Title: Dice in the Mirror
Series: The Prepared Mind #1
Fandom: Teen Wolf
Pairing: pre Stiles/Derek
Word Count: 1,771
Summary: The showdown with Gerard Argent was a turning point for Stiles.
Authors Note: This is the first in a series of linked one-shots. Right now I have four planned. Let’s see what I end up with.
The showdown with Gerard Argent was a turning point for Stiles.
Scott had been Stiles’ best friend for years. They’d done everything together, shared their hopes and dreams, made plans for the future.
When Scott had become a werewolf, it was unthinkable that Stiles would be anywhere but by his side, helping him out. Things had changed, of course. They had to. But Stiles had faith that together, they could pull through.
He’d put Gerard’s offhand remarks about how Stiles’ injuries would be motivation for Scott not to betray him down to an attempt to sow dissension between them, had scorned Gerard for resorting to such an obvious, futile ploy.
At the warehouse he rushed to the rescue, putting his beloved jeep—which had belonged to his mother—on the line, only to discover that far from being part of Scott’s trusted inner circle, Stiles was no better than a disposable flunky.
Lydia and Jackson were having a whole ‘Beauty and the Beast’ reunion thing, Scott and Chris Argent were focused on comforting Allison—who was crying, but who otherwise didn’t look to be in bad shape.
Derek and Isaac were displaying some worrying body language. Stiles might not be an expert, but he’d spent a lot of time hanging out at the station, and he’d seen body language like that before.
Peter Hale—a surprisingly sane looking Peter Hale—gave him the rundown of the events prior to his arrival.
And Stiles…was done.
Done with being used as some kind of message to someone who hadn’t looked twice at him since he’d arrived. Done with turning a blind eye to bad behaviour because of an ‘ends justifies the means’ mentality that had grown progressively worse.
Scott didn’t need him, as he had just demonstrated.
Lydia didn’t need him, she just liked the ego boost that his constant devotion supplied.
Derek had repeatedly told him to get lost, to stay out of it, that it wasn’t his fight.
No one needed him. No one even really wanted him, so what the hell was he even doing here?
Derek was looking at him, brow creased in a scowl. Stiles scowled back. So what if Derek had a shitty day? Stiles’ day had been pretty shitty too, and on top of everything else, he now needed to find a way to explain the fresh damage on his jeep to his dad. He didn’t need to deal with Derek’s angst as well.
Stiles turned on his heel and got back into the driver’s seat.
Fuck this shit.
He went home.
Stiles had been hoping to have some time to work out what he was going to say, but that plan died a quiet death when he saw his dad at the door, watching him approach. Stiles pulled into the driveway beside the cruiser and cut the engine.
The world was starting to get that sharp, slightly off focus look it got when Stiles was building up to an anxiety attack.
There was no point in putting it off, so he got out and walked over.
Noah’s expression was blank. “What the hell, Stiles? You’ve been gone less than half an hour!”
Stiles opened his mouth, hoping something would come to him. Nothing did.
Noah shook his head, turning away. The disappointment was almost too much for Stiles to bear.
“I thought Scott needed my help,” Stiles said. His voice sounded funny. It was like he was hearing it from outside his body. The whole scene seemed unreal; like Stiles was watching it rather than living it. “Gerard was going to kill him, was going to…but Scott already had a plan. He didn’t need me, after all.” Not wanting to look at his dad’s face anymore, Stiles pushed past him, planning to go upstairs and lie down.
Noah stopped him with a hand to his shoulder. “What? Kill Scott? Who was going to kill Scott? Is he okay?”
Stiles laughed bitterly. “Don’t worry, Scott is fine. Turns out, Gerard wasn’t interested in beating him up. Guess he thought his ‘message’ would be enough. Which is funny, if you think about it.”
Noah was starting to look worried. “Gerard? Is he one of the kids on the other team?”
Stiles laughed again. Even to his own ears, it was starting to sound a little hysterical. “Gerard Argent, the school principal. Being beaten up by a geriatric isn’t nearly as impressive as being thrashed by a whole team, is it? Who would believe me? Even if you did, the Argents sell guns. Their whole house is an armoury, and the Hale fire is proof that Argents don’t care about collateral damage. They’d kill you and not miss a wink of sleep over it.”
Noah steered him into the lounge and onto the couch, pulling him into a hug. “Is this what you’ve been hiding? Gerard Argent…has he been threatening you? Is that why you didn’t want to tell me?”
“Gerard doesn’t bother with threats,” Stiles informed him. “Not for someone as inconsequential as me. I’m only good for reminding Scott what’s at stake. No, Chris Argent was the one who threatened me. I should probably count myself lucky that it wasn’t Allison. I have it on good authority that she goes straight for sharp and pointy—arrows for Erica and Boyd, daggers for Isaac. Chris just shoved me around a bit. Victoria never really bothered with me, thankfully. I don’t know if I would have survived her attention.” Now the floodgates had opened, Stiles couldn’t seem to stop talking.
Noah’s grip tightened. “Tell me everything. Start at the beginning.”
Stiles did. Starting from that night when he and Scott had gone looking for a dead body in the Preserve. He talked about how amazing it seemed at first, about the challenge of trying to help Scott deal with his new senses. About how quickly it had turned dangerous, about Derek, the Alpha, Deaton, about Kate Argent and Peter Hale. The actual events of the night of the dance, the horrific discovery that Kate Argent had been torturing Derek for a week. The words just tumbled out.
A couple of times, Noah tried to interject, but Stiles just talked over him. He was worried that if he stopped, he might not start again. He spoke of Gerard Argent coming to town, Derek building his pack, the revelation of the Kanima. The events of the pool. How Victoria had tried to kill Scott. It went on and on. He finished up with the events of the night, relating what Peter had told him about how Scott’s secret plan had played out. The stabbing, the forced bite, the revelation of the switched meds.
How Derek and Isaac had refused to meet anyone’s eyes and how Scott only had eyes for Allison.
Noah sighed gustily. “No wonder Derek Hale comes across as surly. What a god-awful mess.”
“You believe me?” Stiles’ voice wobbled slightly. “You don’t think I’m crazy?”
“I’ve been around this town long enough to know that there are things I don’t know,” Noah replied ruefully. “In retrospect, there are a lot of things that make sense if your story is true. Things from before you were born, things you don’t know about.” There was a moment of silence. “I wish you’d told me, kiddo. I could have helped.”
“You could have been killed,” Stiles responded tartly. “I wasn’t going to let anything happen to you, not if I could help it.”
“You could have been killed,” Noah pointed out. “How do you think I would have coped, Stiles? I had enough trouble dealing with your mother’s death. Your death would have been the end of me anyway.”
Stiles sniffed, wishing he had a handkerchief. He didn’t really have an answer for that one. Now that he’d spilt his guts, he felt a lot better. Like a great weight had been lifted from him that he didn’t even know he was carrying.
“What the hell are we going to do now?” Noah asked. “I’m not happy with how things have been. I’m really not happy with how banged up you are.”
“Me neither,” Stiles agreed. “But what was happening to Erica and Boyd was worse. Fucking Argents.”
Noah didn’t bother reprimanding him for his language. “How would you feel about going to stay with your mom’s cousin, in Boston?”
Stile blinked, then pulled out of the hug to look at his dad’s face. “You mean Danuta and Bisa? I haven’t seen them in years. Not since mom died.”
Noah nodded. “It can’t hurt to ask, and while I’d miss having you around, I’d be glad to know that you weren’t caught up in the middle of this…werewolf thing.”
“Would they even want me?”
“Danuta is still listed in my will as custodial guardian in the event of my death,” Noah informed him. “She mentions you coming to stay every year when they send their Christmas card. Why don’t I give her a call and ask?”
“I don’t want to leave you here,” Stiles objected.
Noah raised his eyebrows. “Last I checked, I was still the father in this relationship. You’ve got another year of my tyrannical rule, kiddo.” He studied Stiles’ face. “I think we can agree that, despite the inherent dangers of my job, you’re the one that’s spent the last few months in life-threatening danger.” He sighed. “Nothing can be decided until I talk to Danuta, but if she agrees…”
Stiles stuck his lower lip out in an exaggerated pout. He wanted to argue, but his dad had a point. In all probability, it was Stiles’ involvement with the supernatural that would be putting his dad in danger. With him gone—and with Gerard Argent hopefully taken care of—then maybe things would settle down. Still, the supernatural wasn’t the only reason he was loath to leave Noah to his own devices.
“I know that look,” Noah commented. “You’ve come up with something I’m not going to like, haven’t you?”
Stiles pursed his lips. “Can you promise me that you’ll follow my dietary recommendations if I’m not here to enforce them? Cause if not, then you’ll have to drag me out of here kicking and screaming.”
Noah groaned. “Why can’t you let me have some joy in my life? I’m not going to keel over if I have an occasional pizza!”
Stiles stared him down.
Noah rolled his eyes. “Okay, fine. So long as you agree to stay with Danuta at least through the next school year.”
Stiles nodded, then extended his pinky. “Deal.”
He hoped like hell it was the right choice.