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Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.

Story is set after "Lunatic," but kinda disregards the rest of the season's events. THIS STORY IS NOT SLASH. Comments and critiques are always welcome.

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The last few days Scott had been growing increasingly snappish. The phrase bite your head off would be an appropriate one, Stiles thought, if it weren't being applied to a werewolf and the very real possibility that it could become more than a metaphor. Scott's patience was clearly worn away, though by whom or why Stiles didn't know. The moon had just finishing waning, so Stiles doubted that the problem lay there. Besides, Scott wasn't mean, just short-tempered. He'd growled at the poor student-helper in the cafeteria when the mashed potatoes she was trying to spoon onto Scott's tray released too soon and landed with a splat on the counter instead. Mr. Harris earned a snarl when he dared question why Scott hadn't brought his textbook to Chemistry. And Stiles was certain that he'd seen Scott's eyes flash yellow when someone jostled him during passing period.

Stiles leaned with his back to the lockers while Scott shuffled through the mess of books and papers in his locker. The final bell had rung only a couple minutes ago and the halls were already rapidly emptying. "Everyone's talking about it," Stiles said. "Joey's parents are going on a cruise—finally celebrating their Honeymoon, or something—and they're leaving…" A couple walked past, hands firmly locked together. Stiles wouldn't have paid them any mind normally since teenagers holding hands were pretty common in these halls, but these two had their non-clasped hands wrapped around each others' waists and their tongues down each other's thoughts, and Stiles immediately lost his train of thought about the impending party and started trying to work out the logistics of how these two were able to walk at all without stumbling over each other and into everyone around them. Out of his peripheral, he saw Scott's nostrils flare wide, his nose tipping upward, and his eyes—

"Scott!" Stiles hissed, backhanding Scott's arm. "What the hell?"

Scott's hands balled into fists and he closed his eyes, and he seemed to be trying not to breathe. Stiles could hear the shallow wheeze of air as Scott exhaled out his mouth. "I hafta go," he gasped. He slammed the locker door shut and took off down the hall, leaving his backpack on the floor. Stiles nudged the bag with his foot, then reached down and hefted it onto his shoulder with a resigned sigh. Chasing after Scott, taking care of things Scott left undone—this was becoming far too much of a habit.

Stiles found Scott at home and in the shower. The boy was huddling, fully-clothed, under the streaming water. Walking in on Scott showering also seemed to be becoming a theme in his life, Stiles thought wryly. When Stiles was feeling upset or anxious, he headed for the refrigerator. Scott, however, seemed to head for running water, which Stiles was pretty sure was a bizarre Scott-thing and not a bizarre-werewolf thing, though he wasn't sure how he could go about getting an answer to that without also getting his throat ripped out. Just the idea of broaching Derek with that question brought a tremble to his knees.

The water was set on cold, its chill permeating the air such that Stiles felt a noticeable temperature decrease when he stepped up to the bathroom door. A small shiver crawled down the back of his neck, not unlike the ones that preceded a need to run for his life. The backpacks had been deposited on the bed, just in case he had to. These days, that was always a possibility. He checked Scott for claws before opening his mouth. Scott's hands, which were wrapped around his knees, showed only pale pink fingernails. "Dude, what's going on?" he asked.

Scott shook his head without looking up. "I don't want to talk about it," Scott replied in a low voice. Stiles had to strain to hear him over the water. Scott's hair was plastered to his head, making him look pathetic.

"Whatever it is," Stiles replied, "it can't be that bad." His mind flashed through all the things that had been that bad, from his best friend trying to kill him in the locker room to, uh, his best friend trying to kill him at the school-and how was this also a theme in his life? What did the two of them do together before Scott got bitten? Certainly it didn't involve such high levels of attempted homicide. Scott just shook his head again, still refusing to meet Stiles's eyes. With a huff of frustration, Stiles stepped over to the bathtub and shut off the faucet. He grabbed a towel from the rack on the wall and tossed it over Scott's head, making the teen look like a child hiding under his sheets. "Get out," Stiles ordered. He eyed the sodden sneakers that Scott had on; he hadn't even bothered to remove his shoes. "Get dried off-"

From beneath the towel came Scott's voice, still low, hesitant. "I'm horny."

"What?" Stiles tipped back on his heels, not sure if he'd heard what he thought he had, not sure if he wanted to hear what he thought he had.

Scott yanked the towel into his lap, leaving his hair mussed. His cheeks were dark with color and he was still far too focused on his knees. "I'm—" he started.

"I heard you, I heard you," Stiles interrupted, throwing his hands up as if to block the words. A second later, the want-to-know-everything part of his brain took over and he lowered them again. Scott didn't deserve the defensiveness, anyway, though he had been the one to draw the boundaries about sex discussions. "So, why don't you do something about it?" he asked, waggling one partially-cupped hand in the universal gesture for beating-off.

Scott's color grew darker and he shook his head. "Can't," he replied. Before Stiles could ask why, Scott wordlessly answered—his fingernails grew into claws, wicked, sharp claws intended for shredding and tearing flesh. Stiles cringed, the implication of those nails hitting him like a full-body tackle. He felt his dick and balls trying in a crawl into his body in sympathetic self-preservation.

Stiles sighed, the direction of the conversation becoming obvious to both of them. "You know what?" he said, "I'm just going to step out here." He tipped his head in the direction of the bedroom, even though Scott still wasn't looking at him. Not that he could blame him. Stiles was pretty much the only person whom Scott could talk to. This would be the downside of that role: needing to talk about masturbation. Did the real Yoda ever have to talk to Luke about that? Certainly training your protégé to fight the worst evil in the galaxy was worth some exemptions. It wasn't something you talked about. Alluded to, hinted at, joked about, made accusations of—Sure. The whole point was not to treat the topic seriously. He pressed his lips together in resignation. He was going to have to—but it certainly wasn't going to be while his best friend cowered, sopping wet, in the bathtub.

Stiles dropped to the bed first, then bounced right back up because, damn it, waiting on the bed could be misread in all kinds of ways. He tried the desk chair, a simple leather-padded chair with a metal back and wheels, and plopped onto that. But his usual position of sitting with the seatback as an armrest now felt like a defensive posture, and he didn't want to send that message either. And sitting on the chair the way it was meant to be sat on just didn't work; he couldn't find a comfortable position that didn't carry any innuendo. What was not going to be said here was going to be just as, if not more, important than what was. The only other seating choice—besides the floor, which he was not going to take—was the green wingback, but that was Scott's. Claiming it would make Scott tetchy … -er. And more uncomfortable. And then the conversation would have to go on so much longer. Stiles stopped in mid-stride. This was ridiculous. With a full-body shake, he decided to stop being such a seventh-grader. Mind made up, Stiles reclaimed the edge of the bed, further deciding that he was simply going to take every comment or gesture over the course of this conversation at precisely face value, and he was only sitting on the bed because it was there.


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