Characters: Sheriff Stilinski, Stiles Stilinski, Derek Hale, Chris Argent
Genre: ambiguous gen
Word Count: ~1900
Spoilers: past season 2
Summary: The picnic is instigated by the mayor’s office and the sheriff’s department in an attempt to reunite the town after all the tragedies that had struck its inhabitants during the past school year. There are Argents present. So is Derek Hale.
The picnic is instigated by the mayor’s office and the sheriff’s department in an attempt to reunite the town after all the tragedies that had struck its inhabitants during the past school year. About an hour after the first people arrived, it seems to be going pretty well. Most families expected to turn up are here, at least, even if there is little intermingling so far. The weather is perfect: Hardly a trace of wind, no rain, not warm enough for Melissa to treat sunstrokes past the end of her shift. There is plenty of food but – thankfully – no music as of yet. The amateur lacrosse match is hours away. Krzysztof is content to sit on a blanket and listen to his son chattering about the litter of kittens that is keeping Scott-and-Allison at Dr. Deaton’s.
Until Stiles stops inhaling his homemade crab salad and goes very still, sets down his plate, and mutters “No. Oh, no.”
Krzysztof follows his son’s gaze to see Derek Hale at the edge of the field, striding forward in a straight line that just barely manages to avoid blankets and unsuspecting picnickers. It doesn’t take a genius to see that his current trajectory will take him right to the Argents.
For a moment, Krzysztof is unsure what to do. Hale has the same right to be here as everyone else. Judging by the look of uncontained fury on the man’s face, sitting back would mean letting a confrontation unfold that’s going to end, at best, in a brawl.
Before he can decide one way or the other, Stiles is off like a shot. His feet show no consideration for other people’s blankets. Mrs. Jenkins has to snatch a plate of cherry pie out of the way before a sneaker flattens it. A group of children stops playing at her shout of indignation.
Krzysztof has only managed a few careful paces himself when Stiles intercepts Hale with a hand around his wrist. About four families away, the group of Argents is watching his approach apprehensively – as are the mayor and those townspeople that have realized that something is going on.
“What did they do?” Stiles’ voice cuts across the field. He is walking backward in an attempt not to get bowled over as Hale ignores him. Krzysztof quickens his step, unwilling to see his son as a victim of violence again. Stiles, however, clamps his left hand around Hale’s second wrist and digs his feet in. “Derek, what did they do?”
Hale tries to plow on but doesn’t push Stiles out of the way. He walks them both forward another few steps until Stiles manages to slow him down at the very edge of the Tomlin family’s blanket, about twenty feet away from the potential ground zero. They come to a halt with Stiles leaning up against Hale’s forehead. “Derek. What. Did. They. Do?!”
Hale’s answer is too low for the Sheriff to hear. Whatever it is has Stiles whirl around and glare at the Argents, vibrating with rage. He doesn’t loosen his grip around Hale’s wrists, but the Sheriff gets the impression that he’s contemplating letting go and unleashing the bull he has barely contained.
Mrs. Tomlin, one of the few teachers that hasn’t gotten the hell out of Beacon Hills for a few weeks, looks as if she might cheer him on.
Krzysztof is acutely aware that more than one of the Argents – though not Chris Argent himself – look seconds away from drawing a weapon. A year ago he would have sworn no civilian would show up to a town picnic armed. Now, he catches the eye of Deputy Ringers. If this escalates they’ll have to do something about the surrounding picnickers and Stiles is in the middle of it all, again. What if Krzysztof moves too soon, what if he misses the right moment to interfere?
He has never seen Stiles this angry before.
In the end, Stiles makes a sound approximate to a growl and turns back to face Hale. “Do you trust me?” Off Hale’s glower, he shakes his head and leans forward once more. “Okay, no. You trust me. And since you trust me… Come on.” With that, he drags Hale away from his chosen path and toward the Stilinski blanket.
To almost every onlooker’s surprise, Hale follows with obvious reluctance but barely a stumble. He seems to give in at about the time they reach a scandal-smelling Mrs. Jenkins. Stiles, for his part, shoots a brilliant fake smile at everyone they pass. He even makes a little show of kicking a soccer ball back to late Deputy Conners’ nephews, all the while motioning frantically for the Sheriff to sit down before they reach their destination or else.
The Sheriff of Beacon County waits to see the last of the Argent cousins take his hand away from his backpack. Then he nods a ‘wait and see’ at Ringers and navigates back through the sea of townspeople, most of whom are starting to relax and gossip among themselves. By the time Stiles has tugged Hale down next to him, quite a few have turned back to their meals. Even the mayor has resumed playing Frisbee with his kids.
Krzysztof forces himself not to demand explanations. However much he may want answers to… a lot of things by now, really… he knows better than to interrupt what against all odds and Stiles’ age appears to be successful crisis containment. At some point during the past year Hale came to trust Krzysztof ‘s son. No matter how many lies said son has told him, Krzysztof likes to think he can sometimes still do the same.
Hale barely acknowledges Krzysztof upon sitting down. He tucks his feet under him and stares past the goods laid out on the blanket, hands clenched, breath measured, one of Stiles’ hands on his arm. “Okay?” Stiles murmurs, and Hale gives a jerky nod. Krzysztof decides this is not the time to distract either of them with a coke or a bottle of water.
Stiles uses his free hand to fish his phone out of his pocket. He doesn’t spare his father more than a quick glance either as he hits speed dial, says “Get here right now,” and clicks the phone off. Then he falls quiet and doesn’t move except for the pattern his fingers drum into Hale’s pulse point.
The footsteps approaching them shortly after belong to Chris Argent. Hale tenses but doesn’t lift his eyes from the spot he has found on the blanket. Krzysztof doesn’t miss the apprehensive look Argent casts at Hale’s fists.
Argent doesn’t step on the more than large enough Stilinski blanket, opting to crouch down on the grass. “What’s this about?” he asks.
“I want you to go back and find out which of your jokers came up with the brilliant plan to desecrate the Hale graves,” Stiles says in a carefully measured voice. Argent goes very still. Krzysztof can feel the blood leave his own face. Hale… growls, there is no other word for it. The pattern of Stiles’ fingers against his wrist doesn’t stop. “I want you to find them, and when you find them I want you to make them turn themselves in.” He gestures toward Krzysztof without really looking. “The department has better things to do than investigate such stellar examples of human behavior after all the shit that’s already gone down.”
Argent looks resigned.
He doesn’t accuse Stiles of making false accusations.
“And afterwards, I want you to find out how the hell they thought this was in any way a thing to do. It’s bad enough if whoever did this is a relic from Gerard, but if your people carry that kind of mindset around this will all end in bloodshed and not just in tears.”
Argent is nodding even as he seems very uncomfortable in his own skin. He glances at Hale’s fists again, which to Krzysztof look just as white as they did a minute ago. “I promise,” he says to Stiles, to Hale, and rises. Before he can turn entirely, Stiles stops him.
“I want you to know that this is something none of them would ever do. Not to Victoria, not to Gerard, not even Kate.”
Argent nods, shoulders hunched. “It wasn’t –“
“– Allison. I know.” Stiles’ ghost of a smile follows the man as he picks a path back to his family. Old Mrs. Tomlin still looks as if she wants to trip him.
Hale is shaking. When Stiles lowers the pace in his finger tapping he sags just the tiniest fraction. An outsider might say he ought to start up that conversation with the Sheriff about now, but Krzysztof is very much aware that he is being shown a lot and if he doesn’t understand it, that’s even more reason to pay attention.
Stiles is on the phone again. “Do you still want advice on an apology that’d mean something? …Go to the cemetery and find the gravesites and fix them. Yes, those graves. Take Isaac, he’ll know what to do.” He flips his phone shut and scoots a bit closer to Hale. “Isaac will take care of it,” he says softly.
Hale nods and speaks for the first time since Stiles made him follow him in full view of the townspeople. “I know. Thank you.”
“What I’m here for.” Silence. When the remark isn’t followed by more words, Krzysztof takes a second to check if his son’s fingers are secretly tapping Morse code. They aren’t.
Watch, listen, don’t ask questions that slam up walls.
Stiles cranes his neck and peers toward the Argent blanket, where a heated but surprisingly quiet argument seems to have broken out. As far as Krzysztof can see, nobody but Deputy Ringers, Mrs. Jenkins and the Mahealani boy is interested in the drama anymore. Danny is clearly trying and failing to be inconspicuous while watching Stiles and Hale with great curiosity.
“He’ll probably have them at the station first thing in the morning,” Stiles murmurs. Krzysztof nods when he realizes that his son is actually speaking to him.
“Coke?” he asks at last, taking the statement as a cue. It’s a testament to successful employment of sensitivity training when Hale doesn’t tense up at being addressed by the Sheriff but accepts the bottle with another “thank you” and a “sir.” He even readily agrees to help diminish Stiles’ crab salad before it goes bad in the sun.
The few desecration cases he has come across flash through Krzysztof’s mind as he eats. It’s hard not to imagine someone doing harm to Claudia’s grave and feel the helplessness. Wrestling down the rising bile with a sip of water – sneaking a coke for himself under the circumstances would not be good sportsmanship – Krzysztof distracts himself by picturing Stiles’ face when he inevitably thanks him for making it so he didn’t have to arrest Talia Hale’s son - this time.
In a few minutes, it will probably be safe to signal Ringers to stand down. It might also be a good idea to go talk to Mrs. Jenkins and make sure she steers clear of Hale if not Eliza Tomlin. See if the mayor really has all but forgotten the incident. After that, he’ll only have to make it through another few hours before Melissa’s shift ends and it’s time to assemble for the lacrosse game..