Two of my fave boyss
TWBB fic: A Wolf's burden 3/6 (platonic sciles, gen) - Me myself and I
It's all about me
liliaeth
liliaeth
TWBB fic: A Wolf's burden 3/6 (platonic sciles, gen)
Fic: A Wolf's Burden
Pairings:none
Characters:Scott McCall, Stiles Stilinski, a bunch of oc's, and some mentions of  Derek Hale, Chris Argent, and pretty much most of the tw cast
Rating:PG13
Word Count:25.527
Disclaimer: I do not own any of these characters.
Warnings:Character suffering from PTSD, depression,and alienation from normal life
Summary: After the War with Monroe came to a stand still, Scott tries to go back to school and lead a normal life. Fate unfortunately doesn't make things that easy, as the secret of the supernatural is revealed worldwide
Series: part one of 'An alpha never walks alone'


Masterpost


3.





The war council consisted of a group of them. Chris and Derek were talking tactics. Chris considered bringing the rest of the Argents. Derek disagreed. It didn’t matter how often Chris had proved himself, to Derek, the rest of the Argent network would forever be the enemy. And after Kate, who could blame him?

Isaac was checking out his gun in the corner. He snorted at his former alpha’s words. Isaac had joined the Argent family years ago, after Chris had taken him with him to France. The Beta still wouldn’t tell Scott what had happened to him after he left. Scott hadn’t dared ask him about his eyes, desperate to ignore the blue gaze looking back at him.

They weren’t kids anymore.

“This doesn’t just affect werewolves, Derek. If she succeeds in her plan, who knows what could happen to the rest of the world. There’s a reason Hunters have never even considered trying something like this.”

Derek wasn’t listening.

Stiles was loudly snacking on a bag of chips. “So how long till you tell them to stuff their macho shit?” The words came out mumbled and barely understandable, but by now Scott knew how to translate.

Scott stared at Stiles who didn’t care one bit as he grabbed another handful of spicey rings to stuff his mouth with.

“Oh come on, you know you want to.”

“They’re not wrong, either of them.” Scott shivered, unsure just what it was that made him feel like someone was walking on his grave.

“Doesn’t mean they aren’t both acting like idiots about it.”

“So what should we do?”

“Bring in the Argents, bring in the Callaveras, hell bring in every wolf pack on any continent and stop whatever crap Monroe is pulling.”

Scott stared down.

“Scott, we’ve only got one shot at this. If she succeeds…”




“What the hell were you thinking?!!!”

He wished he had a better answer to that question. But Stiles knew him well enough by now to know that there’s no way he could have stood back and done nothing.

“Scott, this is not the time to come out of the wolf closet. This is the time to stay low, out of sight, and keep people from figuring out what you are, so they don’t end up using you as a fur rug.”

Scott winced, but he knew Stiles was right, it’s just… it had never been in his nature to stand back and do nothing when someone was suffering.

The cops didn’t lock him up. They kept him in cuffs, but his hands were in front of him. As far as holding back an Alpha, they might as well have left him uncuffed. The metal chafed, but not yet as bad as it would once he’d have to break them apart. And then he’d heal, and the ache would join the rest of all those other phantom aches that never quite let him be.

He could probably give them some hints on how to hold supernatural criminals, but he wasn’t sure if he trusted them enough yet to do so. He remembered what had been done to the cells in the Beacon Hills police station, to make them werewolf proof, lining the walls with mountain ash, and securing the bars so that even a werewolf couldn’t break through them.

The door here was reinforced, but it wouldn’t take much of his strength to break through it if he had to. He just didn’t see a need to bother.

It wasn’t like they had anything to hold him on in the first place. They’d asked him to stay for questioning, and then left him alone in one of their interrogation rooms for the past hour or so with little more than a bottle of water. Too busy making calls with the CDC, the National guards, and any family members of the people they’d brought in that they could hold responsible for them.

Scott could hear the mish mash of conversations all over the building. From the thirty five year old lunch lady and mother of one, working at his own campus, Maria Lopez, who kept saying that she needed to get to work, or the guy in the truckers hat, Dwight Shailer who kept going on and on about how they had no right to keep him, to the young boy, Clive, and the boy’s mother who kept demanding to see Scott. She seemed to expect him to have all the answers that the police wasn’t able to give her. She wasn’t wrong.

The cops hadn’t bothered to take his phone. He figured they were too scared of him. None of them wanted to get close enough, whether it was to frisk him, or to move him.


“So what do Chris’ contacts think we’re doing here, anyway?” Stiles was staring at some of Chris’ guns, lifting one up and carefully assembling it. It felt odd seeing his best friend being so good at handling something so lethal.

“They think I’m Chris’ spoiled step-son who’s getting to know the business, in the hope I’ll take it over instead of going to vet school.”

“Seriously?”

“They know Allison was supposed to take over the family business. But now that Allison’s gone…”

“They think he’s pinning his hopes on you instead?”

Scott shrugged. He still cringed whenever they hung out around other arm dealers and people working for the military. Men and women who saw weapons like guns and anything in Chris’ armory as an everyday tool.

But whenever he saw a gun, he couldn’t help think of when those guns had been aimed at him. The cold determination in the hunters’ eyes, feeling the hard edges of cement flinching away from the wall as he barely avoided a hit from an assassin. Seeing the dark edges of the barrel of the gun, smelling the gunpowder inside when Chris had aimed a gun in his face. When the man hadn’t even meant to kill him. To feel the hot metal of wolfsbane bullets hitting his flesh, shivering as the heat of it coursed through his veins.

He could handle those guns in Chris’ hands. Anyone else’s though…




Stiles had sent him a few of the videos someone had taken at UC Davis. There were comments from people from college, a few he knew and a lot he didn’t. Many of those last ones were now talking as if they’d always been wary of him.

“I always knew he was some kind of monster, he’s just too calm and happy all the time, it’s creepy. I just didn’t think he was a Monster kind of monster.” One of them said. Scott remembered her name from his intro to psych class, but not much more than that.

Others defended him, called him a hero for doing what he did. But it was hard to focus on those when all he could see was an endless repletion of ‘Monster’, ‘freak’ and ‘weirdo’.

Some were asking if he might be some kind of mutant, only a few of the others correctly guessed he had to be a werewolf.

One of the bystanders had recorded his roar, and tested its sound level. It had been louder than he’d intended it to be. He hadn’t fully heard his own voice that night on the Nemeton in Zurich. But if his roar had sounded anything like this when he came back to life on the burned remnants of the Nemeton, then he worried for Stiles’ ears.

People were anxious, desperate for answers, they wanted to know what was going on. They wanted someone to tell them what to do, how to react. Ever since the full moon had faded the night before, more and more people had gone feral with glowing eyes. As if the power of the moon had set things off. The state had put a curfew in place, asking for people to stay inside whenever possible until they themselves had some answers to give.

The CDC thought it was some kind of virus. Scott wondered if they’d ever find a cure. It would shock him if they did.

Google was full of reports on how more and more wolves had to be taken in by their local police forces, some forced, others of their own free will. All of them terrified, of themselves, of what they might do, of how people would react to them now that they were … different.

Far too many had been killed.

Others… others had died, bleeding black blood from ears, mouth and nose, rejecting the change.

Then he heard a scream, a Banshee blanking out the world to hear the sounds only she could hear.

Whomever it was, she wasn’t in his regular hearing range, but he could only imagine how scared she’d have to be.

He sat up, ready to run towards it, it spooked the cop sitting across of him, keeping an eye on him, along with the ones staring at him from behind the double edged mirror.

“I’m fine,” he whispered to himself. Just fine.

The Banshee screamed again, the other wolves started to respond. He could hear their heartbeats rising. “It’s ok, the humans can’t hear it. I’ll explain later.” He whispered, knowing that the wolves were still focused on him, they’d hear what he said.

The cop in front of him stared at him.

“Explain what?”

Scott closed his eyes, and tried to relax himself. All the emotions surrounding him were starting to effect his own responses, making it harder to stay calm.

The cop grumbled something about ‘humans’, but Scott tried to ignore him, tried to ignore the noise around him. Werewolf hearing wasn’t always the gift it was made out to be.



Liam hadn’t even been able to meet his eyes, unwilling to let Scott get more than a few feet from him. The boy had flown over from Florida, coming back home to Beacon Hills the second he felt Scott’s roar as Scott rose back to life. Derek had halfheartedly mocked the kid over his concern, but it hadn’t stopped him from paying for Liam’s flight back. Liam hadn’t left Scott’s side for days after that, constantly touching him, rubbing his shoulder, needing to feel his touch.

“I’m not ready to be alpha yet, Scott.”



Scott had left Alec with the pack in Beacon Hills. Alec and the other refugees that he’d picked up along the way. Little Lizzie who still wouldn’t talk since she’d seen her momma cut in two in front of her. Old Man Malcolm, who’d seen his grandchildren die before their time. And so many others who now called Beacon Hills their home. Some had become pack, others hadn’t. But at least they were safe. Even when he wasn’t there.

He was supposed to be their Alpha. It was Derek of all people who’d told him that he needed to find himself again. Go back to school, live his own life, be a kid again. Derek had found him sitting in his room, staring at the wall, about a week after he’d come home from Zurich. He’d been nineteen, and he’d died three times already. He didn’t think he could survive a fourth one.

Scott had tried to be strong for the older wolf, but Derek saw right through him.

“You can’t keep doing this, Scott. I saw my sister kill herself like this. She was gone, even before Peter got to her. I can’t let you do the same. I know you’re the Alpha, but have you even thought about living for yourself?”

The problem was that it had always been hard to say no to Derek. Derek always seemed to know what he was talking about, even when he was wrong. Especially when he was wrong

Derek said he’d be a better Alpha if he knew how to be Scott McCall first. Scott had no idea what Derek expected of him. The Scott that Derek expected him to find; had died under an Alpha’s bite four years ago.




The door of the interrogation room opened, and a man in a black suit came in. He looked like Will Smith from that movie with Tommy Lee Jones.

If Stiles had been with him, he’d probably have found it funny. The guy looked so damn serious, and Scott wanted to take him seriously, he did. This was a serious matter, but damn if this wasn’t just one step over the edge of too much on top of everything else. He wondered how the guy would react if he just started laughing hysterically.

It probably wasn’t a good idea either way.

The guy fixed his cuffs and stared at Scott as if he was going to make a quip any second now. So when he opened his mouth, the seriousness in his prim and proper tone was almost a cold shower tearing down the snigger that was threatening to escape.

“Mister McCall. Or should I say Alpha McCall? I never bothered to learn proper manners where your kind is concerned.” The French accent in the hunter’s words made it clear that this wasn’t one of the American Argents, and it was enough to make Scott sit up more firmly. To fall back into a role that had gotten as comfortable as an old pair of jeans that was starting to show its tears.

Once again, people saw the image of the alpha leading a war, the one that people wanted and expected to see, instead of the clueless kid that he knew himself to be on the inside.

Scott wondered what to do or say. The guy looked all government suit cliché, till Scott noticed a ring on the man’s hand. It carried the Argent emblem, almost exactly the same that had been on the pendant Kate had given Allison.

“Just Scott’s fine.”

Scott wondered what the Argents were up to, and what they wanted now. He wasn’t even sure what they themselves were planning to do with all the new Omegas, he couldn’t even begin to imagine what the hunters’ reaction would be.

“Alpha McCall, I’m sure that by now you have some idea of the disaster that’s been happening around us?”

“The Omegas.”

“Yes. What the hell did you idiots do in Zurich to cause this?”

Zurich, they hadn’t… “That was on Monroe, not us.”

“But you stopped her. Her forces scrambled underground after that.”





He remembered the edges of the stump, still wet with the juices of the fallen Nemeton that lay down beside it, freshly cut down before they got there. He could feel his blood sinking down to the roots as the hunters poured gasoline on the trunk to make the wood burn.

He tried to climb up, to do anything he could to stop it. Desperate to pull out the spear that pierced him to the wood of the trunk. “Please, you have no idea what you’re doing.” He’d begged, desperate to stop it all. Monroe had laughed in his face, still thinking she’d won.





“She was going to destroy the Nemetons, kill every last supernatural on the planet in one go. The emissaries, they warned us that worse disasters would follow if she wasn’t stopped.”

“Disasters?”

“The Yggdrasil.” Scott shivered just thinking about what had awaited him at the other end of the Nemetons. “Turns out the Yggdrasil and the Nidhug were… connected. More so, than we could ever have imagined.”

“And you…”

“We were too late to stop her from cutting down the tree, but we managed to keep her from sacrificing a bunch of kids, in the end that’s all we did.”

“You stopped her, alright.” Scott flinched in remembered pain, unable to keep from showing it. “They say they stabbed you, pierced your heart, and you let her. They say you sacrificed yourself to her, in exchange for those children.”




“It’s you or them, McCall. You love pretending you’re some kind of hero. Are you hero enough for this?”

He’d stepped up to her, followed her inside.



The pain had been worse than anything he’d ever imagined. But he’d known he had to hang on, to keep it together, save the children. He couldn’t let the darkness take over, Couldn’t… Stiles was screaming, yelling at him to come back, that he couldn’t leave him. But the white room beckoned…




“I did what I had to do. We all did.”

And all it had done was make things worse.




*********




By the time they finally released him, Scott was dead on his feet, ready to go back to his dorm and sleep at least until classes started around noon the next day. But he knew he wasn’t alone. He looked at the other werewolves, many of them even worse off, tired, scared of themselves. He went over to every last one that was there and gave them his phone number, offered his help. He called Chris and Derek, checking with them to see if they could get these people lawyers, help, something.
“Scott, you can’t save everyone.” Derek said.

“I know, but I have to help the ones that I can.”

Derek had wanted to come over and help him. But Scott needed him in Beacon Hills. The pack needed Derek, since Scott himself couldn’t be there for them. Liam, Alec, Lizzie, they’d all called him for advice. Even Hayden had wanted him to tell her what she was supposed to do now.

He hadn’t had an answer for any of them, but told them to keep people safe. Sometimes, just doing something was the only thing to keep you from giving in to the horror of what was happening.

He called up a few other alphas he knew, checking with them to see if things were as bad for them.

Satomi said she wanted to stay out of it. Her voice sounded broken. The woman had never seemed her age before. But the past few years had aged her more than any of the fifty years before had done.

“I have to keep my pack safe.” She told him. Scott couldn’t blame her. Not after the loss of her last pack, the loss that had left her close to dead for weeks, healing bones and tendons, removing burns and bullet wounds until she finally found the strength to crawl out of the hole she’d been dumped into by her wannabe murderers. She’d been lucky. The hunters had been too inexperienced to realize just how much it took to take out an Alpha, especially one as powerful as Satomi.

It hadn’t helped her pack.

She was still grieving.

Sometimes luck was a curse.

Deucalion said he’d help, but he was in New York, and there were just as many new werewolves in need of guidance there, as there were in California. Scott gave him the number of a few Alphas he’d met in New York the last time he’d been there. He then called them to tell them that Deucalion could be trusted. Too many had heard of the older wolfs reputation.

It was all he could do for any of them.

The worst part is that no one seemed to want to step up and solve the problem. Scott wished there was someone that he could go to, ask for advice, ask for help. Some wise and older person who knew what they were doing, who was willing to take charge. But there wasn’t.

By the time he was done calling around to as many alphas as he could, it was 2 AM. He’d never realized just how many of them he knew, till he stared at his phone and saw that its battery was almost entirely finished.

He sat hunched down, feeling the hard wood of the bench under tense muscles. He barely managed to hold on to his phone as he checked one last video that Stiles had sent him. A Wendigo had gone on a killing spree in a MacDonalds in Paris.

The boy had killed several cops before they’d managed to take him down, put him down, killed him. The boy had been sixteen, barely a few months older than Scott himself had been when he was first bitten. The news report mentioned twelve deaths so far, while three more people were still in critical condition.

A teenager. He kept saying he was hungry, so damn hungry, as all Wendigos are. His father had been killed when he was younger, his mother had been human. There was no way of knowing if he’d even have been born Wendigo if it weren’t for whatever they’d done wrong in Zurich.

Sixteen years old. No child should die that young.

But worse than that, it made cops more ready to pull the trigger in other cases. Set them up to kill, instead of arrest. Scott couldn’t even blame them, they were only doing what they could to take down what they saw as a threat. It’s not like a werewolf, a Wendigo, or a kitsune was ever fully unarmed.

The people in that diner had had families, loved ones. There had been children in the place, little kids. Scott’s hands were shaking just thinking about it.

They’d gone into Zurich trying to save lives, but how many more had died because they’d done so?

“Want one?”

He looked up, stunned.

He hadn’t even heard the cop coming up to him. The desk sergeant. Scott stared up and offered a grateful smile as he accepted the cup of coffee that the man offered him. It tasted horrendous, but it was warm. He hadn’t realized how much he’d needed it till the comforting liquid slid down his throat.

“Go home, kid. You’ve done everything even someone like you could possibly do.” The man sounded gruff, but his heartbeat was even, and his scent smelled of comfort.

“I don’t….” Scott wanted to refuse, he didn’t want to rest, didn’t want to stop, but he yawned before he could finish the sentence.

“Look, I appreciate the help. And so does everyone else in the building who isn’t currently scared out of their wits. But you can’t help us if you burn yourself out. Go home, get some rest. We’ve got your number. We’ll call when we need you.”




“Go to sleep Scott, the others will call us when they hear from Monroe,” Stiles had said, sitting down on a chair next to the bed.

“What about you?”

“I’ll go down right after you, no worries on that. I just need to call my Dad first.”

“Stiles?”

“What?”

“Do you think we’re making it worse? Do you think we should just let someone else handle this, someone who knows what they’re doing?”

“Who?”

Scott shrugged as he pulled the plaid over him.

“There’s no one else Scott. It’s just us. Guess we should be used to that by now.”

“I’m glad you’re here.”

“So am I, buddy. So am I.”





Scott closed his eyes, and almost nodded off. He knew the man was right. Even the hunter who’d talked to him had left hours ago. But it was hard to admit that he’d done everything he could do at the moment. The sergeant’s hand was on his shoulder, holding him up.

For a moment Scott saw Sheriff Stilinski, before his mind flashed back to reality.

“Do you have someone to pick you up?” The man sounded almost fatherly, without the slightest hint of deception in his heartbeat.

Scott shrugged, unsure, he didn’t feel whole. The sergeant didn’t wait for an answer and left. When he came back with another cop, Scott hadn’t even realized how long he’d been gone. The clock had passed over half an hour.

The guy in the news van was, if possible, even closer to sleep that Scott himself was. Scott was just happy that the man wasn’t paying enough attention to realize who Scott was, that he could just leave without it catching even more attention than he had already.

The cop seemed unsure, quiet, he kept throwing looks at Scott in the rear view mirror. Scott didn’t bother to look back at him, almost nodding off as he sank in the quiet hum of the car. He just let his head fall against the headrest, checking his phone for any last messages he might have missed. There were too many to count. He wanted to respond, but he couldn’t bring himself to do so.

He barely managed to thank the officer for the ride, before stumbling up to the dorm. There were a few people still outside their rooms, most of them stood stunned as they saw him coming. Conversations stalled and broke off as he came closer.





Eyes were on him, always on him. Whether it was in the US, Europe, Asia, no matter where he went, people seemed to find out who he was fast enough. Wolves huffed up when they saw him coming. What did a teenager like him know about anything?

But when the bullets came, and the crossbow bolts and the explosions, they all looked at him as if he had all the answers. As if he knew what to do where they didn’t?

“I’m just as clueless as you are,“ he wanted to tell them. “I’m just a kid, I want someone to tell me what to do, just as much as any of you.”

But no one else ever seemed to want to take over.





Scott ignored them and headed up to his room. Only one heartbeat inside, awake. He opened the door.

Steve was on his bed, working on his laptop when Scott came in. Two more books lay open beside him. He was reading some page on werewolves, something from some kind of RPG. There was a large silver necklace around his neck. It would almost be funny if Scott wasn’t so tired.

He didn’t even bother to turn off the light, too tired to care as he sank down on his bed, still fully dressed, barely bothering to kick off his shoes. He was out seconds later.

He woke up to the touch of fingers on his face. He grabbed the offending hand, claws out, sinking into flesh.

“I’m … I’m sorry, I just…” He let go when he realized it was Steve. “I just wanted to see where the fangs go.” Steve stared at him, grasping for his hand, it was bleeding.

Scott sat up, yawning deeply, pulling in his claws.

“They don’t go anywhere Steve, they just shift back to normal teeth.” He managed to mumble out the words, before pushing his legs out of the bed.

He felt around the floor for his shoes, unable to find them. He wasn’t in the mood to search for them, feeling his toe claws tap the floor even through the socks before he pulled them in.

“But…”

“Steve, not now.” He threw his dirty shirt in the laundry bag. It was starting to smell. When would he have time to get it cleaned? He wasn’t sure. He stared into the mirror at the door. He had to take control of himself, push it all back.

“But I need to know.”

“You need to know?!” Scott splashed some water in his face from a bottle he kept in his closet. “Do you realize how close you just came to dying?” Scott could see Steve freeze in the mirror. “I’m an Alpha werewolf, Steve. If I had any less control, I could have slashed your throat before I was even fully awake. Worse, I could have bitten you. And then you’d either be stuck with changing into something you don’t have the first bit of a clue about, or you’d die a slow and painful death in the case your body doesn’t accept the change. So for your own sake, just leave me alone.”

Steve stood frozen, his hand up just the littlest bit, his glasses half crooked on his face. His brown eyes were wide, a brown only a shade lighter than his skin. Scott ignored the kid, grabbed his toiletry bag and a towel, and slammed the door shut behind him as he headed into the hallway.

Several others were already up. Getting ready for early classes, some even heading to some kinds of sport practice. Scott noticed Chad, his next door neighbor. The UCD football linebacker’s scent was off, as if he was about ready to come to Scott and ask him something, but stopped himself from doing so.

Chad’s roommate gasped for air when he recognized Scott. Scott had to hold back a growl at the panicked stench filling up the air in the closed off hallway, wondering what had happened to the ventilation.

He moved on to the bathrooms, pushed off his pants and socks before he got into the shower stall. He stood there, still, letting the water wash over him. Breathing in and out, calming himself, trying desperately not to smell the stench of the cow pastures coming from the other side of campus. He was feeling slightly better as he got out of the shower, wrapping his towel around his waist. Two kids were standing in the door, staring at him.

“No, I don’t have a tail.” He said, rolling his eyes as he did so. ‘Not yet at least’. He didn’t add that last part. It didn’t stop them from staring. He had to get through another gauntlet to get back to his room.

Nobody seemed to want to get close, but everyone’s eyes seemed to be stuck on him, as if he’d turned into a lab specimen.

When he got back to his own room and opened the door, Steve was still standing in the same place he’d been before, his hand still raised in the exact same manner.

“But how does it work?” Scott groaned as he put his dirty clothes in a hamper. “It just makes no sense.”

“Steve.”

“It just doesn’t, the whole conservation of mass and energy, something can’t come out of nothing. It makes no scientific sense.”

“Does it have to?”

“Yes!”

Scott looked at the guy, stunned at the kid’s outburst, and had to fight back a chuckle, the other boy seemed about ready to explode.

“Nobody knows, Steve. It’s just… supernatural stuff. Magic.”

“But magic is just science we haven’t figured out yet.”

Scott couldn’t help remembering the Dread Doctors. He wondered if the last two besides Marcel had started out like this. Just wanting to explore, to figure things out? Until they no longer cared about the lives of those whom they experimented on to bring out the magic they once wanted to explain.

He searched his closet for a clean set of clothes. It took him a bit before he found some jeans and a shirt that didn’t offend his nose. He was starting to get a headache as he tried to ignore Steve’s endless questions. It didn’t work.

“Aren’t you even remotely curious? You’re studying to be a vet, don’t you want to at least understand your body?”

“Steve.”

“I’m serious. You’re living a scientific breakthrough, and you don’t even ask questions about it.”

“A scientific breakthrough, really?” Scott had to take a few deep breaths just to keep his claws from coming out, to keep his eyes from shining their deep alpha red. From the way Steve was looking at him with wide open eyes, he wasn’t entirely successful. “Do you know what I’m living, Steve? My body changed on me in a way, I can’t even begin to explain. Do you know what it’s like to hear the whispers of people all around me in the building, and to have to actually work at blocking them out? To hear them call me a freak, a monster, something out of their nightmares? That full moon calendar I have up against the wall isn’t just for fun, it’s something my life depends on!”

Scott hadn’t even realized how close he’d gotten to the guy until he stood close enough to touch. He let the fangs and claws come out, showing them to Steve.

Steve, though, didn’t act scared, more like fascinated. Scott could hear his heartbeat, sounding almost eager, like he wanted to reach out, even if he didn’t do so. His scent, everything about him screamed like he was barely holding back excitement.

Scott didn’t know what he’d do if Steve actually found the courage to reach out to him, so he took a step back before the guy could.

“You talked about wishing you could have spent a gap year like I did, thinking I’d spent it having fun. Do you know how I really spent my gap year, Steve? I spent it sleeping in a different motel, every night, not knowing where in the country, where in the world I’d be going next. I spent it keeping Hunters from murdering innocent people, even children, for the crime of existing. I spent it being scared that I’d be too late to save lives, scared that all I’d find would be bodies.”

All the blood, all the faces, all the dead eyes staring up at him, judging him for not getting there in time to save them. “You want me to look for answers? I’m too busy solving the problems that all the questions keep causing.”

“Scott, I…”

Scott forced himself to calm down, shivering as he did so. He knew that it was the stress, everything just building up since yesterday morning. He sat down on his bed, taking deep breaths, closing his eyes, his fingers stretching and pulling in as he did so.

“Look, I’m sorry, I just…”

Steve sat down on his own bed. Scott could smell his scent waving across the room. It smelled… innocent, excitement fighting with fear and … worry.

“I’m coming on too strong, aren’t I?”

Scott wanted to glare at the other boy, but he just smelled so...

“I just… this is all just… It’s like the world fell down, and there’s all these things I never thought possible that are suddenly real, and everything I thought we’d figured out about reality, just isn’t true anymore.”

Scott understood. But that didn’t make it better.

“People really want to kill you over this? Why?”

Seriously? Wasn’t it obvious?

“There’s a whole other species sharing the planet with us! Don’t they get how amazing that is?” Scott stared up at him. “We’re not alone in the universe, and we don’t even have to go to another planet to find you guys.”

“You’re weird.” Scott said. Something about the ache in his heart lightened for just a moment, and he couldn’t help cling to it, help cling to this boy. He wasn’t quite right, wasn’t quite what he needed, but he was something, like a band aid, just enough to keep him going.

“So people keep telling me. But as they say, weird is good. Right?”

Scott chuckled, shook his head and pulled a shirt on over his head.

“I can give you the number of a few friends of mine. They’re better at the whole science aspect of this stuff.”

“You can?” The boy sounded so hopeful, that Scott couldn’t help but promise that he would.

He just hoped that Lydia or Mason wouldn’t kill him over it. Or worse, send his Mom after him.







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