- Alternate Universe
“Yeah, dad? Look….Yeah-yes-I did something stupid with Scott and now I’m out in the Preserve by myself staring at a corpse,” he babbled into the phone as his dad answered. There was silence for a moment on the other end of the line. All Stiles could hear was the rustling of the wind in the leaves around him.
“Did you kill Scott?”
It was Stiles’ turn for silence as his mouth dropped open. “Wha- No! I did not kill Scott. Scott decided his potential future social life was more important than the dead lady’s former *actual* life. He’s heading back so Melissa doesn’t ground him and ban him from Lacrosse tryouts.”
He could almost see his dad doing the closed-eye-nose-pinch move on the other side of the phone. “I see. GPS?” the Sheriff asked.
“Yeah, sec. I’m putting you on speaker.” A moment later, Stiles had shared his location in the maps application with his dad and rattled off the coordinates of his location as a backup.
“I’m on my way. Do you want me to stay on the phone?”
“Maybe?” Stiles said, doing his best to look anywhere but at the corpse on the ground in front of him.
He could hear his dad on the other side of the line calling out orders for people to head to the location a dead body was located in the Preserve. There were other noises in the darkness of the woods around Stiles and he glanced over his shoulder warily. The uneasy feeling of being watched was skittering down his spine and Stiles’ shiver had nothing to do with the temperature.
A beep from his phone startled him and he pulled it away from his ear. “Fuck.”
“Stiles?” his dad asked on the other end, worry lacing his tone.
“Dad, my battery’s about to die,” Stiles said, then took a deep breath. “Bad choice of words,” he muttered. “I forgot that I used most of it up on the flashlight trying not to trip over anything.”
“Ok, I’m in the car and headed your way. Stay put, try not to disturb the scene too much. I’ll be there as soon as possible,” Noah said. The sirens in the background were reassuring. “I’ve got someone calling the Hales to see if they have anyone in the Preserve tonight. If they do, they’re going to head your way.”
Stiles swallowed and nodded, looking around. “Ok,” he said as the phone beeped again in his ear. “I’ll see you soon.”
“You will. Love you, kid. Just hang—” his dad’s voice cut out as the phone finally gave in and powered down.
Stiles closed his eyes and looked around again before putting his back to a nearby tree and slowly sliding down, the bark catching at his hoodie as he went. He settled on a root protruding from the ground and focused on the meditation exercises he’d never had much success with during Guide training. To his surprise, it was helping.
It felt like an eternity had passed as he sat pressed against the tree with his hands squished under his armpits. Stiles had always struggled with time blindness, something that was a common symptom of the ADHD he’d been diagnosed with years ago. With no way to tell what the time was because of his dead phone, time had little to no meaning and a minute could paradoxically feel like an eternity and a blink of an eye. Stiles was seriously rethinking his inability to wear the wristwatch he’d received from his aunt for his 17th birthday last September.
His thoughts took off on a tangent when he thought about his age. Stiles had repeated the year when his mom had died, which put him in the same grade as Scott, despite being almost a year older. Maybe that year was vital in the development of his maturity, he wondered. Maybe Scott would have stayed with him if he’d been 17 already instead of just turning 16 in October. But then they’d both be juniors instead of sophomores —
A howl pierced the quiet around Stiles, derailing his stream of thought, and his head whipped up, smacking into the tree trunk behind him. He looked around but didn’t see anything. The utter stillness of the forest was eerie and Stiles could feel his heart pounding. Was that one of the Hales?
The crunch of leaves pulled his attention in the other direction and he saw the beams of flashlights bobbing in the distance. He slowly started pushing himself back up the tree, hoping it was his dad.
“Stiles?” Noah called, trotting in his direction.
“Dad! Over here.” Stiles pushed off the tree and ran towards his dad, grabbing him in a tight hug as the other deputies and medical personnel began looking around the scene. He heard when they discovered the corpse but left his head resting on his dad’s shoulder for another minute.
“You ok, kid? What the hell were you doing out here?” Noah asked, putting his hands on Stiles’ shoulders to get a look at the teenager.
Stiles rolled his eyes and shook his head. “Jackson Whittmore told Scott that we needed to find some flag or something out here if we want to make the varsity team at tryouts tomorrow.”
Noah frowned. “And he believed that?”
“Right?!” Stiles asked, flinging his hands up in exasperation. “He’s so determined to make first-line tomorrow to try to have some sort of social life. Apparently, our social life isn’t enough for him anymore,” he continued, sighing.
Noah’s hand tightened on Stiles’ shoulder in commiseration before he looked over to one of the deputies standing nearby. “Tara, can you get Stiles to his car and get his statement?”
“Sure thing, Sheriff,” Deputy Tara Graeme said, moving closer.
“Go with Tara, give her your statement, then get home and go to bed. You still have school tomorrow,” Noah said with a stern look at Stiles. He brushed his hand over the back of Stiles’ head and gave him a gentle push in Tara’s direction. “Give me a call if you need anything, kid.”
“Ok, dad. Love you.”
“Love you, too.”
The trek back through the woods seemed to go much quicker and he was headed home, keeping an eye out for his dumbass friend. Despite his aggravation at Scott, he still wanted to make sure he got home. His phone finally had enough charge to turn back on by the time he came to a stoplight, so Stiles sent a text. Thankfully, Scott answered that he was home, so Stiles felt free to let his aggravation at his friend come back to the fore as he finished driving home.
Stiles dropped into his seat, seconds before the tardy bell rang. He was steadfastly ignoring Scott, who was frantically trying to get his attention. Thanks to his friend, he’d only gotten a couple of hours of sleep the night before and that had been interrupted by strange dreams. Yawning widely, he crossed his arms on his desk and decided to put his head down until he got caught.
The teacher started talking about the syllabus after commenting on the body he’d found last night. Stiles didn’t actually want to talk about what he’d seen, so he kept his head down for once. He was drifting in a doze when the classroom door opened and he lifted his head, unsure why he felt the compulsion to look at the person entering.
One of the Assistant Principals stepped through the open door and stepped back to allow a willowy teenage girl to enter the room. “Class, this is our new student, Allison Argent. Just do your best to make her feel welcome.”
Stiles was captivated. There was something about her that enthralled him and he honestly couldn’t look away as she ducked her head shyly before scanning the class from under her eyelashes. Her eyes glanced in his direction briefly then, like a heat-seeking missile, their gazes locked. Some primal *thing* was telling him that he needed to get to know this inimitable almost-woman.
The teacher stepped forward slightly and held a hand out, gesturing towards an empty seat. The movement must have startled Allison if the slight jerk of her shoulders was any indication. The movement broke their eye contact and she ducked her chin again, emanating new-student shyness as she hurried to the empty seat behind Scott. Stiles glanced down at his desktop, trying to regain his composure. Between his exhaustion, his exasperation with Scott, and excess adrenaline from her appearance, his body was jittery like a live-wire and he could see a fine tremor in his hands. What was this?
In the row next to him, he glanced up as Scott turned around and presented Allison with a dopey smile. Stiles frowned slightly and glanced at Allison as she looked towards Scott, but he was unable to see the expression on her face from the angle of his seat. After a pause, she reached out and took the pen.
Stiles watched, still frowning and wondering why the hell he had offered her a pen. Allison turned her head towards Stiles and quirked an eyebrow, her confusion making adorable little lines between her eyebrows. He shrugged at the unspoken question and wondered why he felt such a connection to someone with whom he had yet to exchange the simplest of hellos. Allison’s mouth twitched up in a smile and she turned back to face the teacher again, listening as he started rambling about Kafka’s Metamorphosis.
The class seemed to fly by but Stiles wouldn’t have been able to give anyone a recap. His mind was swirling with thoughts of the girl sitting in the next row of desks. He did his best not to stare too much, but his eyes kept flicking in her direction. Stiles had never experienced anything like this. Allison was like a beacon (and, yes, he had an internal chuckle at the unintentional pun) that kept drawing his focus.
Finally, the class ended and Stiles stood quickly, looking towards Allison and hoping to get a chance to speak to her. Before he could, though, Scott had stepped into his path.
“Stiles!” he said, gripping his shoulder and staring at Allison as she tossed a small smile in their direction before heading out the door. “Dude! Look at her…”
Stiles shrugged Scott’s hand off his shoulder. “Yeah, she’s something else. Quit drooling, please. I need to get to class,” he said, trying to edge around his friend.
Scott shook his head and looked back at Stiles. “What’s wrong with you? You didn’t respond to any of my texts last night and now you’re ignoring me?”
The indignant tone to Scott’s voice had Stiles’ ire rising. “What’s wrong with me?” he asked, incredulous. “You left me alone in the woods with a murdered body, Scott! That’s what’s wrong with me. Do you know how creepy that was? What the hell, man. My phone died while I was waiting for my dad to show up and it was freezing and, oh yeah, someone had just been *murdered* in the woods,” he ranted. He raised his eyebrows and pointed at Scott. “You left me alone in the woods. With a dead body. Because of Lacrosse.”
Scott had the decency to look sheepish. “Yeah, but, dude….come on, I really need this.” He shook his head and flapped a hand like he was waving an irritating insect away. “And, anyway, I think karma has already been satisfied.”
“What?” Stiles asked, pushing around Scott to start heading towards his next class. He was really not impressed with Scott’s idea of an apology. Seriously?
Scott bounced a bit behind him as he followed along. “Yeah! I was walking back to the road and there was this weird stampede of deer, dude. Then there was this….I dunno, it was too dark to see much, but I’m pretty sure it was a wolf.”
Stiles stopped in his tracks and looked at Scott. “I heard a howl last night,” he said.
“Yeah! That was it. It bit me and took.” Scott lowered his voice and stepped closer. “Dude, I think it might have been a werewolf.”
“No way,” Stiles replied. “First, it’d have to be an Alpha to do anything other than injure you and make you bleed. Second, the only Alpha in this area is Peter Hale. I saw him drive up last night when I was giving my statement.” He shook his head. “Are you still bleeding? You don’t look like you’re rejecting anything if it was a werewolf.”
Scott dropped a hand over his side and looked around the hallway. “Yeah, it was still bleeding a bit this morning when I cleaned it. But I heard Allison talking on the phone with her mom right before she came into the class. That’s why I gave her the pen! She said she didn’t have one.”
Stiles sighed and closed his eyes. He knew that werewolves were relatively rare in human society and after the Hale house incident, the Beacon Hills pack had scattered. There were currently no Hales enrolled at Beacon Hills. But if werewolves were rare, Alphas were practically non-existent compared to the entirety of the human population. “That’s kinda creepy, dude.”
“What!? No, it isn’t!” Scott exclaimed, walking faster. The next bell was going to ring.
“Did you tell your mom that you got bit?” Stiles asked, trailing after his friend. “If it was an Alpha, and it wasn’t Peter Hale, then there’s another Alpha in Beacon Hills. And strange Alphas running around biting people without consent, dude? That’s not good.”
Scott shook his head and stopped outside his classroom door. “No, she wasn’t home when I left. And besides, Lacrosse tryouts are today. I didn’t want to risk talking to her and get in trouble for last night and not get to try out. She can ground me *after* tryouts.”
Seriously, Stiles was starting to worry that his eyeballs were going to roll out of his head. “Scott….”
“I know! I’m going to talk to her tonight,” Scott promised. “After tryouts.” He tossed a goofy, crooked-jawed grin at Stiles then ducked into the classroom just as the bell rang.
Stiles dragged a hand across his face and plodded towards his next class, which was still down the hall. Of course, *Scott* wouldn’t get in trouble for being late.
Mr. Erickson stood at the open door to his classroom watching Stiles walk closer. “Mr. Stilinski, welcome back! So good of you to join us,” he said, holding up a little pink slip of paper. “I’m sure you’ll enjoy detention this afternoon.”
Stiles gave the teacher a cross between a grimace and a smile as he nodded and took the paper. What the fuck, Scott?