the difference between survival and living pairing: cora/stiles
Stiles always thought he’d only fight zombies in video games and he didn’t play those much anyway. The little experience he had with the subject didn’t help at all, when the dead really started coming alive. One bite or scratch meant life or death and he only had one life. The lifeless becoming alive had made people even worse than before, so when he was about to die under the body of a biter, he didn’t expect help. Until he got some. Cora Hale wasn’t someone who was a saint that loved helping people. She just had an annoying thing called a conscious that unfortunately sounded like her older sister. She saved a stranger and expected to go on her way. It didn’t work out that way. Without much fight from her, she let Stiles come with her. She regretted the choice within five seconds. Stiles thought the zombies would be the end of him, but he figured out after teaming up with her that it would end up being Cora. How ironic would it be for his savior to be his undoing. She ended up being that without him dying. The more time they spent together, long drives, watching each other’s back, and learning things about the other that didn’t matter anymore like their favorite movies, the less they regretted teaming up. They ended up having sex, too. What started out as being with another warm body turned out to become more and they found in the darkness of their new world some light from each other.
Part of me likes to think that Cora said goodbye to Stiles before she left: that she showed up in his room, sassed him about being “fully awake this time,” and dragged him forward for a kiss. Perhaps afterward she punched him in the shoulder, demanded that he keep in touch, and then just walked out as he stood there unable to process what just happened. And after a couple of minutes, Stiles snapped out of the stupor and realized that she’d slipped a piece of paper into his hand, a phone number written on it and the message “call me or else.”
But there’s another part of me that thinks perhaps Cora didn’t say goodbye. Perhaps she was always a bit uncomfortable with how easily that goofy human boy became something. She never understood how nosy, impertinent, irritable, spastic Stiles–possessor of so many traits that normally induced murderous thoughts in herself–could coax a smile out of her without even trying. She always wondered why she was so quick to indulge him whenever he came around with his stupid plans or invasive questions. She couldn’t believe that, when she finally found it in herself to shove away his attempts to help and called him and his friends out on being useless and immature, she immediately turned around and accepted his offer for a ride and acquiesced to his plea for assistance with his dad. And then there are the foggy memories of her illness-induced delirium: his voice (at turns conversational and panicked) keeping her tethered to the world of the living as warm lips and slightly sour breath pulled her out of some vast darkness. Cora didn’t know if she was more haunted by the memory of how his mouth felt or the intimate confession about his insecurities that followed; and she never dared to think about his assumption of next time, because that part she’d surely hallucinated.