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posted by [personal profile] syncope at 07:33pm on 09/09/2012 under
I spent most of today harvesting lavender and capnip. I smell glorious.

Ok, here's my story that got way out of control, got a mind of it's own, and wouldn't let me abandon it (even though I tried).

Bunny betaed this for me, thought of the title, and basically put up with my shit. I thank her exuberantly.

This story is not Derek/Stiles.




Buoyancy

Danny's well aware of how awesome his life is. He gives back when he can—collecting for the food bank around his neighborhood on the second Tuesday of every month, mentoring the second stringers on the lacrosse team, forcing Coach to pick an Angel Tree Child at Christmas, and then there's Jackson.

Jackson hasn't ever been what he wanted everyone to believe he was. Jackson's fragile, he needs support. Danny's there for late night calls and picking up broken glass. He does it out of love, not everyone has Danny's family. Danny's whole family look out for Jackson, his mom always stocking up on Jackson's favorite snacks at Costco and his dad teaching Jackson to (illegally) build a firepit in the backyard to roast a pig.

The thing is, Jackson thinks he's slick. He thinks he can ignore Danny's calls and texts and dodge him in person. The thing about that is that Danny's not a dumb jock. Danny knows Jackson's patterns, and what’s been going on recently isn't the usual self-hating spiral.

Danny considers his options. He talks to his mom about the situation. She's always for going to Jackson's parents, because after all this time she still doesn't accept the reality that not all teenaged boys have heart to hearts with their moms. There’s always Coach. But not really. Danny knows something's sketchy as hell with Stiles and Scott these days, whatever's wrong with Jackson could be related to them (Danny's been suspicious since the Club Incident). Lydia, he wishes that was still an option. He can't do that to her, though.

When Jackson dies, that's a deal breaker.

*

Jackson's story about an epi-pen and the superior skills of the Beacon Hills paramedic squad is so weak Danny actually feels sorry for him having to shill it.

“Epi-pen, huh?”

Jackson doesn't meet his eyes. He rubs the back of his neck. He's one of the worst liars Danny's ever known, even without Danny knowing all of his tells. “They said it was lucky I'm in such good shape.”

“Are you juicing, man?” Danny hasn't seen any needles or needle marks, but what the fuck is going on here?

Jackson looks genuinely shocked. He meets Danny’s eyes finally. “How can you accuse me of that?” He's pissed. So situation normal.

Danny looks away, towards the paused game on the tv. “I had to ask. You're not yourself.”

Jackson barks out a laugh.

Danny can feel the shut down like reverb. Jackson's not going to give him anything, like when he breaks Lydia's heart over and over and eats his guilt. They both know Danny's not dropping the topic, just letting it go for the time being.

“The streak of perfect games this season is surreal,” Danny changes the subject to baseball to give Jackson a break.

*

Stiles owes him a few favors. Not that Danny is the kind of guy to call in favors. The point is Danny doesn't feel bad going to Stiles for intel.

What's going on with Jackson? Texting is easiest.

Stiles texts back immediately. U mean something nu?

Danny's disappointed Stiles is an abbreviator. I'm coming over. He's already in the driveway.

When Stiles opens the door, his baby face is a total mess. He looks tired, circles under his eyes and lines on either side of his mouth. “Dude, what happened?” Danny reaches out to hover his fingers over the gash on Stile's cheekbone.

“Crashed my Jeep,” Stiles doesn't put any effort into the lie/explanation, just slouches into the house letting Danny close the front door and follow in his wake. Stiles heads up the stairs. His room is the same as ever, but there's a vibe going on.

“How’d you crash your Jeep?” He's going through the motions, because he's not close enough with Stiles to push this.

Stiles shrugs. “You know, woodchuck in the road. Swerved.” He shrugs again, picks at his duvet and watches the rug.

Danny sits in the swively desk chair. “You know if there's something going on you can tell me, right?” Danny hopes he's reading this wrong. “...I mean, if you're experimenting you can ask me stuff. That if someone's hurting you, there aren't any judgments when you tell someone.”

Stiles tosses his head back laughing. “This is your very own After School Special, Stiles! What even is my life?” He pauses to pull in a deep breath and Danny is about to try again. “No, no,” Stiles waves his palms outwards. “While I appreciate that you're totally there for me, to intervene and get me some help, it's not like that. Wait, it's like I'm reading a script. But it really isn't like that.”

“So this is about the werewolf thing.” Danny didn't want to have to be the one to bring that up, but if Stiles thinks he can stonewall him, no.

Stiles suddenly looks like a cartoon character caught in front of a speeding train. He fake laughs. “What? Is this is a practical joke? Haha. Do you have a camera?” He looks around the room, with an exaggerated expression.

Danny sighs. “Stiles, you and Scott're always talking about werewolves at school. I thought you two were just into some hardcore gaming.” He smiles to lessen the blow, to make this easier. He really doesn’t know what’s happening, cosplay maybe? “But some pretty weird stuff has been happening the last year. Hard to ignore stuff. Jackson came back to life from the dead.”

He lets that hang there. Stiles cycles through several emotions, shock, confusion, worry. “Epi-pen?” he squeaks finally.

Danny tries not to show anything on his face. He's disappointed, but he's also a little angry that all these people he's known since he was in elementary school think he's this stupid. He stands up. “Look, even if,” he gestures to his own cheek, “that isn't about domestic violence, you can still talk to me. I'm cool with whatever, you know?”

Stiles sighs behind him, doesn't ask him to stay.

*

Danny spends the evening with Sara playing Wii bowling then watching Vampire Diaries with her narrating all the action as if she hadn't made him watch the whole series three times.

“So, what's up?” Sara cuts him a Look. She's wearing shorts that are too short for her age and a tank top he wishes his parents would ban. Danny spends a lot of time in the locker room, he knows what sixteen year old boys say about fourteen year old girls.

They look so much alike people used to assume they were fraternal twins—because people don't understand how fraternal twins work, so he figures her expression is how he looks to Jackson a lot of the time.

He rolls his head on the back of the couch.

“You need to stop taking all of Jackson's bullshit on yourself. He's a douche. You worry about him too much.” Sara got over her crush on Jackson last year, and since then she’s not been his biggest fan.

“Come on, kick me when I'm down.” He closes his eyes and tries to look as pathetic as possible.

“You're such a faker.” She turns the tv down. “I know you're mad. Why don't you ever just tell him how pissed off you are? You're such a sissy.”

They both laugh.

When the laughter falls away, she asks him in a soft voice “So, what happened with Alex?”

He turns his face away. “I don't ever know what happens, do I?”

*

He has a wet dream that night starring Damon from Vampire Diaries.

*

The thing about being the calm in the storm, the person everyone comes to with their problems, is that he's never really acquired someone to reach out to in return. Yeah, he has his parents and Sara for most things, and Jackson's great with the “he can go fuck himself with a buzzsaw, you're too good for him” speech. But he doesn't really have someone he can ring up and bring up his suspicions. Which aren't even well formed, more a crawling on the back of his neck and the gnawing in his belly he recognizes from long acquaintance is his worry about Jackson.

Of course, Jackson's still sketchy as hell about answering his texts and lets all of Danny’s calls go to voicemail.

They have lacrosse practice all year, so there's only a couple weeks off for Coach's yearly end of the season bender before practice starts back. Jackson skips the first one. A year ago, that would have sent Danny straight to Jackson's house after a 911 message to his mom. Now, Danny's not even mildly surprised that Jackson doesn't give two fucks about lacrosse even though the game used to be the center of his existence.

Scott's at practice, though. He looks bland and pleasant as always, but he's kicking it with Isaac while Stiles and Jonah (Greenburg) are tightening their sticks on the other side of the bench. Stiles looks up when Danny approaches them. He's getting better at hiding his emotions. That's always a bad sign in vulnerable people like Stiles.

“Hey,” Danny smiles at them.

“Stiles thinks that leaked Star Trek reboot sequel script is real. What an asshole.” Jonah speaks his mind.

“Why am I even talking to you?” Stiles moans. That's actually a good question. Danny resists the urge to look over at Scott and Isaac, because that's a dick move. Danny didn't realize that he and Stiles had so much in common. Estrangement is new for Danny, maybe newer for Stiles.

“Because Creepy Isaac has creeped all up in your bromance. Or you like my ass. You pick.” Jonah doesn’t have the same hesitancy about making Stiles feel like shit. No great surprise.

Danny sighs. “Don't call him that, man. The guy's been through some serious shit, ok?” People pick on Isaac too much.

Stiles looks up and blinks a couple times rapidly. He's obviously Having Thoughts. Danny knows not everyone has a clue about Isaac, but he always thought the signs were written all over him in neon. Stiles seems like the kind of person to notice Bad Home Situation written all over someone. Whether because of his personal loss or because he grew up a cop's son, Danny doesn't know.

Jonah leaps up. “See you fuckers later.” He lopes off. Stiles' phone beeps as Danny's buzzes in his pocket. Blarg, practice canceled. Your faces will make me barf.

“I'm glad I wasted the time I could have been watching Shark Week on my dvr on this fiasco.” Stiles stands up and opens his mouth to blow Danny off, but Danny's already falling in beside him.

“Do you want to come over?” Danny's not even sure if he has ulterior motives now. Stiles glances at Scott jealousy written all over his slumped shoulders and thinned mouth. Danny's stomach flips in sympathy. .

Stiles rubs his chin as he ducks his head. “Yeah, sure, why not? You have Shark Week?”

Danny doesn't bother repressing his pleased smile. “Ok, to be honest, I don't have Shark Week, but my sister does. She'll share if you give her fifteen minutes solid of interest in One Direction.”

“Oh man!” Stiles pumps his fist. “My favorite topic! Assuming there're also snacks.”

“Stick to your woodchuck story when my mom asks you about your face,” Danny murmurs with his eyes diverted. Everyone else might be ignoring the strangeness with fraught silence and diverted eyes, but Danny’s going to confront this head on to keep it away from his family.

Stiles’s eyes dance over Danny’s face. His mouth pops open but he stays quiet for a few yards.
“Ok,” he says finally in a tone Danny can’t read.

*

All families have their ways, and Danny accepted when he officially announced he was gay (there was no secret about this. ever.) that any boy his family hadn't met by fifth grade who walked through the door was going to be fodder for teasing.

“Do you box? That's pretty hot.” Sara's the most shameless. His mom mostly tries to get a promise ring out of anyone, his dad tries to sell the I-accept-and-can-learn-to-love-you-as-a-son way too hard. Sara exists to embarrass Danny.

Stiles flashes his open-mouth confused face. “Uh, er, do I, what?”

“He was in a car accident.” Danny sips on his juice box and aggressively slouches to show her he won't rise to her bait.

“Oh,” she instantly feels like shit. He smirks a little. Sara narrows her eyes. “Is he lying?” she singles in on Stiles because he's clearly the easier prey.

Stiles doesn't hesitate. “No, I keep forgetting about my face. Accident totally real.” Danny's surprised how flawless the lie is. He's completely convinced that even if there was technically a wreck, that it was part of some bigger event being covered up.

“So you hit your head? That's why you're hanging out with him?” She forks her thumb at Danny.

Stiles laughs, the sound is warm, genuine. “This is one of the better choices I've made lately, actually.”

The commercial's over, and Danny has to be very sly about watching Stiles to gauge his last comment because if he gets caught Sara will go to town.

*

His mom loves Stiles, of course. Luckily his dad works late so he doesn't have a full complement of horror with his dad offering guitar lessons or something equally as wretched. Stiles seems less frayed on the edges when Danny drives him home.

“That was fun?” Stiles looks at the roof of the car like he's mulling it over. “Yeah. That's what that was. Fun.”

“You're welcome whenever. It doesn't really get any more exciting. Unless it's the holidays and my dad is testing out the lights. Last year he blew out the entire breaker box.” Stiles laughs and Danny smiles at him. He can't decide if he's being a dick here, getting closer to Stiles so he can see what Stiles knows, or if this is more about needing to fill a pretty big hole in his own life.

Stiles reaches for the door handle and hangs his head for a second. He keeps his face averted. “You're right about Isaac. I hate to say it out loud, but he’s had a pretty shitty life and people need to ease up.” The laugh that follows the words is bitter and not something he ever expected to hear from Stiles. “Thanks,” his eyes flash over his shoulder and he's out of the car before Danny can say anything.

There's a really good chance that what this will ultimately be about is making sure Stiles doesn't go down the road that laugh promised.

*

Danny does have other things to do besides worry about Jackson (and maybe Stiles and Lydia and Scott and that whole three ringed circus). He tutors on Tuesdays and Thursdays. He has a fantasy lacrosse team online. He carpools Sara and her friends Monday and Friday when they have soccer practice and he has lacrosse. He’s designing an app for BHH for national disasters or emergencies. He has homework and jogs. Then there are the clandestine club nights.

He has things to do.

Jackson is quieter than usual, less prone to unsolicited jerkwad commentary towards Scott and Stiles. Danny keeps waiting for the meltdown, but all he gets is hunched shoulders and brush offs.

He to get real when Jackson just blinks at him when Danny invites him over on Friday to play xbox.

Danny rolls his eyes. “You know eventually you’re gonna have to tell me because you’ll need an alibi for your parents or a real one for Sheriff Stilinski.”

“Fuck!” Jackson blows the word out of his mouth with enough force to turn heads. He had clearly not thought of this angle. Danny doesn’t press. It’s better to let Jackson pick his battles. He meets Danny’s eyes for a second, and he’s wearing his twisted up face, the bare one that says he has no idea what to do.

“Anyway,” Danny breezes on. “You think Scott can get his grades up on his own? I don’t know if it would hurt his feelings to offer help, but I’m thinking about it.”

“Fuck that douche,” Jackson eloquently rejoins. The tone is conversational, though, no real fire behind the words. Jackson’s lack of venom is worrying.

*

Stiles is still bringing his A-game to the field. He scores consistently. Danny’s starting to wonder if he’s going to end up benched or switching positions if this trend of BOOM TALENT! continues with the team. He pokes around at that idea as he watches Jackson demolish everything in his path at practice. Danny’s identity isn’t tied to the game, so he guesses if there’s someone better than him he can live with losing his place. He won’t quit the team over it anyway.

Stiles jogs off the field smiling. His face is flushed from sprints. He pants a little as he grabs the towel next to Danny’s leg and flops down. “I really hate running. Have I mentioned that to you? I hate it. Running, it sucks.” The words puff out of his mouth in bursts as he catches his breath. “Coach can shove sprints down his gullet.”

“Maybe you should have joined the swim team?” Danny smiles so Stiles knows it’s a joke.

“Haha. Right, because that’s a safe place to be!” He dramatically shuts his mouth and changes the subject. “Hey, so you notice Coach’s got a new whistle?”

This is one of those awkward moments Danny’s gotten used to lately. Why are jokes about the swim team suddenly fraught? He watches Stiles twitch, his leg pumping up and down with what looks like anxiety.

“You’re mid-fielding has really improved. The pass to Michael was great.” Danny doesn’t like people to feel uncomfortable, it disturbs his aura.

Stiles turns his restless energy on him, obviously excited by the derail. Or maybe the praise. Both. “Yeah? It was mostly an accident. I slipped on a patch of wet grass. But it worked out ok!” He smiles huge and infectious so that Danny feels his own face tighten with happiness.

*

One of the things about Jackson that Danny’s always found endearing is that he’s a guy. Jackson is a guy stereotype. Like the Platonic Ideal of guydom. He only talks about his internal life if he’s drunk or has it pulled out of him in monosyllables.

werewolves r rl am 1

Danny thinks about Jackson’s guyness when he gets this message at 2:37 am.

A year ago he would have known this was some drunk prank.

It’s typical of Jackson to just skip any kind of conversation about this. When he broke up with Lydia the last time the text had been dumped lyd.

Danny lays awake a long time trying to wrap his head around not so much that people he knows (at least one) are either delusional or impossible creatures. Delusional wouldn’t surprise him at all. Impossible creatures is a weirder scenario. Eventually he just decides that if something is real or true, it is, and freaking out about it won’t make anyone safer or saner.

*

Jackson is ignoring him again. That’s typical of his behavior when he’s done something rash or dangerous. Danny thinks about heading over to his place and ambushing him. It’s not like Danny doesn’t have the right to do it. He thinks it’s probably not in anyone’s best interest, though.

It being Saturday, Danny has any number of things to do. What he does is show up on Stiles’ doorstep unannounced. Rude, but effective.

Stiles opens the door in a unicorn t-shirt and pajama pants emblazoned with little slices of pie. “Um, Danny?” Stiles just stares at him with his mouth open. “So. You’re here. At my house. Before noon. On Saturday.” He pauses, clearly intending Danny to jump right in there. “Why?”

“I hate to sound really dramatic about this, but. I think you know why.”

Stiles drops his chin to his chest, pushes the door all the way open, and waves his hand in a flapping motion. “Well then, come right in.” He turns and marches up the stairs. Danny closes the door and locks it before he follows.

When he crosses the threshold into Stiles’ room he pulls out his phone and scrolls to Jackson’s text.

Stiles squints down at it and his face flashes pink as his mouth falls open. “What. The. Fuck.”

Danny could point out that that is not a poker face. Considering the calibre of liars involved in what seems to be at least some kind of secrecy pact, Danny’s surprised they don’t live tweet whatever it is they get up to.

Stiles hands him back the phone like it’s on fire. “Drugs. I mean, he has the money, right? He must be on some serious shit. Maybe PCP. I heard that’s coming back. Also peyote gives you visions. Maybe werewolves are Jackson’s spirit animal.”

“Dude. Jackson eats egg whites and drinks whey protein shakes. He actually steams broccoli. No.”

Stiles goes frantic, pacing around and waving his arms while making non-word noises. Then he just stops. He stands still for a second and then spins around to face Danny. “You know what? This isn’t my job. If Jackson wants to get himself killed, who am I to stop him? My dad is my responsibility. You? You’re Jackson’s. Yes, Jackson is a werewolf.” Stiles waves a hand around. “There’s lot of other stuff, but I’m not making any executive decisions about what’s need to know basis and what’s flapping in the wind. How the whole town doesn’t know...you know, maybe that whole adage about ‘there’s something in the water’ is true. There’s stupid powder in the Beacon Hills drinking water.”

He collapses in his desk chair and slaps the tops of his thighs. His face says “bring it.” “What?” Stiles says in an aggro way.

“So, Miguel? Computer hacking? You and Scott suddenly being first line?”

Stiles sort of giggles. The laughter’s high-pitched and a bit demented anyway. “Me? No. I just have skills.” He smiles in a way that Danny thinks is mostly to himself.

Danny parks himself on the end of Stiles’ bed. “This is for real for real, not larping or something?”

“It is kind of larping, they larp they know what the fuck they’re doing sometimes.” Stiles brightens. “You know, maybe Jackson accidentally did everyone a solid. You actually know what you’re doing most of the time. Logistics. Planning. I’m sure you could make a plan that was more than two steps. And I’m pretty sure you’re not evil, which is not the case for some people I won’t name.”

“So when you say evil do you mean serial killers or demons? Please tell me nothing like Supernatural is going on.” Danny doesn’t want to end up in a time loop or literally burning in a pit of hell.

“Serial killers. But mostly morally ambiguous individuals or cray-cray wackjobs looking to get their revenge on.”

“So, you’re...just a friend of werewolves?” How is this even happening?

“I’m the brains of the operation, my friend. And also a friend to one werewolf at least.” He looks a little sour. Danny sits up a bit straighter. He thinks about prying, but Siles is more of a confessional guy than one who has to be cracked open. “Anyway. Glad to have you on board team wolf. We don’t currently have t-shirts, but I’m sure we could amend that.” He makes a thoughtful face.

“Tell me everything.” Danny settles back for a long monologue. “Everything you can, I mean.” Because he’s not really the demanding type.

Stiles starts talking. He goes on for a good half hour.

“...and then the Alpha Pack beat the shit out of Erica and Boyd to send a message to Derek or something else Derek hasn’t deigned to explain.”

Danny doesn’t have one idea what to say.

Stiles’ phone rings. He picks it up to look at the screen. “Scott,” he tells Danny.

Danny stands up. “I’m going to go do some rearranging of worldviews. Take your call.”

“You don’t have to...” Stiles starts.

“It’s cool. I promised my mom I’d mow.” He waves and gives Stiles a reassuring smile he doesn’t really feel. Stiles lets the call go to voicemail anyway with a shrug and a frown.

Danny leaves him to his thoughts, even though he thinks about giving him a pep talk. The mental images of Jackson with a long, lizard tail curtail the impulse.

*

Occam’s Razor, so everything about the recent past makes sense in hindsight.

Danny spends Saturday evening surfing around looking for useful information online while also listening to his dad’s zoning law woes and his mom’s entreaties for everyone to look at something on Pinterest. It’s really great that his family don’t do awkward silences and no one assumes he’s in a funk because he’s full of one word replies.

There are a lot of weird websites dedicated to the supernatural. That part isn’t at all surprising. Neither are all the furry boards--whatever makes you happy. What surprises him is how many sites/threads there are where people claim to actually be supernatural beings. You can be wrong on the internet in new and surprising ways.

“You’re quiet,” his dad raises an eyebrow. Oh. Well that was good while it lasted.

“Please don’t ask me about my love life.” His parents have boundary issues.

“Look at this! It’s a walrus with a bucket!” His mom turns her iPad around and Danny dutifully looks at the bucket walrus.

“Going out tonight?” His dad lowers his eyebrow. He’d been planning on it, actually. He was going to put on really tight pants and a shirt he’d tuck into the back of his tight pants early in the evening. But Stiles is IMing him links to sites he thinks are valid..

Danny shrugs. “Don’t think so.”

Sara strolls through the room wearing too much lip gloss and a skimpy dress. “Good, you can pick me up from hanging out with Karli then.” She just keeps moving, like a shark. Sure, she’s hanging out with Karli. He rolls his eyes.

*

Jackson acts exactly like he always does when their paths collide at school. He smirks and taunts freshman. He winks at Danny and bumps into his shoulder companionably. “What’s up?”

If that’s how they’re playing this, then Danny won’t make a fuss. Not in public at least. Not until he has the lay of the land and can make solid judgments about what Jackson needs, if being a werewolf will make him happy. Danny’s run out of ways to make Jackson happy. He wonders how Jackson’s perspective on his adoption has changed. That situation’s always been delicate. Danny knows Jackson must be even more strung out about everything now.

They make it through the day with Jackson normaling it away. Now that he knows to look, Lydia seems more fragile than usual. Her smile’s tight and she’s too quiet. She’s lost weight.

He texts Stiles after fourth period and tells him to come over after school or dinner, just some time tonight.

*

Stiles materializes while Danny’s doing laps in the pool after dinner. Danny’s mom waves with a big grin on her face from the other side of the glass door. He lifts an eyebrow and she fades away to either spy from a better vantage point or to find things to Pin.

“Hi.” Stiles plops down on a deck chair. “Your mom thinks I’m marriage material. I get that vibe from her.” He scratches his nose. “I guess that’s preferable to a potential criminal or the usual ‘aren’t you twelve?’ thing that I get all the time.”

“Everybody hated my ex.” He doesn’t feel like elaborating on that. “Is there some kind of structure to what’s going down with everyone? You know, a leadership model?”

Stiles jerks with full-body laughter. He points at Danny as he climbs out of the pool. Stiles hoots little broken noises. Danny assumes that indicates a very firm no. “Leadership!” Stiles finally gasps.

“Do you have some kind of loose plan at least?” Danny sits down in the chair next to Stiles.

When Stiles stops hiccuping, he bobs his head in a confusing way. “My plan is to stay alive and keep Scott as safe as possible. So far so good on number one, number two has been slightly less successful, but all in all everything’s working out as much as possible. That is, we’re alive.”

“I meant finding out about Jackson’s birth parents.” Keeping Stiles on track is a delicate task.

Stiles smiles. “As for that, yes, I have a harebrained plan that just might work!” He strikes a pose. Danny lifts an eyebrow. “It might be illegal, but luckily, Dad’s the Sheriff and all that.”

Danny can already see where this is going. “Does this involve breaking into the records at Town Hall?”

Stiles deflates. He waves a hand. “It’s all I got.”

It’s not really a bad plan. Danny has an alibi. “The information would be password protected.” That’s weak, and Stiles just rolls his eyes.

There’s no way anyone would believe Danny was doing anything illegal. Their county doesn’t have keystroke software, and it wouldn’t occur to anyone to do some CSI computer forensics out of the blue. Not that they would even know how.

He has one very good objection. “Dude, this is my dad’s entire career if we get busted.”

“The weird part is how I totally in every way know exactly how you feel. And worse.” Stiles doesn’t have to elaborate. Danny’s intimately knowledgeable about that restraining order.

Danny sighs. “I’ll swing by tomorrow.” Why not? Crime seems like Stiles’ hobby.

*

Danny’s never really been bothered by being a politician’s kid. He’s never really been into anything that could get his dad in trouble. Smoking pot regularly would fuck up his lung capacity. Harder things are scarce in Beacon Hills. As far as he knows. No one cares about underaged drinking, so that’s never been as issue. He’s never felt the need to dress all in black and make bomb threats on the school.

His dad being on the County Commission just means fundraiser bbqs and posing for Christmas card photos. It means smiling at strangers who recognize him at the grocery store and helping put out yard signs in the run up to an election.

Apparently it also now affords him an excuse to loiter around the Commission offices “looking for his dad” in order to hack illegally into adoption records. At Stiles Stilinski’s request. When Danny imagines someone even less likely to be a criminal than himself--bing bing bing!

Danny just randomly picks employee names and enters 12345 then PASSWORD for the password until he gets into the system. It takes two names. He’s conversant with the interface and the way the files are arranged because Beacon Hills doesn’t bother with professional IT admins since teenaged expertise is free. Danny wryly wonders how long it would take to overthrow the entire governmental structure of the county if someone dedicated even half their attention to it.

His phone buzzes.

Find anything

Danny sighs.

It buzzes again.

nvmind

The records aren’t hard to find. The population isn’t big enough to support a booming adoption industry. He clicks on the file and gets thumbnails of a birth certificate, court documents, what you’d expect. He saves everything on a flash drive.

He texts Stiles.

Don’t recognize the name.

He gets in reply: SUCCESS

Danny waves to Pam on his way out. She smiles at him and waves back.

Aside from the criminality of all of this, Danny feels like he’s letting Jackson down because he did this without his knowledge. Even if he had tried time and again to break through Jackson’s newest damage. Shouldn’t Jackson himself be part of this process? Danny feels like a failure for not being able communicate to Jackson that he’s there no matter what. There’s no way Jackson doesn’t need him right now. He’s just too stubborn to let Danny in.

*

Stiles plucks his bottom lip as he stares at his computer screen. “This couldn’t be easy. Just type the names into google and BOOM tax returns and previous addresses.”

“They’re probably not running for the Senate, Stiles.” Danny watches Stiles click through sites in an adderall-induced frenzy.

The door to Stiles’ room bangs open and Scott bursts through. Danny sits up, guilty conscience making him alert.

“Danny?” Scott’s face scrunches up in confusion.

“Hi?” Danny tries a smile and a wave.

“Well, hello, Scott. What can I do for you?” Stiles’ voice raises the hair on the back of Danny’s neck, dry, angry, rude.

Scott looks from Stiles to Danny and back and forth. “I need to talk to you. In private.”

Danny stands up. “I can go.”

“He knows, Scott. Chill.” Stiles waves for Danny to sit back down. Danny does.

WHAT?” Scott balls his hands into fists. His eyes flash yellow. Danny’s jaw drops open.

Stiles just lift an eyebrow and swivels his chair a little. He shrugs a shoulder. It’s a dare. Stiles reminds him of Jackson offering bravado to cover hurt feelings.

Scott deflates. “Ok, I guess.” He mirrors Stiles’ shrug. “I guess it’s safer for you.” He smiles a little at Danny before he turns his mad face back at Stiles. “Are you really doing favors for Derek behind my back?”

Danny’s immediately uncomfortable. This is a private conversation, not because of the supernatural elements but because of the interpersonal baggage.

Stiles huffs out an annoyed breath. “It’s not behind your back. You just didn’t know because we’re not effectively communicating right now.” Stile relaxes back in his chair in an aggressive way.

Scott gapes with his mouth open for half a second then his face turns hurt. “You could have told me.” Scott’s little boy hurt makes Danny want to step in even though it’s not anywhere near his place.

Stiles reacts by dropping his hard-man routine and leaning forward to rest his arms on his thighs.”Yeah,” is all he says. They watch each other in silence. Danny would prefer to be waxed than have to watch this intimate interaction.

“Ok,” Scott acknowledges and the tension in the room bursts. “Well,” he rubs the back of his neck. “Anyway, Derek wants to know if you found anything.”

Stiles opens his mouth and closes it again. He gestures emphatically. “You’re pissed at me and you’re running errands for him? What the what?”

Scott looks at the floor and then back up at Stiles from under his eyelashes. “Yeah, well. I mean he lost his phone in the woods and didn’t know your number.”

Stiles looks at Danny. “Remember that conversation about leadership models? This.”

Scott looks quizzical but doesn’t ask.

Stiles scribbles the information on a slip of notebook paper and Scott comes over to collect it. He doesn’t bother to read the names.

“Wanna order a pizza?” Scott smiles. Danny realizes he knows this guy even less than he thought and that has nothing to do with him being a werewolf.

*

“You’re hanging out with Stiles now?” Jackson quirks an eyebrow. Danny pulls his Econ book out of his locker.

“I always sort of did. We did our Science Fair project together last year. Which you know.” Danny slams the his locker closed a little more forcefully than necessary.

Jackson smiles and slouches in his approving way. “Anyway, thanks.” He bobs his chin towards his chest. “For what you did.”

Danny didn’t realize how much he needed Jackson’s approval until the giant grin spreads across his face. “You could have said something. But, you’re welcome.” He bumps Jackson’s shoulder with his arm as they weave their way into the stream of students trotting to class.

A phone tree would probably solve a lot of problems in this peer group.

*

Because you can’t be too organized (no matter what Jackson thinks), Danny decides to collate and cross reference information from the web. His main criterion will be to only document information that is repeated discretely at least twice. Its arbitrary, but he thinks getting all their information from Derek, the vet, and the Argents is...really stupid. Potentially deadly.

“Dude, you’re a neeeeeeeeeerrrrd,” Stiles spins his chair around and around. Danny eyes the coffee cup on the desk then the Monster in the waste paper basket.

“Yeah.” Danny shoves over some of Stiles’ trash and sets his computer down. “I’ve been tinkering with a couple algorithms.”

“NERD!” Stiles is laughing now, the little scattershot burble that’s a private thing. Danny looks him over. Stiles has his eyes closed, long lashes brushing his cheeks. He’s smiling and laughing with his head on the back of his chair. Danny can’t help smiling at the picture.

“Wouldn’t it be cool to find something like Mountain Ash and whip out the knowledge on Miguel the next time he’s trying to kill you with his brain?” Danny says it light-heartedly, but too many of Stiles’ stories involve being threatened.

Stiles pops up straight and toes his chair closer. “Let us nerdly commune.”

Danny clicks open a few tabs in Chrome and does not notice that Stiles smells like he peeled an orange recently.

“You know,” Stiles sits back and snaps his fingers. “If I wanted to post all my business on the internet but keep it secret? I’d just post it not in English.”

That seems reasonable to Danny. “Latin is the cliche.”

“Latin, pseudo-celtic bullshit, fake Native American garbage. I don’t think sage burning hippies would go so far as to learn Shoshone, so.” Stiles seems to mostly be talking to himself.

“Dibs on Latin,” Danny says in a rush.

“You bitch!” Stiles punches him in the shoulder.

*

About the time he realizes his stomach’s grumbling, Danny looks up to see Sheriff Stilinski leaning on the doorjamb with his arms folded across his chest. He’s smiling fondly.

“...I mean if it was me, I’d hide in plain sight and buy magic dot com and be all PUH-shaw, you think this is real?” Stiles has probably been talking for a while.

Danny steps on his foot under the desk. Stiles frowns. “What? Footsie?”

“I think Danny was trying to protect what cred you have as a functional human being.” Stiles eeps when he hears/sees his dad. “I thought you gave up on gaming?”

“Dad! You’re going to give me a coronary or a complex. What did we discuss about lurking? You shouldn’t sneak up on teenaged boys! I don’t think we need to revisit why. Danny doesn’t need to be traumatized by that story.”

“You can’t blame a man for enjoying the sight of his son enjoying something he’s enthusiastic about. I was about to ask you if you wanted to order Chinese anyway.” He raises an eyebrow. The fond smile hasn’t ever left his face. “Danny’s welcome to stay.” He fades away into the hall.

“I should have shut the door.” Danny sighs. “Sorry.”

“Dude, if he hasn’t figured it out by now, you know?” He shrugs, tries for casual, but Danny can tell he’s faking something. Probably guilt over lying. Stiles is essentially a really sweet guy who’s always trying to prove that he’s not as sensitive as he is.

Danny thinks about telling Stiles to just tell his dad, but he thinks Stiles should be allowed to handle his family situation the best way that suits him.

They have Chinese. Danny sighs internally when his eyes keep straying to the moles on Stiles’ face or when he can’t help laughing at Stiles doing a Fozzy Bear impression. Not good.

*

Danny crushes on people he shouldn’t. He figures everyone does. The awkwardness is universal. He can usually play it cool because he’s had so much practice. Usually he’d turn to Jackson to be mocked out of self-pity. Jackson’s good at reminding Danny to just be human and not set his expectations for himself too high.

Yeah, that won’t work here.

“What’s up?” Sara bursts into his room while he’s writing a paper on Manifest Destiny. “You’re doing your thing.”

“Am not.” He totally is.

“Why aren’t you over at the Stilinskis’?” She’s almost too perceptive.

“Homework.” He doesn’t look up at her. She’s a predator and he’s not going to meet her eye.

“Uh huh. It kinda hurts my feelings that you won’t tell me about your new boyfriend. You didn’t even ask me if I think he’s cute.” She pauses wanting him to look up and get trapped. He keeps his eyes on his computer screen. “He is totally cute. Even though you didn’t ask, because you’re being a asshole lately. You haven’t even said anything about my new shoes.” With this parting remark, she huffs out of the room.

His parents will have made the same assumptions. Maybe it’s good to have a built in cover story for all the stuff he can’t mention. But he hates lying to his family, even by omission and they’re all assuming assumers.

The problem is that his dad and the Sheriff are buds. Catastrophe looms.

*

He decides texting is the most cowardly way to broach the topic. So he picks that.

My family thinks we’re dating. I didn’t correct them. For reasons you should understand. Sorry.

His phone buzzes thirty seconds later.

U just figured that out?

Danny stares at his phone for a beat. He’s not used to being the clueless person. But he figures if he rolled with the werewolf thing, this isn’t really that big of a deal.

He goes back to his Latin Rosetta Stone tutorial.



the rest
There are 19 comments on this entry. (Reply.)
 
posted by [identity profile] elizardbits.livejournal.com at 11:42pm on 09/09/2012
01 why is everything italicized you html failure

02 i don't understand things that are not derek/stiles sry
 
posted by [identity profile] ethrosdemon.livejournal.com at 11:50pm on 09/09/2012
I'm rusty. I fixed it.

Also, you are not alone. I wrote this for the five people who feel otherwise.
 
posted by [identity profile] elizardbits.livejournal.com at 12:27am on 10/09/2012
also, put a link to the second half on this entry, you lazy assbutt

WHY DO I HAVE TO DO ALL THE THINKING HERE
 
posted by [identity profile] ethrosdemon.livejournal.com at 12:31am on 10/09/2012
I appreciate you helping me in the manner only you can.

I didn't even think about that.
 
posted by [identity profile] elizardbits.livejournal.com at 12:37am on 10/09/2012
i still hate you forever
 
posted by [identity profile] ethrosdemon.livejournal.com at 12:38am on 10/09/2012
Maybe I hate you back.
 
posted by [identity profile] elizardbits.livejournal.com at 12:44am on 10/09/2012
lol irl

nice try though
 
posted by [identity profile] ethrosdemon.livejournal.com at 01:00am on 10/09/2012
Ihu

also, I can't believe you're otping in this fandom.
 
posted by [identity profile] elizardbits.livejournal.com at 01:08am on 10/09/2012
my primary otp is peter hale/anyone but derek/stiles is a close second

peter hale/sassing derek might be #1
 
posted by [identity profile] ethrosdemon.livejournal.com at 01:10am on 10/09/2012
I heard a rumor that Sam's writing a Peter/Lydia fic. Maybe you can stalk her.
 
posted by [identity profile] elizardbits.livejournal.com at 01:21am on 10/09/2012
SHE IS BEING A LAZY ASSHOLE ABOUT FINISHING IT

SAM I KNOW YOU ARE READING THIS SAM

YOU ARE A JERKFACE

FINISH THAT FIC
 
posted by [identity profile] ethrosdemon.livejournal.com at 01:26am on 10/09/2012
SAM, LISTEN TO LIZ. FINISH THAT FIC AND DON'T FUCK WITH US. YOU KNOW YOU WANT TO. YOU HAVE BETAS AND SHIT.
 
posted by [identity profile] handsomespeck.livejournal.com at 04:48am on 10/09/2012
OH MY GOD YOU DICKWADS.

i have a very busy life of sitting in my house all day and wearing basketball shorts and eating peanut butter out of the jar while i watch toddlers and tiaras.

get off my balls.
 
posted by [identity profile] elizardbits.livejournal.com at 05:17am on 10/09/2012
DRINK SOME FUCKING GO GO JUICE AND GET TO WORK BITCH
 
posted by [identity profile] ethrosdemon.livejournal.com at 10:29pm on 10/09/2012
No. Behave. Use your words. I need to eat them.
 
posted by [identity profile] crowgirl13.livejournal.com at 03:35am on 10/09/2012
Ah, Danny! ♥ ______♥

This fic makes me so happy. Thank you for writing it.
 
posted by [identity profile] ethrosdemon.livejournal.com at 10:30pm on 10/09/2012
Hey, gurl.

I couldn't not write it. It just happened to me.
 
posted by [identity profile] cass404.livejournal.com at 08:12am on 10/09/2012
“It is kind of larping, they larp they know what the fuck they’re doing sometimes.” Stiles brightens.

Accurate.

Danny's disappointed Stiles is an abbreviator.

We are all disappointed about this. All of us. Well, I am. Same diff.

Danny! And Stiles! Nearly everyone else running around planless! Mostly I love Danny POV.

I would leave a longer comment but there's another chapter posted and I want to go read that instead. Priorities.
 
posted by [identity profile] ethrosdemon.livejournal.com at 10:32pm on 10/09/2012
This happened to me. Send the paramedics (hot ones only).

I'm glad you like my jokes. I feel like that was a test for people. You passed.

Any comment is good for me. It's been a long time, my friend.

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