was human.  Peter might have made Scott into a werewolf with a bite, but what he’d done to his friend had made him into something else.  

He’d already killed Scott.  He wouldn’t do it a second time.

Scott glances over at the blade, then back at Stiles and he wishes he was angry.  He wishes Scott was angry, snarling at him, pushing him to the ground.  But he’s not.

He’s just looking at Stiles.  And Stiles doesn’t know what to do with that.

"I’m asking you for help."

"That’s not help!" he snaps, but his voice wavers because he’s not sure.  He’s not sure if he should have tossed it away, or if he’s just being a coward.  Is this about what’s right or is this about what he’s willing to do?  He’s never been sure, honestly.  That’s what got them into this.

"I trust you."

"You shouldn’t," comes out immediately, because he knows, he knows, he knows, because it’s what he thinks about when he’s at school and what he thinks about when he’s at home on his computer and there’s no one pinging him on Skype and what he thinks about when he looks at his old, abandoned lacrosse gear.  Scott was his own person, Scott had made his own choices, but not for one minute could he claim that he’d had no hand in them.  Scott had trusted him.

Scott still trusted him.  Dammit.

Those hands again, like warm sand, wrap around his and he can’t pull away.  He wants to, but it’s so close.  So close to the hole inside of him that aches for his best friend, one of the few people he could say that he’s ever truly loved.  That’s why this all hurts, and why his words rip that hole even wider.

"Unmake me.  I don’t know how to do it on my own."

Because you didn’t become this on your own.

A faint smile, the teeth held back so that it’s almost like the darkness isn’t there.  Why can he do that?  How can he do that?  How can Scott still eek out from behind the fangs?

"Yoda never worked for the Dark Side, man."  His voice is shaking so hard he’s not even sure it was intelligible.  But Scott’s head tilts.

"You can’t outdo a tiny puppet man?"

Well, when Scott put it like that…

Well, when he put it like that, he sounded like Scott.  Dammit.  DAMMIT.

This was a bad idea.  This was— this wasn’t happening, couldn’t happen.  It wasn’t going to work.  He’d be worried about his own health if he could be but right now he was thinking about how there was no way they could fix things, fix everything, how they—

How they.

They.

He calmed himself mostly by pointing out to himself that the decision was made.  They.  Decision made.  Fuck his fears.  He’d just have to see what the road back from Hell was paved with.  

  1. rhythmelia said: Ahhhhh! This is so clenchy and heart-hurty and I was clutching my afghan the whole time I was reading it. Would love to see more if you’re so inclined, between Stiles’ palpable guilt and Scott reaching out and that teeny tiny hint of hope at the end.
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