PLEASE STOP DYING?
Mrs. Krabappel hands out the small, slightly dinged but still brightly colored toys with the kind of tired resignation only a biology teacher can have when she’s asked to teach kids about personal responsibility and the human reproductive system through epiteths and technological metaphor.
“The rules are simple,” she says, thinking only of the joy she could find in early afternoon alcoholism. “If they die, you fail. The reset buttons have been made inaccessible. Don’t cheat, and don’t bring them into any classes where the teachers don’t want to be disturbed.” Which is any classes, really. “The world is cruel place and only the strongest survive. Let the games begin.”
For the first day or so, everyone thinks it’s kind of cool. It would have been much cooler about ten years earlier, but Stiles figures it’s almost enough time to make the little pocket aliens retro rather than super lame.
“This is so lame,” Jackson says over lunch, but no one listens to Jackson anymore. Most of the school treats him like he’s dead, which amuses Stiles greatly.
“Oh, shut up, you’re only grumpy because you can’t win the stupid guessing game.”
Jackson looks a little wild eyed. “It’s witchcraft. Wait. Please tell me it can’t be witchcraft.”
Lydia slaps the back of his head. “How many times do I have to explain random numbers and probability to you? There is nothing magical about these pixels.”
Except, Stiles thinks they have to be cursed.
Interest wanes pretty quickly and the entire pack takes advantage of the fact that their glorious Alpha is a bit of a rich bum, who has nothing better to do all day anyway. Erica uses her big eyes to convince Derek to take care of her electronic egg for just a bit, the rest of them just sort of drop theirs off in a pile after the dam has broken.
The strange thing though, the strange thing is that Derek actually seems to get into it, perking up every time there’s a little pathetic beep.
Stiles stays around because, well. It’s hilarious. And maybe he actually likes Derek’s company. Still, a man’s gotta make a joke if the opening is this good. “You could sit on them, see if they hatch?”
Then he runs for his life, saved only by the timely beep of his favorite pack egg.
Back to the curse though, Derek’s tamagotchi are all defective. Or Derek is. Because probability be damned, there is no way these eggs all start being sick or hungry at the same freaking time, and all through the night. It’s ridiculous.
It also makes Derek look kind of frazzled and that is more disturbing than anything. Because somehow Derek seems to care about these bits of plastic and cheap electronics.
“You know,” Lydia says at school when Stiles tells her, “they actually call that the tamagotchi effect. It’s kind of like your creepy obsession with your car.”
Stiles gasps. “Oh my god, leave Betty alone.”
The first one goes at night. They only find out about it the day after, when Derek, solemn and quieter than usual, tries to break the news to Boyd.
Boyd doesn’t actually care. He’s got a sold A in that class and no single terrible assignment is going to change that.
Stiles starts to worry when Isaac’s and Scott’s both die in the span of a pack meeting and Derek completely loses the plot. They break for pizza and no one says anything about Derek clutching the last one to his chest.
“Okay, this is too fucking weird, dude,” Stiles says as he wakes up to a looming but distraught werewolf in his room.
Derek’s breath hitches as he tries to speak. “I don’t understand. Everything I touch dies.”
Stiles gets up and buries the dude in a hug, because holy shit.
Erica’s is the last and it sits between Stiles and Derek on the bed like the last seal of the apocalypse. Neither of them really dares to touch it.
Then it beeps.
Stiles leans over and winces, because it couldn’t just be poop or wanting to play, oh no, it was a disease and hunger double-whammy. That weird little alien was so fucking dead.
“I-” Stiles chokes on the words a little. “I’m sorry.”
And fucking hell, are those tears?!
Early in the morning, Stiles hears the one unassuming beep he knows won’t be a problem. Erica’s tamagotchi passed away in the night, but his own, untouched by Derek’s curse, is only just waking up.
He looks at the little thing and sighs. “Want to share?”
Derek looks astonished and afraid, but when Stiles offers the bright little toy, Derek reaches out. “Are you sure?”
Stiles shrugs. “It’s easier with two people.”
He’s not talking about tamagotchis anymore and that’s probably okay. Derek’s smile seems to indicate he knows.
In the end, Stiles gets an A and some hands-on experience with the actual purpose of the class - how to take care of someone who doesn’t really have the words to tell you what they need.