Pop Culture Moment
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Written way back in 2013! Summary: Geoffrey Stilinski overhears someone threaten his son's car. Stiles explains over dinner – not that “explains” means that it makes any sense.
Rating: T, for language
Standard Disclaimer: Not mine. MTV's.
Title: This Father-Son Moment Ruined by a Pop Culture Reference
Written way back in 2013 - before the Shefiff knew anything, and before we knew his name was Noah!
Summary: Geoffrey Stilinski over hears someone threaten his son's car. Stiles explains over dinner – not that “explains” means that it makes any sense.
Geoffrey Stilinski was sitting at his kitchen table, idly running a rough-padded thumb along one of the scratches in its surface. His other hand was slowly spinning a beer bottle, the asymmetrical rings of damp catching the light. Not that he was really paying attention to either of his hands. Mostly, he was paying attention to his son, and that damn Hale kid, in the front yard.
It would have been hard not to pay attention to them; they were both shouting at the top of their lungs. The Hale kid was roaring more than anything, but Geoff was impressed that his son seemed to be holding his own – at least when it came to volume.
“You can't just leave me behind! I'm the one that figured it out, for fuck's sake!”
Geoff flinched a little at his son's use of profanity, and mentally braced himself to apologize to all of their neighbors tomorrow.
“Good. Yes. Thank you,” the Hale kid responded, the sarcasm apparent even through the closed front door. The older boy continued a beat later, sarcastic shifting smoothly into patronizing. “It’s a school night, Stiles. You're staying home. This is not negotiable.”
Geoff could almost hear the Hale kid square his shoulders and turn, dismissing the argument and his son in one gesture.
“Well screw you, too!” Stiles retorted, his voice marginally less shrill than a moment before, though still just as offended. “It’s not like I don't know where it is! I don’t need you to get me there.”
“Won't get far in a Jeep with no battery.”
The roar of the black Camero starting up was almost enough to drown out his son's painfully loud shriek of... he was going to go with indignation. Yeah; indignation was a good word.
Geoff took a slow sip of beer and listened as the sound of the Camero faded into the distance, and the sound his son looking in horror at his car (though, he wasn't sure when that had become a sound) got louder. Not even a minute later, he watched as Stiles stormed through the front door, cheeks bright with emotion and lower lip nearly chewed threw.
“So...” he started before Stiles even looked up from glaring at the floor.
The floor lost his son's attention pretty quickly after that.
“HOLY SHIII - hi, Dad.”
He would never get over how expressive his son was. One second Stiles had looked ready to spit bullets, lower lip caught between bared teeth, eyes narrowed to sharp, heated slits. The next second he was a new-born faun on a frozen over lake.
“You and your friend were fighting,” he said after a long, awkward silence stretched between them. Not that he wasn't used to things getting awkward with his son. Though, admittedly, he was less used to silences.
“Yeah...” Stiles huffed, seeming to use the breath to get his body back under control. He finished walking into the kitchen, and shrugged his jacket off in a smooth, aggressive motion that struck Geoff as... new.
Not new, like his son wasn't used to the move; it didn't look practiced or forced. More new, like Geoff had never seen it before. New, like something only recently picked up, but seemed to fit his son surprisingly well. It was a little off-putting, and Geoff filed it away to think about later.
Stiles slung the jacket over one of the dinner room chairs, then headed to the fridge without pausing.
“Sorry about that. Derek was just...”
His son pulled a pan from under the counter, then set it on the stove, flicking the burner to high without really looking.
“I don't know... being a dick.” Stiles sighed while he pulled frozen veggies from the freezer and some pre-cut chicken from the fridge. “As usual.”
Geoff let the profanity slide. “Did I hear him say he took the battery out of your Jeep?”
Stiles froze a second, reaching for the low-sodium soy sauce.
A second later, the soy splashed into the pan with a hiss.
“Oh. Yeah. We were kind of loud, weren't we? Sorry. But, yeah, no. I mean. Yeah, he took it, but he'll put it back when he... ah... goes to work in the morning. It’s no big. He's just being a douche and not letting me tag along tonight.”
Geoff was pretty sure the next bottle to tip into the pan was sesame seed oil, but only because he'd had a very nice, very young, very friendly grocery store clerk point it out to him. Three times.
That hadn't been his favorite shopping trip.
“Shhhi-” Stiles continued, stirring the contents of the pan angrily. “I can't believe he actually said 'it’s a school night.'”
It was a fairly good impression of the Hale kid; shoulders drawn back, chest puffed up, and voice dropped low and gravely. He could almost see a chip appearing on his son's shoulder as he mocked the older boy.
Geoff let him have his moment of spite, then commented flatly, “Well, it is.”
His son audibly came up short at that, his eyebrows traversing the entirety of his forehead as he searched for words.
He didn't find any. Not that Geoff had expected otherwise.
“Um... yeah. I... I know. It’s just... um...” Stiles trailed off lamely, turning back to the quickly heating stir-fry. One of his son's energetic hands reached blindly to the cupboard on the left of the stove, and snatched a bottle of toasted sesame seeds from the bottom shelf. Geoff recognized the bottle as coming from the same shopping trip as the sesame seed oil.
“What was he trying to keep you from getting into? You know, on a school night?” he asked as he got up from the table, moving quietly to retrieve two plates, a set of chopsticks, and a fork.
“Ummm...” Stiles replied slowly, his mouth twisted to the side. “Nothing. Just, um, shenanigans.”
He didn't bother to hide his scoff.
“You 'figured out' shenanigans?” he asked, laying the sarcasm on thick. No matter what the therapists' said, sometimes sarcasm was a good thing. Sometimes it was the only mutual language they had. Luckily, this wasn’t one of those conversations.
“Wow,” Stiles said as he turned off the stove and carried the pan to the table. “Loud doesn’t even cover what we were, does it?”
“Eh,” he replied with a shrug, holding his plate steady while Stiles served him some of the stir-fry. “I probably could have gotten louder. You know, with a bull-horn.”
His son chuckled at that, ducking his head to hide a thin, embarrassed blush. After scooping a generous serving onto his own plate, Stiles set the pan back on the stove, then sat down. Geoff waited until his son was eating, somehow managing to get more into his mouth with chopsticks than he could have managed with two forks, before pushing.
“So - shenanigans?”
Stiles rolled his eyes and shrugged. “It’s no big thing,” he said past a mouth-full of food shoved into one of his cheeks. “I just found an old lumber mill out in the reserve. Derek does this whole parkour thing, and Scott and I figured it would help with Lacrosse if we practiced with him. You know, stupid manly sports stuff.”
His son lied smoothly, he could admit that. If he had been anyone else, he might have missed it. But, in addition to being the sheriff, he’d also had sixteen and a half years of experience when it came to reading his son.
It wasn’t a big lie, though. A small one. Maybe a harmless one. Caught somewhere in the middle of all that’d been said – somewhere between the lumber mill (truth) and practice (also truth). He chalked it up to the perpetually twisted logic of the teenaged mind. It probably had something to do with beer, or pot, or fireworks.
“So now I have to thank Derek for vandalizing your car?” he asked, sounding incredulous. And, maybe, just a little aggravated.
Stiles stopped mid-chew to gape at him; his son knew perfectly well that Derek Hale was not his favorite person.
Geoff used his fork to gesture pointedly across the table. “For keeping you from trespassing. For keeping you from crashing around some dilapidated structure, stepping on some rusty nail, and needing to go the emergency room – again – for a tetanus shot. Or worse; a broken limb.”
Stiles had the grace to swallow before replying.
“Okay, fine, when you put it that way,” he said petulantly, before shoving another impossibly large clump of food into his mouth. “Doesn’t stop him from being a dick.”
“Stiles –” he sighed, lifting a brow at his son’s choice of words.
Stiles glared into the middle distance while scooping the last of his food from his plate – which shouldn’t have been physically possible. They hadn’t been sitting down even five minutes; there was no natural way Stiles had eaten all of that food already.
“Sorry, Dad,” his son replied, sounding contrite. But then his tone changed, shifting quickly into a higher octane gear. “But, come on! So, yeah, preventing me from breaking the law… or my leg. But it’s still a douche move! He’s all ‘Stiles, don’t jump on that, it’s dangerous,’ and ‘Stiles, don’t run that way, it’s dangerous,’ and ‘Stiles, shut up or I’ll punch you.’ Who died and made him king? Well, actually... you know what? Doesn’t matter. And you know why? Because I don't need the Jeep! I mean, don't get me wrong, I love my girl. But, shit, he gets to run around in the freaking Batmobile, and Jackson has a damn Porsche. Maybe I'll just get a motorcycle! And I’ll store it in the garage! Can’t stop me then!”
“Son...” Geoff gently interrupted his son's tirade. “You're not getting a motorcycle.”
Stiles paused, Geoff’s tone easily cutting through his moment of frenzy.
“Oh... yeah...” Stiles smiled wryly, waving a hand that clearly said ‘I didn't mean it. “I know. Motorcycles are just one-way rides to organ donation. I know, I know.”
Stiles pushed himself up from the table with a jolt, the energy from his rant now shunted into his limbs. With jerky movements, he rinsed his plate, then put it and the chopsticks into the dishwasher. While he dried his hands, he growled, “It’s just… I figure things out! It’s what I do. I see the things, and I put them in order, and I make them make sense. Everyone else just growls.”
Geoff very purposely did not say, like you are now. But it was close.
Stiles continued, blissfully unaware. “And I get told to stay put ‘cause I might trip and, I don’t know, break a nail or get a paper cut or something.”
Geoff put another forkful of food in his mouth to keep himself for commenting. Because, really, tripping wasn’t a new thing for his son.
Apparently done with that little bit of rant, Stiles returned to the table with three quick, rocking strides. His footfalls were nearly silent, and when he slid back onto his chair, the motion ended like… Well, he wasn't sure. It was like a bird or a cat coming to a stop; like he'd been at rest the whole time, like movement was still waiting to happen rather than had just ceased.
This, too, was new.
Geoff tucked the observation away, along with the jacket, and took a drink from his beer.
A moment later, the odd almost-stillness evaporated, and Stiles slumped over the table like a tuckered-out puppy.
“Who am I kidding?” his son asked with a resigned sigh. “I'm just soft, squishy Stiles. I won't be getting a motorcycle, and I won't be out on school nights gallivanting around with the Pack...”
Stiles’ shoulders stiffened minutely, then he cleared his throat.
“Of idiots. The pack of idiots. That are my friends.”
Geoff just raised an eyebrow, and took a bite of his stir-fry.
“Even with them, it’s not like I can get into too much trouble,” Stiles continued once the odd tension left his shoulders, rolling his eyes as if to emphasize the sarcasm. Though, there was a fond smile tugging at his mouth, so Geoff didn’t take the ire too seriously. “It’s almost funny watching them try to run interference between me and my arch nemesis, Gravity. Sour wolf's always snapping at me to watch my step and do my homework. Scott's always telling me not to do anything too stupid – which, gah, he’s one to talk. Hell, even Jackson’s like the biggest, jockly-est older brother I never wanted.”
Stiles looked across the table, and smiled. Geoff smiled back.
“And then, you know,” his son continued, almost to his usual level of cheer. “I have this awesome dad, who's also the town sheriff. So it’s not like I’m gonnaaaaaOH MY GOD!”
Stiles' transition from amusedly resigned to utterly horrified was so seamless, Geoff was at once shocked and mildly entertained. He probably ought to have felt a little guilty for that.
But then he watched as his son sprung up from the table, his eyes darting from his hands, to the stove with the rest of their dinner, and back to his hands. His son’s eyes even swung up to him for a second, before looking back at his hands like they were something alien. Stiles' mouth hung open in an expression Geoff recognized from the one time he had admitted that, yes, parents have sex; it was a strange mix of mute horror and the understanding that this knowledge could never be not know again.
“No...” Stiles whispered, his voice hollow with shock.
Geoff carefully put his fork down.
“Son?” he started, not entirely sure how to proceed.
Stiles remained quiet another second longer.
Then he looked up.
“I'm Bella Swan.”
Geoff had no idea what that was supposed to mean. From the look on Stiles’ face, though, he got the impression that it wasn't a good thing.
Stiles made a noise that, he was pretty sure, was mostly vowels and denial. Then he was yelling. “Oh. My. GOD! I'm Bella Swan!”
Geoff rose from his chair slowly, edging around the table with care.
“Son, I... it can't be that bad? Right?” he asked, trying to bring his son down from whatever ledge of teenaged-horror he was standing on.
“Yes! I mean – No! I mean – ah!” Stiles nearly shouted, backing farther from the table, once again as gangly as a deer on ice.
“How... how is this my life?! How… Oh. Oh God. I... I... I have to go shower.”
Stiles spun on his heel, and ran for the stairs. He threw one last look over his shoulder as he made the first step, glaring at the kitchen like it had betrayed him. Then he was gone.
Geoff watched the stairs until he heard the water come on, then made his way back to his dinner.
He loved his son. But, sometimes, he felt like they were living in two different worlds.
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