kyrene_writes: (TW: stiles)
[personal profile] kyrene_writes
Title: yet you remain
Author: [personal profile] kyrenekyorl
Pairings/Characters: Derek Hale/Stiles Stilinski (implied), Peter Hale/Stiles Stilinski (implied), Scott McCall, Allison Argent, Isaac Lahey (mentioned briefly)
Rating: PG
Word Count: 2,843
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Summary: Obediently, even though she wasn't the Master, Stiles rolled over the edge of the bed and walked out of the room. Behind him he heard the crisp sound of scissors slicing through paper, and something inside of him twisted.


"yet you remain"
by kyrene


"pray for daylight, pray for morning, pray for an end to our deception"

The bed was strewn with scrapbooking materials, but there was still room enough for Stiles to rest on his belly beside Allison. The mattress was firm beneath him and he propped himself up on his elbows. Allison was sitting crosslegged, her dark hair mostly caught back by clips, long curling strands falling to frame her pale, heart-shaped face, her red tunic reflecting rose-tones into her smooth cheeks while she intently worked.

"Why are you doing that?" Stiles asked, watching lazily as she carefully cut out an "o" in two pieces. Like two thin slivers of the horned moon, perfectly matching, achingly precise bits of cream-colored paper that she had extracted from a solid sheet with technical precision. She pasted them into the rest of the word, paper glued on different paper, the pointed tips almost touching, and they went from two small scraps to something that had meaning. Something that had meaning because it had been given meaning.

Allison looked up from her delicate work and smiled at Stiles, deep dimples flashing. "So that I can remember," she replied softly.

"That's what our data banks are for," Stiles replied, not quite scornfully but not very far from it.

Allison sighed and set down the sharp silver scissors she'd been wielding. "I know. But I want to do more than that. I want to capture the emotion. So that anyone who looks at this will be able to tell how I was feeling. And maybe they can have their own feelings."

"Why do you bother?" Stiles mumbled, propping his chin on his hand. The sun was bright in the thick waves of Allison's hair, raising auburn highlights out of the darkness. "It doesn't matter to anyone."

Allison didn't get angry or take offense. After all, she was the same as him, so she understood what he meant. She cast her gaze down, lashes thick on her creamy, flawless cheeks, hiding the warm brown of her eyes. "It matters to me," she replied softly, toying with the discarded bits of paper and ribbon that littered the blankets underneath them.

"We're just Constructs," Stiles said, frowning. He didn't really like hurting Allison's feelings, but what he said was true.

She looked at him and instead of anger or sorrow -- emotions Stiles could remember having felt before he became numb -- she seemed quietly amused, her pink lips quirking in a crooked line.

"Oh, go outside, Stiles," she instructed with affectionate exasperation.

Obediently, even though she wasn't the Master, Stiles rolled over the edge of the bed and walked out of the room. Behind him he heard the crisp sound of scissors slicing through paper, and something inside of him twisted.

Stiles glanced at the patio doorway, which was open to let the afternoon sun in. The light lay over the marble floor tiles in thick golden swathes, and he knew that it would be nice out there, on the balcony, with the potted plants and the ornate benches. That was where Allison had meant for him to go when she's said "outside"....

Instead, Stiles found himself standing before the outer door. It opened easily and the hall beyond was wide and sterile. His bare feet padded on the metal floors with small smacking sounds that bounced back at him off the walls and ceilings.

The few people that Stiles passed glanced at him, but none of their eyes lingered. His red tunic and breeches stood out, after all, marked him as property, as a belonging, as a Construct. But Constructs were sometimes sent out on errands, and he didn't belong to any of them. He wasn't anything remarkable, nothing unique.

At the end of the hall the elevator doors slid open. Stiles could make out a familiar figure; tall and strong, dark-haired, pale-eyed, with stubble shading the fringes of a grim expression. It was Derek, nephew of the Master, and the man in charge of the Master's security.

And so that was it. Stiles was done with him impromptu little walk. There was no way Derek would let him continue....

But the itch under his skin was still there and Stiles needed to get out, needed to be something more, even if only for a few moments.

And Derek hadn't seen him yet.

Quickly, Stiles slipped through a nearby door. He recognized the symbol on it as meaning it was for staff only, but it wasn't locked and no one was in the small room full of cleaning supplies that he found on its other side. At the back of the room was another door marked "stairs" which also was not locked, and which Stiles let himself through.

The stairs that were there as promised took him all the way to the ground floor, passing through all the secret, hidden places that the Inhabitants never saw. Stiles passed a few workers in their drab gray-blue uniforms, but none of them tried to stop him. He was only a Construct, but down here, in the belly of the building, a Construct still outranked a janitor or a laundry maid.

Finally Stiles found his way down and out, emerging into the Lobby.

Stiles had been in the Lobby a few times, with the Master, but he always forgot how huge it was. Almost like being Outside, only with more velvet and ferns, and less sky. The ceiling vaunted overhead, ivory and golden. He could also see the heat and warmth of real sunlight, beckoning, in the distance.

Stiles didn't think he'd make it across the Lobby unchecked, but once again, no one stopped him. "Walk as though you have a purpose and people will think you're supposed to be there." Stiles could remember the lesson, but he couldn't recall who had trained it into him. Further proof that his data banks were imperfect and that there was something wrong with him.

Not that he needed more proof. The numbness inside him had been overridden by a strange hollow ache that filled his chest, and there was still an itch that made his skin crawl. He shouldn't want anything, and yet he did.

So obviously there was something wrong with him.

The front doors were heavy, and unlike the other doors he'd encountered they required a cardkey. Stiles didn't have one. He wasn't technically an Inhabitant.

But the door opened even without a cardkey, letting a flood of fresh air in, and setting off a loud alarm that Stiles barely heard for the unexpected buzzing in his ears.

Outside. He was Outside. Not on the patio outside, but really Outside. Where he wasn't Stiles. He wasn't simply a broken Construct. He could pretend that he belonged to himself. The air he breathed out here did not belong to the Master.

Stiles loved the Master. He was a good man, even though he hid this truth behind a quick tongue and sharp humor and the occasional burst of temper. At least he'd never punished Stiles for snarking back at him, which was good because Stiles really couldn't help himself. It wasn't the worst thing in the world, being owned by the Master. It was certainly comfortable.

But was it so wrong for Stiles to want something for himself? To want to breathe his own air? To want to be his own being?

The gravel was sun-warmed and coarse beneath the soles of his bare feet, as nothing in the Penthouse had ever been coarse or harsh. The air was cool but the sun was warm, and the grass was so green.

Stiles vaguely heard men shouting, but his senses were overwhelmed with taking in and processing the new reality of the place that he found himself. It shouldn't have been different from being on the patio, it was still a garden area maintained by the groundskeepers of the Building, and yet there was something so very different about being here.

Freedom.

Just as Stiles realized that this was the key difference, he heard the gunshots and felt a searing pain in his upper left arm. He jerked and then swayed but still the men yelling at him didn't much matter. They were less real to him than the idea of freedom, and now he thought he understood Allison's scrapbook. Sometimes the idea of something was more powerful than the reality of being a Construct.

"What are you guys doing?!"

The loudly yelled question shook Stiles out of the strange haze that had overtaken his thoughts. He knew that voice, knew the flashing eyes under floppy black bangs, and the lithe body clad in brown leather that suddenly appeared between himself and the men with the guns. It was Scott, who was apprenticed to the Master, and suddenly Stiles was filled with a fear he hadn't felt for himself. Surely they wouldn't shoot Scott, would they? He was real and not a Construct! So, then, why was he protecting Stiles as though he mattered?

"Are you idiots?!" Scott yelled, half turned toward Stiles but making sure to remain between him and the men. Stiles liked Scott. He didn't think he liked the men with the guns.

"That Construct doesn't have clearance," one of the men snapped out, his voice clipped, but gun barrels were rising or lowering now, pointing away from Scott. "Our orders in this situation are to neutralize the danger."

"What danger?" Scott's hands were firm and steady on Stiles when he felt as though he was going to float away. His head was light, like it was filled with air, and the ringing in his ears was getting louder. "He's a Pleasure Construct; what danger could he possibly be?!"

Stiles mused foggily over the fact that he'd never heard Scott sound so angry, so outraged. He was normally an easygoing young man, usually cheerful, and Stiles really did like him. But right now the world was swimming around him, and he was having a little trouble focusing on anything.

"Any Construct that disobeys orders and takes initiative--"

"Are you bleeding?" Scott interrupted the man, his voice going up high and loud. Stiles thought Scott might be speaking to him now, instead of the men with guns. He tried to open eyes he hadn't even realized had slipped closed. The sun was warm on him where Scott's bulk wasn't blocking it, but Scott's touch felt warmer still. Stiles was cold, his fingertips like ice, and he didn't know why when the world around him, the Outside, was so warm and sunny. "You bastards shot him?!"

"Our orders were--" the man began again, but Scott wasn't listening. He scooped Stiles up in his arms as though he weighed nothing and then he was carrying him back inside.

Inside was away from the freedom, but it was Scott, so it was okay. Besides, freedom was too big and scary to take on all at once. And Stiles couldn't appreciate it when he couldn't bring the world into focus.

What was wrong with him?

"They fucking shot him," he heard Scott tell someone, and he realized that his eyes had closed again, but he didn't have the energy to open them. He heard the Master's voice, and he knew he ought to be frightened and ashamed because he'd defied the Master, had left the building without instruction; against orders, even.

But he had only wanted to take a walk. He hadn't been going to leave. And what he did didn't matter anyway. Because he was only a Construct.

And then everything began to shut down and he lost track of where and when he was, of what was happening to him. It was like falling asleep, only it happened all at once.

Stiles slipped into unconsciousness with a faint feeling of surprise.

###

Funny how the blood was a different shade of red from Stiles' tunic where it soaked into his sleeve, Scott mused, gnawing on his lower lip and shifting from foot to foot, wanting to move closer but not daring to get in the way.

Derek had taken Stiles from Scott almost as soon as they were inside, lowering his lax body onto one of the fine sofas without any regard for the flawless white velvet of its cushions. But then, who was going to protest the ruining of the piece of furniture, whether it had more value than a Construct or not, when Derek's face was such a violent thundercloud, and Peter was standing over the tableau, looking just as furious and even more scary?

Peter loudly demanded someone fetch a MedKit and then sent Isaac to go and get the HouseCar. Scott hovered, doing his best to ward off gawkers, trying to make sure that Derek had plenty of room to work as he tended to Stiles.

In contrast to the towering rage Peter was working up to as he strode over to castigate the guards who had shot Stiles, Derek remained silently collected, his own rage simmering low but hot in his pale, intent eyes. His hands were gentle as he tugged open Stiles' tunic, and Scott watched in fascination as Derek carefully exposed the wound on Stiles' upper arm.

The gunshot was messy but it seemed to have grazed the outside of his arm, had not gone deep, and the bleeding seemed to be mostly under control. The sofa under Stiles wasn't going to be salvageable, but Scott didn't care and he was sure that neither Derek nor Peter did either.

It seemed wrong to see such smooth skin so damaged, Scott thought. That was going to scar, unless there was some way to fix it that the Upkeepers knew about.

Someone had brought them a MedKit and Derek pressed some antibiotic gauze against the bullet wound. Scott was glad that Stiles was unconscious. He wondered, though, why Stiles needed the disinfectant. He wasn't flesh and bone, not really. Scott wasn't up on Construct anatomy, but under the lifelike skin, they weren't like real humans... were they?

"I didn't know that Constructs could bleed," he said quietly, staring down at the streaks of crimson on his palms. Constructs were built and programmed to seem completely realistic, true, but--

"They don't," Derek replied shortly, his jaw tight, his fingers dark against the pale skin of Stiles' cheek as he lightly touched his face. Scott felt as though he should look away from this moment of strange intimacy, but his eyes seemed locked on Stiles now, which meant Derek as well.

Derek, who was leaning over to press a kiss to Stiles' pale temple, and since when was that a thing that Peter's nephew did with his uncle's Pleasure Construct?

"What?"

"Constructs don't bleed," Peter repeated, startling Scott with a hand on his shoulder. There was a lifetime of meaning in those three words, and they turned everything Scott thought he'd known about Stiles... and about Peter... on its head.

Scott blinked, opening his mouth to ask, but just then Isaac arrived with the HouseCar and Peter was ordering Derek to load Stiles into it. Presumably they would be headed for the nearest Healer rather than an Upkeeper. Peter climbed in after, and they were off, leaving Scott and Derek to make their way on foot.

Derek, who was stoic and silent as ever, his jaw set in grim lines. Scott wanted to ask, he was dying to know, and he had done a lot of dumb things in his time, but he knew better than to try and get the story out of Derek.

Of course, the thought of asking Peter was equally intimidating.

Scott looked down at his stained hands, the blood beginning to darken to rusty brown instead of bright red, thick in the creases of his palms. He needed to wash them, even though it felt wrong, somehow, to remove the proof of Stiles' humanity like that. The way Peter had evidently done?

"Does he know?" Scott asked, as he and Derek stepped into an elevator and Derek pressed one of the buttons. His own hands were clean, but Scott suspected his conscience was not. "Does Stiles know?"

"No," Derek replied shortly, folding his arms and planting his feet firmly as the doors closed and the elevator slid into smooth motion, going upward.

Scott bit his lip to keep the other questions at bay. His world was different now than it had been just fifteen minutes ago, and he wasn't going to rest until he got to the bottom of this....

But Derek was definitely too scary to question, especially right now. He was going to have to ask Peter after all.

Scott leaned against the mirrored wall behind him and waited. The elevator would have to stop eventually. Somewhere in the Building there was a Healer fixing Stiles' arm. And Scott still needed to wash his hands.

Somehow, though. Somehow he was going to get his questions answered.

Scott just hoped that finding out wasn't going to be worse than not knowing.

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