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Exhaustion

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Sometimes, Scott felt like he barely had time to breathe.

When he wasn’t at school, working his ass off to get into the college of his choice, or on the lacrosse field, trying to take his team to the regionals, and then to the nationals, he was patrolling around town to investigate whatever new creature he heard about and generally helping to make sure it was safe, or helping his betas with their transformation, or working at the clinic.

He didn’t hate any of these occupations. Okay, school could be quite bothersome, but he liked learning. He just wished he’d have more time to… do it right. He liked lacrosse, a lot, he liked his team, and he knew they counted on him. Just like the town counted on him, without knowing it, like his pack did, like his boss did.

When he came home, he had homework to do, and more often than not he got a call from someone who needed him to handle a problem, because hey, this was Beacon Hills, of course someone had a problem of the supernatural type. Not that he was the only one who could deal with it, he wasn’t, but that was the thing. He could deal with it, and he knew he should, considering that if he didn’t, others would immediately take advantage of it.

They were watching him, he knew, even if they didn’t interfere. Waiting for the young, new, true Alpha, with the weirdly formed pack to let something slip. They’d be here instantly if he let go of any part of his territory. Would offer their protection in exchange for whatever it was they wanted. Money, land, people to transform, and sometimes, an alliance, against him and the people he cared about the most.

He couldn’t have that. Couldn’t do that. Couldn’t let it happen.

Even if it meant that he barely saw his mom anymore, these days. Even if it meant that every night, he missed the brief time window during which he could talk with his girlfriend, and that he hadn’t spoken to her in weeks. Even if he missed her horribly.

Scott had barely thrown his bag on the floor of his room and opened his books on his desk when his phone rang. He let out a long sigh and let himself fall on his bed as he answered it.

“McCall.”

“Hey, Scott, so, erm, Hayden and I were out—”

Behind him, Hayden let out a whisper, one he couldn’t miss with his werewolf hearing, though he wasn’t sure if she knew that, being quite new at, well, this whole thing.

“He really doesn’t need any details, Liam!”

“Yeah, so, we were out doing nothing in particular…”

Despite himself, Scott smiled as the couple kept bickering. These two were cute. He was happy they had each other. They were just one more reason on his list to keep pushing, to keep fighting. In order to keep them safe, and able to be— well, like this. He didn’t want them any more hurt, any more damaged by this strange and dangerous world they had stepped into by no choice of their own.

“As I was saying,” Liam finally managed to say, shushing Hayden when she tried to argue again, “we were out when we picked up the smell of blood, and I— I think you should come check this out. It could be just murder, but…”

“But it’s Beacon Hills,” Scott finished for him. “A murder’s never just a murder.”

There was a silence on the other end, before Liam seemed to come back to his senses.

“Sorry, I was nodding. Yeah. What you said. Can you make it or do you think I should call Stiles?”

“I’m coming,” he replied, pushing himself up. “If you’re with a body, Lydia’s probably on her way. That means it shouldn’t take long for Parrish and Stiles to arrive, too. Do you think you and Hayden are in any danger at the moment?”

Again, a silence. This time, one that told him that Liam hadn’t considered that possibility.

“I— I can’t smell anything. I mean, I can’t smell whatever did that to the body. I mean, I can’t smell it at all.”

Scott cursed between his teeth as his mind went over what could be responsible for that. It didn’t have to be supernatural, a human could confuse werewolf senses by using specific herbs and chemicals, but that wouldn’t be good. If they knew about the wolves and were trying — and, so far, succeeding — to hide from them, it could only mean trouble was coming.

“Be careful, okay? I’ll be there as soon as possible.”

“Okay,” Liam said, obviously relieved. “We’re on the outside of the town, you know, where there’s this great view of—”

“I know,” Scott cut him off with a smile. “Trust me, I know.”

He didn’t add that this was the spot where all teenagers met for the kind of things Hayden and him were out to do. He figured she wouldn’t like the comment all that much, and he knew she wouldn’t miss it.

“I’ll be right here,” he said again, voice solemn.

“Thanks, Scott.”

Once Liam had hung up, Scott finally let himself close his eyes. Unpleasant emotions were running through his veins. Not quite anger, but annoyance, certainly. This was the type of call he could have dismissed. Stiles, Parrish and Lydia would do a good enough job, probably, and typically, this was the police’s job. But Liam had called him for help, and the guilt would eat him alive for days if he didn’t go, especially if he did miss something important.

Though that meant missing the time window during which his girlfriend got away from the skinwalkwers training her. Again.

Quickly, he found her number in his phone and called it. It went straight to voicemail, as always, and he listened to her voice chirpily letting him know that she was Kira Yukimura and that he could leave a message, and that she’d listen to it as soon as possible. That wasn’t much, but it soothed him, to hear her. It also reminded him of how she had to record it five times, because she always got something wrong, and the big, bright smile she’d given him when she’d finally gotten it right.

It reminded him of how much he missed her and how much he wished she was here.

“Hey,” he said, hoping she wouldn’t notice the crack in his voice, “sorry, I don’t think I’m going to make it tonight either. Liam’s found a dead body, so I need to go check on that. Things went mostly fine yesterday, by the way, it turned out the wolves Malia had spotted were Omegas. There was a bit of a fight, but no one was harmed seriously. Figured you’d want to know.” He took a quick, short breath. “I can’t make promises for tomorrow night but— I’ll try.” I’m trying my best. “Again, sorry. I miss you.” He closed his eyes, calling her image to his mind, her smile, the glint in her eyes, the sound of her laughter. “God, I love you.”

He felt empty when he hung up, felt that he had never missed her that badly.

But, quickly, he grabbed his jacket, burying the feelings deep within himself. There were people who needed him, people who he couldn’t let down, people who he was happy to help, actually. It felt like a chore right now because he was so busy and tired all the time, but if he could just get a little time off, he’d be fine again. He was sure of it.

For now, though, it felt like the weight on his shoulders and on his chest would end up crushing him.


It was past midnight when Scott came home. As it turned out, the murder had probably been committed by a hunter, if the bullet full of wolfsbane he’d been shot with was anything to go by. He’d stopped at Deaton’s to clean the wound, and his boss had told him he would be fine, but the wound was healing slowly and it was still painful. Just another day in Beacon Hills.

He spent a brief moment in the bathroom, used to only be half-awake to shower and brush his teeth by now, and landed on his bed as soon as he was out. His eyes were closing on their own, yet he took the time to pull his phone out. Sure enough, he had a missed call.

He put the phone on speaker as he listened to his new messages. That way, he could almost believe she was in the room with him, and he didn’t miss her so much that it felt like someone had ripped his heart out.

“Hey, Scott, it’s me— I mean it’s Kira— I mean… Ugh. I should be good at this by now.” He chuckled at how exasperated she sounded, oblivious to how cute it was, to how much he liked hearing her being herself, because that was who he loved. “Don’t worry about it, trust me, I remember what things are like. I just… I hope you’re okay. Which is probably stupid, because we are both in life-threatening situations at all times. Which you know.”

Which he couldn’t forget about, indeed. The mention of the danger she was in left a bitter taste in his mouth. Most of the time, he tried his best not to think about it, because otherwise it would drive him insane that there was nothing he could to help her, that she could be severely hundreds of kilometers away from him and he wouldn’t know anything about it. Even right now, he had to fight off his wolf trying to claw his way through, something he thought he’d mastered years ago. His instincts told him to go get her, to go protect her, and he couldn’t. She wouldn’t want him to, so instead, he was stuck here. Away from her.

“Sorry. I’m doing it again, right? Anyway, don’t worry, my mom’s always happy to hear from me, and Lydia keeps me updated too, so don’t put anymore pressure on yourself than I know you already are, okay?”

Scott smiled. Damn. He wished she was here right now. He wished she was here so bad. Wished he could hold her in his arms, kiss her lips, feel her warmth. He’d listen to her telling him about everything she had gone through with the skinwalkers, and he’d never, ever interrupt her when she’d start to ramble.

“Today’s been fine, by the way, I’ve been— There’s this thing we do, I’m chasing my fox, it’s a bit complicated, so I probably shouldn’t get into it, but let me tell you, my fox is strong and stupid. It’s exhausting. Oh, and the water here is—”

And sure enough, the message was brutally cut there, with no pity for how much he liked the sound of her voice. He moved on to the next one. He knew it would be more concise, and that she wouldn’t sound quite as happy, and it made him a bit sad in advance.

“I really need to stop doing that. I just wanted to add— I love you. And I miss you.”

Suddenly, he could breathe again. He really couldn’t explain it, how those words, when said by her, had that much of an effect on him, but they did.

“To repeat this message, press one. To—”

Scott pressed one. Again, and again, and again. Until he finally fell asleep listening to the voice of the woman he loved and missed more than anything in the world telling him that she loved him.

With that, he might be able to make it through the next day, without crumbling under the weight on his shoulders. Because just like when he took the pain away from animals in the hopes it would help them heal, her love made it just lighter enough that he felt like he could handle it.