The lockers echoed with a metallic crash as Stiles practically slammed into it, right next to Allison. She glared at him, slammed her own locker louder than he'd run into the one next to her, then spun on her heel and stalked away.
"Whoa! Hey, Allison, come on!" Stiles said. He pushed away from the locker and jogged after her. She stepped up her pace, but he kept up as tirelessly as he did everything else. When it became apparent that she had no intention of either stopping or looking at him, he swung around in front of her. She had to stop or crash into him, and he was pretty much fine with either outcome.
"Stiles, go away. I know what you're going to say, and Scott and I are over, and you're not-"
"Allison. Allison. I'm insulted, okay? Just because you have werewolf on the brain all the time doesn't mean I do," he replied, loftily. "I just...wanted to talk to you. I mean, we're friends, too, right? Okay, so I don't really know you that well because basically every chance I ever had to talk to you, you were macking on my best friend, or you were with Lydia so I kind of ignored you, which isn't really fair but it doesn't mean I don't-"
She rolled her eyes and moved to go around him. He was shockingly ready for it, though, and just moved with her.
"Come on. Aren't we?"
"Aren't we what, Stiles?"
She sighed, and hugged her books tighter to her chest. It was only then that Stiles really saw her face, saw the bags under her eyes. He dropped part of the act, and genuine concern crossed his face. "Hey. Are you okay?"
"No," she told him, flatly. "No, I'm not okay. How can you even ask me that?"
He took a step back and held up his hands defensively. "Right. Right! That was a stupid question. But okay, would you just answer me?"
"I just want to hang out with you! Jeez!"
She frowned at him for a long moment, studying his face. When she was more or less con.txted he was .txtere, she relented. "Okay. You want to hang out? You can come to the woods with me after dinner. I need to practice anyway. 7pm."
He was actually speechless at that; he hadn't expected her to go for it. He recovered, though, and grinned. Then he realized he probably looked dumb and tried to rein in his facial expression. Mostly he just ended up looking confused. "Yeah! Hey. Yeah. Okay. Great!"
He took a couple steps backward as he talk, feeling smooth until he bumped into someone. He jumped, and spun to meet them. It was some older guy, probably someone he should have recognized from the Lacrosse team, but the name escaped him. Before he could stammer an apology, the boy shoved him away again. He managed to keep his balance, and turned back to Allison.
"So. Seven! I'll see you at seven."
She shook her head at him as he turned to actually walk away like a semi-normal person.
Stiles parked his Jeep by the edge of the road at 6:55pm and waited. He hadn't actually planned for this. His idea of hanging out didn't really involve werewolf-infested woods, but, he was flexible. At least Allison could defend herself and wouldn't turn into a werewolf if she got mad. Not that he intended to make her pissed at him, but you just never knew. She'd been kind of on edge lately. For good reason, sure, but...it made her kind of unpredictable and hard to handle.
She showed up just past seven and knocked on the window of the Jeep loud enough to make Stiles jump. He pushed the door open and half-fell out. "God, scare a guy to death!"
She wasn't amused, and just looked at him with the same flat, haunted stare she'd had at school.
"Come on," she said. Without waiting for an answer, she turned and walked into the woods. He watched her for a second, mouth hanging open like he was either going to say something or try to catch a fly with it, then finally followed after.
"So...where are we going? This isn't really normal hanging out, you know. I was thinking Xbox, maybe grilled cheese sandwiches, not spooky horror movie simulation in the woods." She glanced at him and he stammered for a second, "I...well, I mean, whatever you want to do, if this is your idea of fun, I can adjust, but-"
"I told you I need to practice."
Stiles's eyes slid over the weapon she was carrying. "Practice...with a target that's not me, right?"
She stopped, and spun to face him. "Stiles, grow up," she said, then abruptly turned and kept walking.
He stumbled after her, filling the silence with chatter until she stopped walking.
"Wait here," she said, interrupting his stream of consciousness nonsense. He stopped talking, mostly out of surprise that she'd said anything, and watched her pull a target out of her backpack. She went to work nailing it to a tree, the sound of the hammer echoing eerily through the woods. Stiles watched her, nervously. She came back and grabbed his arm, pulling him backwards with her until she was far enough away.
He watched, keeping quiet somehow, while she fired arrow after arrow into the target. After awhile, he couldn't take it anymore, and he reached out and grabbed her arm, sending her shot wild.
"Stiles, what the hell are you doing?!" she demanded, whirling to face him. Her gaze wasn't blank, anymore. Now, it was full of anger, barely restrained and now misdirected at him.
"Allison, Jesus, you should...calm down," he said. He'd never seen her like this, and it worried him. Is this what being without Scott was doing? Or was it the thing with her mom? With her grandfather? Some combination? "I know you don't want to hear it, but I think Scott would be really worried. I'm really worried."
She made a frustrated noise and jerked her arm away from him. "I told you, Stiles, Scott and I are through."
"Yeah, I know you told me that but I don't really know how to listen. Anyway, you're out here wasting ammo and he's back home moping around like a hurt puppy, and I'm just...I don't know! I can't hang out with him, I apparently can't hang out with you because this is definitely not my idea of fun, and you-"
He was still talking when her lips pressed against his. He managed a few muffled words against her before his brain managed to stop his mouth from running. His arms slid around her and he kissed her back, tasting her anguish, her desperation. Then, his brain caught up the rest of the way. He pulled his mouth away from her, eyes gone wide.
"Stiles, shut up," she whispered.
"Okay, so you know I'm not Scott, right, I mean, this isn't-"
She put her free hand on his lips. "I know who you are, Stiles," she said, softly, and kissed him again. As soon as he began to let himself kiss her back for real - cursing himself the whole time because man, Scott was going to kill him - she pulled away.
"I'm sorry, Stiles, I..."
"Hey, no, it's okay," he said, refusing to let her go. "I know. I mean, this is all pretty fucked up, right, so it's just..."
She buried her face against him and they stood there like that a long time, until the sky grew dark around them and they had to stumble back to the Jeep in the dark, holding each other's hands tightly for more reasons than to avoid getting lost.
"Are those the same shorts you were wearing when I was here two days ago?" Stiles asked, tactlessly, when Scott came to the door.
Scott rolled his eyes and turned away, trudging back to the couch in the living room. He left the door open, figuring his friend would follow. He was right, of course; Stiles sighed, made sure the door shut behind him, and followed after, loyally as ever.
Mrs. McCall was at work, of course, so they were alone. Stiles thought about asking why Scott wasn't at work, but he was pretty sure he could guess why.
He stood, a bit awkwardly, at the end of the couch. Scott had flopped down in the middle of it and gone back to the TV.
"Is that…are you watching The Price is Right?" Stiles asked in disbelief. "Come on, Scott, you can't be that depressed, can you?" His open-mouthed stare would have been comical if the situation had been different. As it was, Scott didn't laugh.
Instead, Scott looked up at his friend, pointedly, and Stiles shut his mouth again. For a few seconds.
"Okay, look," he said, scooting over and picking up the remote. "I know you miss Allison, okay, and I know she misses you too-" he turned off the TV without looking at it- "…so you are going to get up off this couch, change your damned shorts, and go see her right now."
"Are you out of your mind, Stiles? What do you think I'm going to do, just wash up and go over to her house? Yeah, her dad would be thrilled to see me."
"I told her I'd wait. And I will. We're meant to be together, Stiles. She's just. She has to take time, and I have to respect that."
There was a silence that neither of them really found comfortable.
Stiles sat down and.txthed a little closer. "So."
Stiles turned so he was sitting with one leg up on the couch, actually facing Scott. He'd had enough of this moping puppy thing. He wanted his friend back, and he wanted things to go back to normal. Even if that meant he never saw Scott because he was off with Allison, he could dig that. But this was really getting to be too much.
"Look, are you going to-"
Before he could finish his sentence, he was silenced by Scott's mouth on his. He hadn't even seen him move, because of his too-fast reflexes. But he felt him there, harsher and hotter than Allison.
It went much the same way. He pulled away after a second, confused.
"You know I'm a guy, right?"
"Don't be an idiot, Stiles. I've seen you naked, remember."
"Oh, okay, great, so now you're going to be weird and make me insecure? Mixed messages, Scott!"
"Shut up and kiss me," Scott said, practically growling the words. Whether it occurred to him that Stiles might not want to kiss him or not was anyone's guess.
Stiles opened his mouth to argue, but it didn't really do any good. Scott was back against him almost immediately, all but attacking him with his mouth, with his hands.
When the kiss broke, Stiles felt like he had to catch his breath.
"Scott, I'm not Allison. I'm not a replacement for Allison."
Scott looked annoyed at that.
"I know who you are, Stiles," he said, then turned away, arms crossed over his chest, to glare at the blank television.
Stiles shook his head and stood up.
"Okay, no, that's just too weird."
Confusion passed over Scott's face. "What?"
"That's the same thing Allison said when she kissed me."
He was out the door before even Scott could get up off the couch and catch him for interrogation.
Stiles hadn't spoken to Scott or Allison the entire weekend. It wasn't that he didn't want to. It was more than he was busy trying to figure it out. Really, despite what they said, he knew that they really belonged together. That was just the way it was! This way was...weird. Okay, so he didn't really mind it, and in fact some of it was...more than okay! But he couldn't stand it, and they were both mopey. And it wasn't like he had anyone else he could really ask for help on this matter. Who was there? Derek? Yeah, like he could do anything with emotional topics. And his pack of dysfunctional school kids sure wasn't going to help, either. That only left Jackson, which, no. Or maybe Danny, but that seemed like a lost cause. What would Danny know about getting lovey dovey heterosexuals back together?
Wait, did Scott still count as...
No. That was a train of thought Stiles wasn't even ready to board.
So who else could he ask? His dad? No way. Lydia? Definitely not! The only love talk he ever wanted to have with Lydia Martin involved only her involvement with him. .txte Jackson wasn't dead, or a kanima anymore, that wasn't a conversation that was going to happen today. Anyway, his feelings were a little complicated at the moment.
So, there was only himself. Which meant he had to use the whole weekend to figure out how to get Scott and Allison to talk to each other again, without them realizing it was a set up, and without getting either of them pissed at him. Actually, Scott probably wouldn't be that mad, and he could handle Scott at his very worst. It was Allison he was more afraid of. The look on her face when she fired arrow after arrow into that target! That was some fury he sure didn't need turned on him.
So he'd planned it, devised it, schemed it, and...here he was.
He'd sent them both texts, at different times of day. Allison's had been earlier, telling her he wanted to help her train again. It was the flimsiest damn reason, and he knew it would be, but he'd already had the text message rebuttal conversation and con.txted her to come. Or, at least, he hoped he had, because otherwise this was going to be hella awkward. More than without her, even! But she'd said she'd come, same time as before.
Scott's had been more seemingly spur of the moment. He had no actual reason to get Scott to meet him in the woods. Everything he'd initially thought of to catch his best friend's attention had been shaky, at best. And with Scott playing the moping game, sitting at home with the TV on GSN or whatever, in his stupid underwear, there was no way anything less-than-urgent would get his attention. So the answer, as far as Stiles was concerned, was to make it urgent. So he'd sent the message about five minutes ahead of time, telling Scott he was stuck in one of the hunter's traps in the woods, and didn't want the Argents to come and find him.
Okay, it was a total bs scenario and he was almost definitely too smart for that to be true, but he was counting on Scott's addled brain state - and.txtessant need to be a hero - to come to the proverbial rescue. It worked well enough, .txte thirty seconds later he got a return text that said only "omw." He'd take his victories where he could.
Allison was already waiting when he climbed out of his Jeep.
"You're late," she told him.
"What? No way, I've still got like three minutes!" he exclaimed, caught slightly off guard. He was pretty sure he preferred Allison who drooled all over Scott to Allison who looked at him with a flat expression and spoke in monotone. Or Allison who kissed him, she was pretty cool too.
"Not by my watch," she replied, and turned to stalk off into the woods. Well, at least that hadn't changed .txte the last time. Stiles wasn't sure if that was good or bad. But at least it wasn't a sudden change, so, he could work with it. Hopefully Scott wouldn't stumble all over himself and mess it up. Hopefully she'd give Scott a chance. Hopefully they weren't both about to get riddled by arrows. Stiles had planned out what he was going to say, though he knew from experience that was all going to fly right out the window when it came down to it. Still, he thought about it again in his head as they walked.
"You're uncharacteristically quiet," Allison remarked after a couple minutes.
"Huh? Oh, yeah, I'm just...tired," Stiles offered.
"You? Tired?" she asked, skeptically. He realized it was a really lame thing to say, but what could he do?
"Hey, I get tired too! Sometimes! That...and I just have a lot on my mind, you know?"
She still looked skeptical, but finally nodded, once. "That, I do know."
He wasn't sure what to say to that, so he went quiet again. They weren't far from where they'd gone, anyway, so maybe she'd just accept his silence. She did, though the look on her face wasn't exactly a happy one. But...she hadn't been really happy for awhile, so he had to accept that. He'd come prepared for her moodiness.
What he hadn't come prepared for...was Scott, waiting for them.
"Whoa, uh, Scott, you-"
"Trapped in a hunter's trap, Stiles?" he asked, crossing his arms.
"Well, you know, it was something relevant to...Allison?"
She stood on his other side, arms also crossed. It dawned on him that she actually wasn't carrying her weapons. How could he have not noticed that!? He'd been so in his head, so hell bent on making them talk, and this was...so not according to his plan.
"I texted Scott after you texted me," she said, still not sounding amused, but at least sounding less monotone.
Stiles opened and closed his mouth a couple times at her, then turned back to Scott. "I totally could have been-"
"Scheming to get me to talk to Allison? Yeah, that was pretty see-through actually. Anyway, I called her after you left on Friday."
Stiles sighed and shook his head. "Shit," he said, not realizing it was out loud.
"Stiles," Allison said, coming up and putting a hand on his shoulder (and nearly causing him to jump out of his skin). "It's okay."
"It is?" he asked, confusion plain on his face.
"Yeah. We talked," Scott said, taking a step closer.
"Oh. OH. Well, that's great! So...this intervention, you...didn't need it? I mean, you seriously just let me go to all that trouble even though you're okay now? Jesus, do you know how hard I thought about this?" He jerked away from Allison and took a step towards Scott instead. It was a lot safer to be confrontational with Scott, werewolf or not.
"We're not okay," Allison said, finally coming around and standing next to Scott. They glanced at each other, a little more warily than Stiles would have liked.
"No," Scott said. "That was part of what we talked about."
"Oh come on, then why-"
Allison reached out and put a hand on Stiles's mouth. It worked to silence him, more because he was so shocked she'd done it than any other reason. He shut his mouth and stared at her.
"Not without you," she said, dropping her hand again. She didn't move entirely away, though. Instead, he let her hand fall to Stiles's hand, and entwined her fingers there.
"What?" he asked, still dumbfounded by the whole thing.
Scott reached out and did the same thing Allison had - entwining his finger's with his friends, like it was all just normal this way. Together, they pulled him the few steps closer that they needed, and both wrapped arms around him - Scott's arm went around his shoulders, and Allison's around his waist.
"Now we're okay," Scott said, leaning his head against Allison's and smiling softly. "Like this, you know?"
Finally, Allison smiled, too. It wasn't her normal smile; there was too much in her that was still broken, still healing. But maybe they were on to something. Maybe they'd come to the conclusion Stiles wouldn't have dared to see. Maybe all three of them would heal - together. It was in Scott's nature, now, to be part of a pack, right? And while Stiles and Allison sure as hell weren't looking to join in the wolf power thing, Derek had been right. They were a pack. A family.
Stiles found himself smiling, too. "Yeah. Yeah, I think so. You're right."
They stood like that for a long time, but unlike when Stiles had come here with Allison, it felt...complete. The bitter was finally gone from the sweet, at least for the time being.
He could live with this.