It's just gonna be ridiculous, y'all. I regret nothing.
Danny was the first of the actual lacrosse players (the ones who aren't Stiles, because come on, Stiles knows he's on the team but not, like, on the team) to come around to Scott's co-captaincy. Makes sense, right? Danny's a good guy. Scott's the king of the good guys.
Sure, Danny liked Jackson, but he also liked winning lacrosse matches, and he likes Scott. Stiles likes Scott, too, obviously. Everyone likes Scott! Okay, they don't, not everybody, but most people, given enough time and exposure, do tend to warm up to Scott.
So Danny warmed up to Scott, and Scott always liked Danny in the way that Scott likes perilously close to every-fucking-body on the planet, and Stiles also likes Scott in the way that Stiles is perilously close to dying because of on any given day, no exaggeration, literally dying. He might technically be dead already, or maybe a clone of the Nogitsune, or a clone of himself? Whatever, he tries not to think about it, because the watchword this year is Forward, but he's just saying, he thinks his liking-Scott credentials are rock solid. It's a love-fest all the way around – almost, but not quite, all the way around.
Danny, to this day, is not crazy about Stiles. Okay. Not everyone is. You have to have a certain palate to appreciate what Stiles brings to a friendship, he gets that, no big deal.
Stiles has kind of come to the realization that he might really want to have sex with Danny, who is hot and kind and reads for fun and has a sense of humor so dry that most people don't even realize he's making fun of them and is pretty unfazeable about monstery things and is also super hot. It's an epiphany that is mostly about Danny, and how Danny seems like the kind of person who would be an amazing boyfriend, with his sparkly eyes and his solid arms and his ability to fix Stiles's perpetually plague-ridden computer, but there are also undeniable implications in terms of Stiles's sexuality.
Maybe it's a little bit of an epiphany there, too.
In other news, Allison's dead, Stiles recently lost his virginity to he's pretty sure technically a wild animal, and the thing he's not thinking about still happened whether or not he thinks about it, so that's...where they all are right now.
Also it's Christmas, and Scott wants to throw a party.
“What the actual fuck?” Stiles says when Scott pitches him the idea. He's usually more supportive of Scott's flights of fancy than that, but – what the actual fuck?
Scott tries to hide the flicker of hurt, which goes about as well as Scott's every attempt to hide his feelings. “It wouldn't be like – a party,” he backpedals. “Just a – a chance for the team to get together. Practice starts up in just a few weeks, and – I don't know. A lot of us don't really hang out with each other in the off-season. I thought it would be nice.”
“I mean – if you want to do it, I'm in,” Stiles says, which seems like something he should go ahead and say, even though it's basically branded on his forehead by this point. Of course if Scott wants to do it, Stiles is gonna do it, but.... “I just didn't think that's something you'd be...up for yet.”
Scott chews on his lip for a minute and gives the cookie dough another few passes with his mom's ancient hand mixer; the thing grinds so loudly that he couldn't make himself heard over the motor if he wanted to, which he obviously doesn't. He pops one of the beaters out when he's done and hands it to Stiles. “I don't actually feel better when I'm sulking alone in my room,” he says.
“Huh,” Stiles says, because that's exactly what always makes him feel better. Different strokes for different folks, he guesses. Scott's got the second beater off now, and Stiles clicks his against Scott's in a toast, then tries to lick the dough off and immediately gets some up his nose. “Don't laugh at me,” he orders, dragging his sleeve over his face.
“I love you,” Scott says. He's been telling people that a lot lately. Life's fragile and blah blah blah.
Stiles isn't really thinking about all that.
“So what are you thinking?” Stiles asks. “Disreputable drunkenness with mass arrests, or a cheese-tasting party, or what?”
“Is there something in the middle of those things?” Scott asks. “Whatever's in the middle, that's what I'm thinking.”
“Shindig, minimal shenanigans,” Stiles translates. “Got it. Are you gonna invite Kira?”
“Maybe,” Scott says, in a very cautious way that means absolutely he is. “You gonna invite Malia?”
“Nah,” Stiles says. “I'm not – we're – that's not a thing. A thing that's happening. No.”
He likes Malia. Malia is mean and funny and dirty and soft-hearted; she reminds him of a really poorly socialized alternate-universe version of Lydia, which almost makes her kind of perfect for Stiles, but.... He doesn't know.
He's been thinking a lot about dick lately. He's not saying he's ready to run up the white flag on girls in general, but going forward with Malia seems like the wrong call. Right now, anyway.
That's an unfolding develoment he should probably share with – you know. His best friend. Like, right now would be a good time, while they're alone in the house making Christmas cookies for their parents like the broke-ass small children they are.
Instead he says, “So what's the deal with Ethan, is he like, gone? Permanently gone?”
“I guess,” Scott says. “Honestly, I don't really care. Why, were you thinking about asking him to the party?”
“Yeah, hilarious,” Stiles says. “Because I'm really gonna try to compete with Danny Mahealani.”
Scott's eyebrows come together just a little, making him look intense and fierce. Some kind of werewolf trick, Stiles is sure; Scott didn't use to be able to do that. “He's not the Prince of England or anything, he's just a guy,” Scott says. “He's not better than you.”
“Prince of-- Scotty, Jesus, there's no-- Have you learned nothing from all those seasons of Doctor Who I made you watch?”
“Nope,” Scott says. “I mean it, Stiles. If you, I mean, if there's a – guy you're interested in, you don't have to think of it as, like, you versus someone else. Danny's great and – oh, and I'm not saying, obviously I'm not saying steal someone's boyfriend, but you can compete with anyone in the world. I really think you'd have a chance with, like...anyone.”
Stiles scrapes drying cookie dough off the sleeve of his sweatshirt, trying not to look directly into the sun of Scott's pure earnestness. “Dude, did you just out me to myself?”
“Well...you were taking a really long time,” Scott says apologetically.
“I love you,” Stiles says. “So, but – they definitely broke up, though?”
Scott's party is – fine. It's as fine as a party full of lacrosse players and empty of their actual friends could possibly be. They don't taste cheese, but Stiles does make a shit-ton of tiny hot pastry things stuffed full of artichoke dip, which seem to be a hit, and also there's pizza and a keg, which Melissa either doesn't know about or pretends not to know about, Stiles suspects the second one. People bring their girlfriends. Scott brings Kira. Stiles brings the tiny artichoke things.
Danny shows up alone, too. “What's the matter with this town?” Stiles asks Kira, who's decided that what they need is popcorn and is attempting to pop it by hand on the stove. Stiles is there for reasons of fire safety, because that one party where there was a grease fire seems like, just existentially, the kind of legacy he and Scott are likely to leave behind when they retire from their athletic career. “Half the team are total mouthbreathers, and Danny's the one who's single?”
“Is Danny the only one who's single?” Kira asks innocently, giving the pan a little shake, rattling the kernels all around in the sizzling oil.
“Pretty much,” Stiles says. “I mean, unless you count me.”
“Which...I would?” Kira says. “Because you are?”
“I'm barely on the team, though,” Stiles explains. He's used to people not quite understanding the distinction, but it's definitely a real thing. “Danny's the goalie. Danny is the Platonic ideal of the student-athlete, you know? How are the strapping young men of northern California sleeping on the whole Danny phenomenon?”
“I'm sure they're not,” Kira says comfortingly. “They're probably just shy.” Stiles snorts. “Anyway, Scott's single, too,” she says, and then gives Stiles a considering look from the corner of her eye. “Unless you know something I don't.”
“No, you don't know all the same stuff I don't know about Scott right now,” Stiles assures her. She chuckles a little, then lets out a muffled shriek when the first kernel bursts like a gunshot under the pan lid. “I can have the fire department here in seconds,” Stiles promises. “They love me at dispatch.”
“It's fine,” she says. “It's good, I do this all the-- My dad does this all the time. I have seen it done. It's totally fine.”
Stiles looks down at his empty cup. A bunch of the guys shout something in the next room; he thinks they've fired up the PS2. He's probably supposed to be out there bonding with them, right? That's probably the exact reason that Scott wanted to throw this party in the first place – because it took a little while for the team to warm up to Scott, but warming up to Stiles is...not always just a matter of giving it time. Sometimes it actually gets harder for people, the longer they know him. Measures must be taken.
Kira's popcorn does not burn down the house, and it's pretty tasty, even though half of it is soggy and the other half is bone dry. Stiles still sticks his hand into the pan for a second handful before she has a chance to dump it out into a mixing bowl. “We could put some parmesan cheese on it,” Kira suggests. “Do you think there's any of that in the fridge?”
“You literally never know over here,” Stiles says. “The McCalls are, let's say, free-spirited and spontaneous when it comes to grocery shopping. There's either two jars of pickles and half a tub of sour cream, or there's twenty kinds of lunchmeat and four brands of hummus and half a lasagna.”
“None of that is going to meet my needs as well as the parmesan,” she points out.
“Roll the dice and take your chances,” Stiles says.
They come up snake-eyes on the cheese, but there's chili powder (three separate shakers) in the cabinet, and Kira finds that acceptable. “Does Scott do the cooking?” she asks as she doctors her popcorn masterpiece. “With a single mom and all.”
“Cooking,” Stiles repeats wonderingly. “You're adorable.”
She sighs. “I realize the world is full of grocery stores and take-out and frozen everything, but for some reason there's a voice in my head telling me that he will literally die if I don't make soup for him right this second. It's kind of gross.”
“It's totally normal,” Stiles assures her. “Scott has the heart and soul of an abandoned, undernourished puppy. Only sociopaths don't want to nurse him back to health.”
“I think he's pretty healthy,” she says.
Not his heart and soul, Stiles almost says, but he remembers just in time to keep his mouth shut. Scott likes this girl, and he'd be mortified if he knew Stiles was in here telling her what a pitiful baby animal he is. “Scott is a lion among men,” Stiles says firmly.
“I know,” Kira says softly, and Stiles gives himself a good mental smack. For a minute there, he forgot that Kira knows – everything she knows. That she was personally there for a good chunk of it. In his mind, she's still Scott's New Friend, and that's true, but it was a hell of a semester, and all the new kids – new pack? – got broken in quick. “I know a bowl of soup isn't the thing he needs, but....”
“Yeah,” Stiles says, because he really does get it. What Scott needs is for someone else to be responsible for saving the day occasionally, but what he has a shot at actually getting is soup and baked goods. It sucks. It sucks for Scott, not that he'd ever complain out loud, and it sucks for the rest of them, who keep making him metaphysical minestrone and watching him die of malnutrition. Metaphysically. “You're doing good, though,” he tells Kira. “I know it's-- you know, you deserve a guy who can put you first. And Scott's that guy, he's absolutely that guy, only he's – you know.”
“Yeah,” she says, giving the popcorn a morose look. “It's not Scott's fault, I get that. He's not the type to send mixed signals on purpose, and I know he's trying to show me he likes me. There's no possible way to do that and have a grieving process at the same time, and he's trying to do both, and he's kind of screwing both of them up. But I think it says something good about him, you know? That he's trying. He tries so hard.”
“He does,” Stiles says. “Scott's a natural-born try-hard. In the good way.”
Kira smiles, and for the first time since Stiles has known her, she looks a little like Allison to him. There must be a distinctive gone-on-Scott-McCall undertone to certain smiles. “Lionhearted,” she says, almost to herself. She looks up to meet Stiles's eyes then, and she sounds very serious when she says, “You can't have what you don't try for, you know, Stiles?”
“Hundred percent of the shots you don't take, yup,” he says. “Thank you for that very sensitive way of telling me to get my head out of my ass. You're sweet.”
“I am,” she says in satisfaction. “And so are you. We deserve awesome boyfriends.”
Stiles isn't a big believer in justice these days, but he doesn't want to bring the mood down, so he just says, “We deserve the awesomest boyfriends. Or two or three mediocre ones apiece, that'd be good too.”
“Wow, that took a little bit of a turn,” she laughs. “I like the way you think, though.”