Chris gets clawed by a wendigo in Lonerock. Makes him limp for just inside a month.
Stiles says it makes him look hot, even if it’s likely to get them both killed.
They watch a girl die in Wichita. She has brown hair. Stiles grunts, punches him in the shoulder, says, “Suck it the fuck up. You don’t know her. She’s just a dead girl.”
So is Allison. He doesn’t see much difference, all said and done.
Stiles never changes his phone number. He keeps it charged, keeps it loud, stares at the word ‘Dad’ most days until it fades to darkness.
Chris doesn’t ask, doesn’t want to accidentally push him home when he doesn’t know how to function without him at his back.
It’s selfish but he’s come to terms with being a lot worse than that.
He says it in Reydon. Pushed up behind a barricade and on his last round. Says, “I should’ve taken you away, like Isaac. Should’ve gotten you out of this before it changed you.”
Stiles laughs, hoarse and strangled. “So you would’ve done it after I got possessed and killed a bunch of people? Ship. Fucking. Sailed.” He throws him that roguish look he sometimes does. The one that says he’s about to do something epic and stupid. “Douche,” he punctuates with a grin.
They survive. Make a career of it really, surviving where no one else does.
Sometimes they get calls, panicked voices who’ve heard stories. Sometimes they follow the road, Stiles resting his buzzed hair against the window and watching his hand roll through the breeze.
Stiles’ phone an inconsistent soundtrack to their wandering.
Chris yanks up Stiles’ shirt in the motel room with a gruff, “Let me see.” Gets mad because it’s easier than the thing making his throat feel tight. It’s deep. Deeper than he thought. Potentially deeper than he can heal. He works his jaw. “I told you, down.”
Stiles chuckles but it’s weak, not enough breath in him to fill it out. “Then it would’ve barreled down on you. This death wish has gotten old. A lot like you, Gramps.”
“It’s not a death wish.”
Stiles shrugs. Chris can see what the movement does to his insides. “Death agenda then.”
For twelve days, Chris thinks he’ll die. Stiles’ chest is covered in a splotchy flush and cold sweat. His sleep is restive, his breaths rattling, his consciousness nonexistent.
Stiles wakes up, tells him to, “fucking shower already,” and throws one of the pillows at him.
Chris’ lips twitch. He kicks off the dresser and starts the shower.
He tells himself he isn’t surprised when Stiles clambers in five minutes after him. Tells himself it doesn’t send a thrill up his spine. Tells himself it’s only Stiles who wants it when he bends Chris over, soaps up his crack and gets himself off between the cheeks of his ass.
The feeling of Stiles pressed up against him, of teasing so close to the idea of being fucked, has him coming hard against already sullied tile.
Stiles cleans him up after, letting his fingers caress his crack, press light pressure to his hole before pulling away. Chris has to bite his lip to keep from asking for what he really wants.
The car breaks down in Odessa and Chris springs for a bike.
Stiles smirks, bites Chris’ scruff. “This your way of telling me you want me riding bitch?”
It takes to the border of Mexico for him to answer. Says, “Stay and I’ll give you whatever you want.” He means to make it poetic, means to give it some subtlety. Instead he vomits his heart up at the feet of a man wholly incapable of dealing with anything so fragile and it doesn’t even feel reckless.
It’s what he wants, spelled out in black and white. Summarized in one word—Stay.
Stiles squints at him, sun orange, heat leaving them both in an impossible sort of stupor. He throws his phone into the Rio Grande and says, “It’s a long list so gird your loins.”
His mouth slides into a smirk. It doesn’t look hardened and mean. It looks old, like he’s trying on something he forgot he owned. It reminds Chris of a boy who ran with wolves, before he got in over his head. They wade across the river. Stiles’ laughter is sharp and bright, voice warm when he snarks, “Keep up, Gramps.”
Chris intends to.