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Road Trip

by P L Nunn

 

10

 

Scott woke up comfortable and warm. A slow process of reluctantly succumbing to the call of consciousness. His pillow was soft and smelled of his mom's favorite fabric softener. His room was dark and just cool enough to warrant wanting to stay under the covers and not break out of hibernation.

He lay there sleepily, while the fading remnants of a dream that might have featured Allison, dissipated. He cracked a lid to glance at the clock that sat on his night table. It read 9:37. PM. It took him a moment to register the PM and the fact that it was dark outside his window and wonder for a brief second, until the pistons started firing in correct order inside his head, why he was in bed so early.

Then it came flooding back. It all came rushing in with a discordant thud of panic and he shot up, heart pounding, breath catching in his chest. He was home. He didn't hurt. Not even a little. Nor did he have the slightest urge to pop fang and hunt down prey. He looked down, searching out traces of wounds that just hadn't wanted to heal properly before, but they were gone now. His skin was relatively blood free. Somebody had undressed him and cleaned him up, right down to a clean pair of boxers, which was the only thing he had on. He was marginally more mortified than grateful that someone had taken the effort.

He sat on the edge of his bed, trying to form cohesive memories of the last day - - two days? When had things started to fall to pieces? He wasn't entirely sure. From the moment he'd been dosed with the wolfsbane things had gone out of focus - - time hadn't held a lot of meaning and he didn't trust his memories of what had happened. They were mostly tinged with red. He'd get clarification from Stiles. Stiles remembered everything.

Stiles? Where was Stiles?

For a moment, his pulse sped up in panic, before reason kicked in and suggested that if he were home safe, Stiles was as well. Because Allison had come and gotten them. Allison and her father and Stiles' father and Isaac. Those memories came back. Him coming close to losing it in a fast food restaurant because he couldn't get past the way she smelled.

God.

He ran a hand through his hair and it was stiff in places with dried blood. There was only so much his mom could do - - please, please God let it have been just his mom - - to get rid of all the blood he'd accumulated, when he'd been unconscious. He needed it gone, so he got in the shower and shampooed. Twice. Then scrubbed until his skin was pink. He leaned there afterwards, hands against the tile, hot water sluicing down his back until that place in his mind that was cringing began to loosen up a bit.

He slipped on a pair of sweatpants and a faded, long sleeved jersey and went looking for signs of humanity. At the top of the stairs he heard what he'd been too preoccupied to pay attention to before. The downstairs TV and the soft sound of voices.

"Dude, its about time you woke up." Stiles speared him with a gimlet-eyed, brown stare when he padded into the family room to track down the noise. He was situated on the couch between Allison and Lydia, a coveted spot that he looked as if he had no intention of every leaving. Isaac sat on Allison's other side, socked feet propped on the edge of the coffee table.

"Uh - yeah. How long was I out?" Scott ran a hand through damp hair, feeling a little out of the loop.

"About fourteen hours," Stiles informed him. "If you didn't wake up soon I was gonna go after Deaton for veterinary malpractice."

Scott lifted a brow at that, but Allison distracted him before he could come up with a response to the jab.

"Are you okay?" She vacated the space between Isaac and Stiles to see for herself, looking him in the eye as if she didn't trust him to offer up an honest answer to that particular question.

"I'm okay," he half smiled at her, but he almost wished she'd just back off, instead of eyeing him with that soft concern in her brown eyes, because it was throwing him a little off his balance and he already felt like he was on shaky ground. "Um, where's my mom?"

"She got called in to the hospital. She didn't want to leave, but she'd already missed a shift and they were short handed. You might want to give her a call. She's been pretty worried."

"We're watching the new Star Trek movie," Stiles offered from the couch. "Which is awesome, by the way. And you being asleep might have been a good thing because we had to watch the Notebook and some other movie that could have been its clone, but with different actors."

"Stop complaining. You had a tear in your eye. And Nicolas Sparks' movies are all unique and wonderful." Lydia waved away Stiles' grievance with an airy hand.

Other than one memorable time, Scott didn't think Lydia had ever been in his house, and if they'd already sat through two movies and most of a third, she'd been here for five or six hours at the least. They all had, just hanging around keeping an eye on him while he'd been out. The part of him that had been nothing but a normal kid for most of his life was sort of amazed and gratified, but the newer part, the evolving part, the part that relied on instinct that was anything but human, the part that was wolf, knew instinctually that that's what pack did. Even though three out of four of them were just human. Well, two out of three. What Lydia was, was still sort of up in the air.

"We were supposed to go shopping today," Lydia said, maybe having caught something in his eyes that she felt the need to dispel. "And Allison completely forgot to call me and let me know she was traipsing across the state this morning because you two idiots had blundered into trouble. I didn't have anything else to do - - so I thought I might as well come over and give her someone intelligent to talk to if she was planning on staying."

"Hey," Stiles gave her a wounded look. Isaac just kept munching on a bag of party mix he had between his knees, ignoring them all in favor of the movie.

"Are you hungry?" Allison asked. "You didn't eat this morning. You should eat something. We ordered Chinese. I'll warm you up a plate."

"I can do it - -" he started, but she was already headed towards the kitchen, that look in her eyes that said she was on a mission and no wheedling from him was going to deter her.

"Not that I'm trying to promote the stereotypical image of women slaving in the kitchen, while the men relax in front of the TV," Lydia said. "But this movie just isn't striking any emotional chords so - -"

"No emotional chords - -?" Stiles got wide eyed with indignity. "Oh my God, how can you even say that - - did you not just watch the death scene? There was Vulcan emoting. Vulcan! It was epic."

"It's boring," she shrugged and got up, smoothing out her skirt and ignoring Stiles choking, hand gesticulating incredulity

"Boring? This is boring. After we just sat through four hours of the most god awful dramatic drivel known to man?"

He was complaining to deaf ears. She laid a hand on Scott's arm in passing and said somberly. "I'm glad the two of you didn't get killed. That would have ruined Christmas for the rest of us."

"Uh - - Thanks. I think."

Stiles was still simmering over the mortal insult Lydia had delivered when Scott flopped down between him and Isaac. Isaac cast him a weird sort of look from under his lashes. An almost furtive flick of wary blue eyes before he went back to watching the movie.

Scott spent half a moment wondering if he'd done anything under the influence of wolfsbane to warrant it, before Stiles distracted him.

"So - - everything, y'know, healed up and all?"

"Yeah."

Stiles kept staring at him, look reminiscent of Allison's, as if he could get more insight from studying Scott's face than from the things he was willing to verbally admit. Finally he shrugged, apparently satisfied.

"So they didn't find anything at Dupont's lodge." Stiles announced matter of factly.

Scott blinked and mentally slapped himself on the head for not thinking to ask about that bit of pertinent information first thing. "Everyone's okay?"

"Yeah. They searched everywhere they could without a warrant, but Dupont's guys cleaned up pretty well after themselves. They got back a couple of hours ago. My dad's having the Jeep towed back."

Scott leaned his head on the back of the couch, not sure how he felt about that failure. A little relief maybe that Stiles' and Allison's father's hadn't had to face off against a man with a lot of firepower to back him up and no compunction against killing. And if they had found him and Stiles' dad had arrested him - - on what charges? How could they possibly explain the pertinent details of the whole miserable situation?

Stiles was going on about the possibility of his insurance getting cancelled if he tried to claim a second accident in a handful of months and bemoaning having to pay for the Jeep's repair out of pocket.

"If it's his place - -he'll go back to it." Isaac said softly, eyes still fixed on the TV. "We should go up there when he's not expecting it and return the favor and hunt him down."

"And what? Rip out his throat like any real, self-respecting wolf? Not that I'm against him getting his throat ripped out." Stiles stopped grousing about the Jeep and leaned forward to shoot Isaac a look across Scott.

"Yes," Isaac agreed, deadly earnest.

"No! Nobody's doing that." Scott snapped and he had to clench his fists to keep his hands from shaking. It wasn't fear. He'd do it himself if it came down to it, but if he didn't have to - - if there was a chance they were off Dupont's radar, it wouldn't eat him up to let it go. He could live with that a lot better than he could live with people that mattered to him getting hurt because of some meaningless vendetta.

Isaac slouched deeper into the couch, stuffing a handful of party mix into his mouth. If Dupont's compound had been right around the corner in Beacon Hills, Scott might have worried a little more about what a kid with self-control issues might have done. As it was, he doubted he could find the place again if he tried.

The girls came back, preceded by the scent of Hunan Beef, and the smell of food proved an overwhelming distraction. Scott's stomach rumbled in anticipation, reminding him that it had been a very long time since he'd fed it. He slipped off the couch and onto the floor in front of the sofa table, to allow room for Allison to sit back down while he dug into the food. He could have consumed a couple of cartons of the stuff, easily. He was that hungry and it hadn't hit him until the food was actually in front of him.

He half listened to the sound of Stiles and Lydia arguing about what movie to watch next while he ate, most of his concentration focused on the intake of food. They settled on a romantic comedy with an actress that Stiles thought was hot, so the sacrifice wasn't too severe. They didn't talk about what had happened over the last few days, but then Stiles had had hours to fill them in and Stiles liked his details. They probably knew everything Stiles knew. Just as well since there were parts of it Scott had no desire to rehash. Things he hadn't even told Stiles. He didn't need to relive waking up in that cage, like a dog for Dupont to taunt. Or the fear and the helplessness and the pain. He clenched his fist around the fork and concentrated on his breathing until it evened out, until it was just the room again, just the sound of his friend's voices. Lydia and Allison talking across Stiles about making that trip into downtown Beacon Hills to shop tomorrow. Lydia going on about some boutique that had a new shipment of shoes that she was in love with.

Hard not to notice the feel of Allison's leg against his shoulder. He didn't think he'd ever not notice when she touched him, no matter how casual. He thought he might come to sort of hate it, that one sided uber-awareness. It wasn't her fault. It was him.

He shifted a little so he was pressing more against Stiles' leg than hers, since contact with any of Stiles' limbs seldom sent little electric shivers down his spine.

By the time the movie was over, Isaac was dozing and Allison was yawning. When Allison offered Stiles a lift home, he declined with an 'I thought I might crash here, tonight.' Which somehow made Scott breath just a little easier, the part of his mind that was still caught up in the fight or flight trauma of the last few days not quite comfortable with letting Stiles out of his sight yet. And maybe Stiles was feeling the same thing. Even so, Scott figured if it had been Lydia that offered, Stiles would have taken her up on it in a heartbeat. But Lydia hadn't.

So they walked the girls outside to their cars, Stiles still chatting up Lydia, Isaac trailing Allison, his hands stuffed in his pockets. Oddly enough he sort of pulled back just a little when she leaned in to put a hand on his arm. Which made her frown a little, before she shrugged and climbed into the vehicle.

Isaac ran a hand across the back of his neck after the cars had pulled off, shifting from foot to foot and Scott knew Isaac well enough by now to know nervous when he smelled it. He just didn't get why. Unless it had to do with Allison. Or Allison and him. Which was possible, because God knew Scott didn't know what to do with the situation. And she'd been really sort of attentive towards him today - - at least from what he remembered of the day - -and that was after she'd been kind of avoiding him for the last few weeks. Well, not going out of her way avoid - - just sort of not being around if he was - - and he hadn't known what to make of that either, because he'd been trying to give her all the space she needed. If Isaac was feeling half as confused as he was - - a little uncertainty was understandable.

He opened his mouth but Isaac beat him to the punch. "I'm beat. I'm going to bed." And shuffled back towards the house.

Scott tossed Stiles a questioning look, and Stiles just shrugged and said, "Go figure. Wolves."

Scott snapped his mouth shut and gave him a narrow look.

"You know its Christmas in two days right?" Stiles reminded him as they headed back to the house.

It had sort of slipped Scott's mind. They didn't even have a real tree up this year - - just this little pre-decorated fake one his mom had picked up from work - - and he didn't want to know who'd died for her to get it. But then she had a crazy work schedule made even crazier with the holidays and he'd just had things on his mind other than bolstering the holiday spirit.

"You still don't have any gifts," Stiles reminded him of that other thing.

"I have no gifts," he concurred.

"You suck."

Scott shrugged, little enough argument there, and flopped down on the coach next to Stiles. It was just the two of them, since Isaac was sleeping in the guest room, courtesy of his mom balking at the notion of a seventeen year old being left to his own devices or to the tender mercies of state social services, who might find issues with the placement of a somewhat twitchy werewolf with abandonment issues. So if Stiles was sleeping over he was doing it on the couch. Or the floor, which had occasionally happened in the past. Generally in Scott's room, the both of the passed out in front of the TV, with whatever new game they'd been determined to defeat taunting them with a big 'game over' frozen on the screen when they woke up.

"Well, how lucky are you that I happen to kick ass in the gift giving department?" Stiles stretched out his legs on the sofa table.

"Pretty lucky?" Scott guessed.

"Damned straight. So downtown Beacon Hill's not exactly the road trip I had planned, but chances are nobody'll try and kill us if we just go hit a few stores."

"You think?" Scott leaned against the opposite couch arm, snagging the remote control before Stiles could snatch it up. "And the fact that Lydia said she was heading downtown tomorrow has no bearing?"

"None whatsoever."

"I don't want to just show up if Allison's there. It'll seem weird and stalkery and I don't want to her think I'm that guy."

"Right, because you never exhibited stalkery behavior before. Following her around. Hanging outside her house at night - -"

"Dude. She was in danger. I was trying to protect her." He felt rightfully offended.

"Yeah. Whatever you say." Stiles waved his protest away, then jabbed a finger at the TV when Scott happened to surf past a guy getting slammed into a pool of water by a giant, leather bound wrecking ball. "Oh - -oh, American Ninja - - keep it on that."

The watching of which Stiles managed twenty minutes of before he was sprawled on the couch, snoring softly. But then, he hadn't slept 14 hours straight, so passing out close to midnight when he'd had an extraordinarily exhausting twenty-four hours was entirely justified.

More than justified, because he'd done really well - -he'd kept his head when Scott hadn't had much of a hold on his. And any hold Scott had managed to gain over the poison in his blood that had been trying to reduce him to feral madness was due to Stiles being there. Without him, he wouldn't have had a reason to hold back - - to fight against the tide and cling to human rationality. And he'd probably be dead.

They'd both be dead.

And they'd come close. Really close.

He stared blankly at the television for a while, disjointed images of the night before flitting through his head. The vanago had been terrifying, but it had been a tool - - a weapon aimed at them by the real threat. Dupont. They were lucky to be alive. But it hadn't all been luck, because Dupont had underestimated them both. He half recalled something Allison's dad had said to Stiles on the phone when they'd first called for help. That Dupont was relentless. That he didn't give up on hunts once he'd started. And he knew their names. How hard would it be to find them, if a determined hunter really wanted to track them down?

And no, he didn't want Isaac or anyone else going on the offensive and going after Dupont, because Dupont would kill out of hand. Dupont was more than capable. But if Dupont came at him again - - or if he came after Stiles - - or any of his friends - - simply because he couldn't give up on a hunt - - he wouldn't need wolfsbane to bring out Scott's inner beast.

It would rush up to meet him head on.

 



 

Author's Note

Thus ends Part One of my first attempt at Teen Wolf Fan Fiction.

I wrote a lot, very quickly, but the characters were nattering at me and I needed to get them out of my head and onto paper where I could properly discipline them.

When I started this it was supposed to be a short, compact adventure with a pat ending. But, I never can manage to write short stories. They always turn out long and involved.

Hence the upcoming Part two, titled 'Vendetta', where we find out how right Scott is in worrying about Dupont not giving up the hunt. But that'll be the least of his problems.

If you enjoyed reading this, as much as I enjoyed writing it, please let me know. Its encouraging to know that all the hard work is appreciated and feedback is the spice of life.

Thanks for sticking with me and be on the lookout for 'Vendetta'.

 

 

 

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