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The Thing About Alphas

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It began on a Monday, as most horrible things do. Stiles had started the day off as usual, waking up to the familiar, yet still thoroughly annoying, buzz of his alarm at 6 a.m. hitting the snooze button once (twice, three times, the point was he managed to get out of bed before noon okay) and rolling (literally) out of bed. He threw himself into the shower, scrubbed down in record time and managed to inhale a couple Pop Tarts before zipping out the door at light speed. At exactly 8 a.m. Stiles walked into class and took his usual spot behind Scott. He also took a second to preen because he was clearly a master of time management. Wanting to share his newly (self) appointed title, he glanced over at Scott who had the most bizarre look on his face. Like he was about to throw up or something. And he was looking at Stiles.

“Dude, what’s-” Stiles started to say, just as the teacher decided to start class. Scott shook his head in a distracted kind of way and motioned that they’d talk about it later. Like Stiles could focus now. Sure, Scott’s nose was extra sensitive because of the whole werewolf thing, but if he was making a face like that, it had to be noticeable to normal people. So he spent the rest of class not-so-discreetly smelling his shirt, armpits, breath, and anywhere else on his body he could reach with his nose. Finally the bell took mercy on him and rang, signalling the end of first period.

“Oh my god, is it that bad? I swear I showered this morning. I mean, I didn't get to really work up a good lather and maybe I could have spent some more time washing-”

“Stiles! It’s not…you don’t smell. At least not the way you’re thinking. You just – your scent is weird.” Scott said, wrinkling his nose again and sniffing the air around Stiles.

“Oh.” Stiles said, visibly relaxing, then “Wait, weird how? Like sick weird? Do I have some kind of disease? Am I dying?? Oh god, I’m dying!”

“NO! That’s not what I meant! You just – don’t smell like you?” Scott said, not quite sure how to explain it, but wanting to calm Stiles who was by all appearances about a second away from having a coronary.

“What? Well how is that possible? Do people’s scents normally just change?” The bell for second period chose that moment to go off, so with a placating but ultimately unhelpful,

“No, but we’ll figure it out” from Scott, Stiles was sentenced to wallow about his changed scent and the impending doom it likely signified.

Chapter Text

The next two classes pass in a blur, and Stiles is sure he forgot absolutely everything the teacher had tried to teach him in the last couple hours. There was no time for something as mundane as school when tragedy was probably just around the corner. He practically sprinted down the halls cutting a few corners dangerously close and finally skidded into a seat in the cafeteria.

Scott gave him a once over and confirmed Stiles’ fears, “Dude, you don’t look so good.”

“Thanks Scott for noticing my imminent death. Please tell me you thought of something, I am literally freaking out!” Stiles said, clutching at Scott’s arm, only somewhat for dramatic effect. And then Scott laughed. He was laughing while Stiles was probably dying. Was this some kind of alternate dimension, or a cruel joke from the universe? Stiles could feel the panic in his stomach start to branch out a bit and the room felt a little smaller, more cramped. Scott seemed to pick up on the difference in Stiles and immediately sobered.

“Stiles, I already told you you’re not dying. I honestly don’t know why your scent’s different but as far as I can tell it’s not doing anything bad. We’ll go see Deaton after school okay buddy?” Scott said, pulling Stiles in for a quick side-hug and giving him an apologetic smile. Of course Stiles forgave him immediately (damn those puppy-dog eyes) and drew in a couple deep breaths to calm down. Truthfully he’d rather see Deaton now, but just because he couldn’t focus didn’t mean Scott was having the same problem. So Stiles spent his afternoon classes doodling in the margins of his notes and writing stuff down when he sporadically came back to reality. Finally the last bell rang and Stiles was out the door before it even stopped.

Unfortunately, Deaton didn’t have much of an idea about what was going on either. He asked Scott to describe the scent, but as Scott listed off what he could smell (woods, earth, various spices, which okay none of those sounded particularly bad) Deaton’s brow only got more furrowed. After a few more tests involving wolfs bane, mountain ash, some other mystical herbs, and way more time than he’d ever wanted to spend at the vet’s, Deaton gave Stiles his prognosis.

“Well, the good news is there’s nothing malicious or supernatural in your system that’s causing your scent to change. The bad news, of course, is that I haven’t the slightest idea why your scent’s changed.” Deaton said, looking mildly irritated and more interested than Stiles can ever remember seeing him. Stiles groaned and rolled his eyes so hard he was surprised he couldn’t see the back of his head. “My recommendation is that you just forget about it, unless you start to gain other symptoms. It could be as simple as a new type of soap or even just changing hormones…” Deaton trailed off for a moment like an idea had just occurred to him, but quickly schooled his features and kept talking, apparently deciding it wasn’t important, “In any case, stop worrying Stiles. If anything you’ll just make yourself sick, and there’s no apparent reason for that.”

So they said their goodbye’s and headed home, where Stiles promptly forgot all about not worrying. Something was wrong. So very wrong. At first glance you wouldn’t even notice, but Stiles saw it right away. His bed. The blankets and pillows. Everything was perfectly in place, and that was the problem. Stiles never made his bed and he knew for a fact hell would freeze over before his dad would make it for him. He inched warily closer and pulled back a corner of his blanket, even the sheets were on properly, the edges folded neatly under his mattress. It was already nearing midnight though, and Stiles was exhausted. He tried his best to remember Deaton’s ‘Don’t worry’ speech and cautiously crawled into bed, sans shirt and pants. With all the weirdness going on Stiles didn’t feel like putting in the extra effort to throw on some PJ pants. When fifteen minutes passed and nothing had happened, Stiles decided there was no immediate threat and fell asleep almost instantly. He was well into dream land and completely oblivious when the shadow outside his window shifted and disappeared.

The next day passed without incident, though Scott was quick to point out that his scent was still off. Stiles thought for a minute that it might be nice to get a second opinion from Erica, Boyd, or Isaac, but they rarely showed up to class. Too busy doing werewolf-y things. So instead he did a lot of internal sighing and pointedly did not worry. Until he got home again.

Once again the bed was made, but unlike the previous day other things were amiss. His dresser drawers were closed, which he distinctly remembered leaving open as he zipped out the door that morning. His sneaking suspicion was confirmed when he opened the top drawer and found everything folded. At this point is was clear to Stiles that something was definitely going on, and he made a mental note to shove it in Deaton’s face when he figured it out. Putting on his best research face and making sure he had an ample supply of energy drinks, Stiles vowed to not sleep until he got answers.

Ten hours later he had plenty of answers to questions he’d never even asked. Turns out there are quite a lot of deities associated with the home and cleaning and each one was interesting enough that Stiles had to look up more information. If they ever ran into trouble with Hestia, Frigga, the Lares of Ancient Rome, or the Gasin of Korea, Stiles was fully prepared and versed in their histories. But the ones that had caught his eye, and seemed the most plausible cause were the Cofgod, Brownie, or Domovoi. Now it was just a matter of convincing Scott that he had an invisible Dobby-like creature in his room. Should be easy. But that would have to wait until tomorrow (well, technically today) because once again Stiles had lost track of time and found himself regretting his life choices. The last thing he saw before closing his eyes was the glowing red of his alarm clock reading 2:15 a.m.

The next day of school started out terribly and got progressively worse. Lack of sleep is no one’s friend and Stiles was finding it extra hard to focus and not fall asleep because nothing the teachers said was even remotely interesting today. He made it to lunch, having only passed out once, and was fully prepared to spend his lunch break sleeping on Scott’s shoulder. He was almost settled into a comfortable position (Scott simply shook his head and laughed) when Isaac decided to grace their table with his presence. Most days Stiles would have just continued his search for the perfect nap, but apparently Isaac had other ideas today.

He nudged Stiles, a little rougher than necessary, and Stiles opened his mouth to protest but before he could say anything Isaac spoke, “Why do you smell like Derek, Stilinski?” Stiles’ mouth stayed open and he was sure he looked like a drowning fish as he tried to process and respond to Isaac’s question. Thankfully, Scott broke the silence.

“Wait, what do you mean he smells like Derek?” Scott said, a confused and mildly disturbed expression on his face.

“I mean he smells like Derek. Like a lot. Like they were rubbing all up on each other or-”

And Stiles finds his voice, “Whoa, whoa, we most definitely were not doing rubbing of any sort ever. I haven’t even seen Derek in like two weeks, maybe longer. Your nose must be broken.”

Isaac is clearly offended and flashes his eyes a bit to intimidate Stiles which does not work anymore thank you very much (okay, it’s still slightly terrifying). “Keep talking and your nose will be broken. You think I don’t know what my own alpha smells like?” Isaac says, clearly more invested in asserting his wolfiness than the newest dilemma in the strange drama that is Stiles’ life.

Once again Scott comes to the rescue with words of wisdom and a pronounced expression of irritation, “We need to go talk to Derek.” Which, okay not Stiles’ favourite plan but it’s somewhere to start. He doesn’t mention that his stomach is doing somersaults at the thought of seeing Derek again. Strictly fear related of course. This is going to be a disaster.