February 24, 2014

The Dark Side of The Moon 4/14


Title: The Dark Side of The Moon
Rating: R
Authors: Sxymami0909 and Xtremeroswellia
Fandom: Teen Wolf
Pairing: Stiles/Lydia, Isaac/Allison, Scott/Kira, Derek, Deaton, Sheriff Stilinski,
Wordcount: 99,326
Timeline: Season 3B
Banner: By Sxymami0909
Parts: 4/12
Summary: The ritual  is done, but the consequences aren't over. The door inside Stiles' head is still open and they're running out of time to get it closed. Lydia's powers are growing and Derek might hold the key to a link in her past. With Stiles slowly losing his mind and Lydia being the only person who can help him keep it together, the pack is in a race against time to help their friend. Will they be able to close the door in time or will Stiles be lost to them forever?
Previous Chapters: | One | Two | Three |

Chapter Four

Stiles had been unusually quiet as the four teens had gotten ready for school at his house and then split off -- Lydia and Allison heading for school while he and Scott headed to Deaton’s office. To say that he was uneasy about everything that was happening would be a serious understatement of his feelings. His thoughts were focused on what they’d come to believe had happened -- that somehow he and Lydia had shared an actual dream, and she’d saved his life.

He was also trying to work out what he was going to tell his dad that night, because he had no doubt that would be the first thing on his dad’s mind when he got home after school. Fortunately he had taken two Adderall this morning so with any luck that would keep him focused and able to plan.

Stiles glanced at Scott sideways, trying to gauge how freaked out his best friend was by everything that was going on. “You think he’s even here yet?” It was early, after all.

Scott glanced at the small veterinary clinic and focused his sense on the inside of the building. He tilted his head to the side and then nodded. “He’s in there. He’s feeding the cats.” Scott said before glancing at Stiles. His friend had been way too quiet during the ride to Deaton’s and he wasn’t really sure where his head was at.


Scott unbuckled his seatbelt and shifted to face Stiles. “Where’s your head at man, talk to me.”

He was silent for a moment, glancing over at him again before sighing and leaning back in the seat. “I have to ask you something and it’s important. I know what you’ll want to say because I know what I’d say if the situation was reversed, but I just...I need you to do something for me, Scott, and you’re the only one who can.”

Scott’s brows drew together at the seriousness in Stiles voice. He leaned forward just a bit, “You’re my best friend Stiles, you’re my brother,” he reached out and rested an open palm on Stiles’ shoulder. “Anything,” he said without hesitation.

He knew that Scott wasn’t going to like what he was going to say and he didn’t blame him for that, but Stiles didn’t have the luxury of assuming that things were going to be okay. He was always the guy who had a plan. Not necessarily a good plan, but a plan nonetheless. And it just so happened that his best friend was his Plan B in this case. “Right. Okay, so obviously this is all going to work out and whatever, but if it doesn’t, I need you to promise me you’ll look after my dad.” He swallowed hard. Someone would have to if Stiles wasn’t around to do it himself.

Scott opened his mouth and then slammed it shut. “Stiles...It’s going to be okay,” he could already see Stiles starting to protest and he held up his hand, “But if it’s not I’ll look out for him. We all will.” He said quietly his chest tightening. He didn’t like the thought of a world that didn’t have Stiles in it. He’d been his best friend since he could remember and there was no way he was letting anything happen to him.

Nodding, Stiles met his eyes for a moment, gave him a tight, tired smile and climbed out of the jeep, exhaling. He’d gone back to sleep the previous night after Lydia and Allison had shown up and they’d popped in a copy of the Matrix. He didn’t even remember falling asleep or even trying to fight sleep. Just that one minute he’d been awake and the next minute his dad was waking him up. He was still tired, though, his body feeling slower than usual as he walked toward the front door of the vet clinic. “Deaton?” he called.

Deaton glanced up as he shut one of the cages the sound of Stiles’ voice pulling him from the back of the room. He opened the door and stepped out into the main examination room before wiping his hands on a towel. Deaton made his way to the front of the hospital and glanced between Stiles and Scott, smile on his face. “Morning Scott, Stiles. What can I do for you two this morning?” He asked glancing at the clock figuring it must be important for them to miss school.

Scott cleared his throat, “We’re here about the ritual. You told us to close the door and I think Allison and I did, but Stiles…” Scott’s voice trailed off and he swallowed hard.

Deaton frowned and looked from Scott to Stiles. “What seems to be happening?” He asked knowing he couldn’t help until he got the full story.

Stiles rubbed the back of his neck. “Well, I nearly drowned to death in my sleep last night,” he said, not even trying to be clever or sarcastic about it. “And somehow...Lydia was there in my dream and saved my life.” He leaned back against the counter, keeping his eyes on Deaton. “Like, she was literally in my dream, not just as a guest star.”

Deaton blinked. “The two of you shared a dream?” He asked the interest clear in his voice. It had been a long time since he’d heard of something like that happening.

He bit back a sarcastic remark about following his train of thought. He’d been pretty clear. Instead, he nodded shortly, folding his arms across his chest. “That’s obviously not normal, so we were hoping maybe you had some idea of what was going on.”

Deaton pressed his lips together and shifted pushing open the small door for them, “Come on in back,” he said before turning and heading for the small bookshelf in the back of the office. He ran his fingers across a few of the volumes there before pulling out a leather bound slightly tattered book. He walked it over to the examination table and set it down.

Deaton flipped through it for a couple of minutes before he stopped on a page with a photo of a tree that looked similar to the Nemeton. He glanced up and turned the book so Stiles and Scott could see it. “When you three first decided to do the ritual to help your parents, I told you it was dangerous. That a piece of yourself would be filled with darkness probably for the rest of your lives,” he explained.

Scott nodded, “We know and then the whole thing with the door. I think Allison and I beat it because we faced our fears. I let myself transform so I could save Malia,” he said as he scratched the back of his head, “And Isaac helped Allison get over her crazy fear of shooting or whatever it was.” He still wasn’t certain since he hadn’t talked to her much in detail.

“But what about Stiles, why didn’t it work for him?” Scott asked confused.

Deaton pointed to the book. “Sometimes when you have a strong connection to something or someone when doing a ritual like this that connection grows. It seems like a part of Stiles might actually still be on the other side of that door that isn’t fully closed.” Deaton explained.

“And Lydia as your anchor is the only person who can help you get that piece back and shut the door for good.” He pointed to the picture in the book and motioned for them to look. “The Druids don’t have a technical name for the in between state, but it’s similar to Bardo. There’s a ritual that can be performed to let Lydia crossover with you and help you shut the door, but it can only be performed on a full moon and it requires more power than I have.” He said a frown on his face.

Now he was starting to get nervous. He didn’t want to hear that Lydia was going to be dragged further into this in order to solve it even though she wouldn’t protest jumping farther into the abyss to help him out. And the fact that this ritual had to be done on a full moon suggested that not only was it dangerous, it was requiring more power than the emissary could call upon.

“Let’s...talk about how dangerous this ritual is,” Stiles said uneasily, shifting from one foot to the other. Because the last one he’d engaged in had ended in three of them dying and supernatural doors opening in all their minds.

Deaton glanced at Scott for a minute before turning to answer Stiles. “There’s always a risk with every ritual, but this one is considerably less dangerous than the one you three partook in for the Nemeton.” He said keeping his tone light.

“Less dangerous for me? Or less dangerous for her?” He looked at Scott briefly, too, chewing his thumbnail absently.

Scott let out a breath. Stiles was never going to agree to this if it involved Lydia. “Deaton, you said there isn’t enough power now, will the full moon be enough or are you going to need us too?” He asked knowing that sometimes the more people the more power.

Deaton nodded, “We would need you, Derek, and the rest of the pack.” He explained, “And Stiles it’s not a matter of being less or more dangerous. Everything we do on a mystical level has the ability to go awry, but with this you won’t be as close to death. We just need Lydia to go inside your head with you and the spell to converge two minds has to be done a certain way to keep things safe. Precautions are taken because melding two consciousness’s in one place is tricky.”

“Right, but it is dangerous. It’s tricky. Which means things can go awry, like you said. So what are the possible consequences?” The previous ritual, he hadn’t really cared what the consequences were. His dad’s life was on the line. Scott’s mom and Allison’s dad’s lives were on the line. That made it different. It made the risk worth it. It made it not his fault if something went wrong and he didn’t wake up.

But if something went wrong this time, and Lydia got hurt, or one of the pack got hurt, that would be his fault. He wanted to know all the possibilities. He wanted to lay all the cards out on the table in advance to weigh the risks against the possible victory.

Scott knew Stiles would ask that because he was the type of person who cared more about other people them himself. “Stiles we’re all willing to risk what needs to be risked for you. You’re our friend,” he reminded him. Besides it wasn’t his decision what they did and if Stiles said no, Scott would just call Lydia.

Deaton pointed to Scott. “The risks to Scott and the rest of the pack are minimal. They might feel a bit drained for a day, two at the most, but other than that, there’s no risk.” He explained calmly.

Stiles shot Scott a look, but fell silent as Deaton elaborated on the risks. If that was the only side effects of the ritual, he supposed it was worth a shot. So he drew in a breath and let it out slowly. “Right. Okay, so uh...we’ve got what? A week before the next full moon?” He knew it was seven days of course, because he’d started tracking the lunar cycles the same night he’d figured out that his best friend was an actual werewolf. “What do we have to do to get this set up?”

Deaton opened his mouth, but Scott spoke before he could. “You said members of the pack...what about Stiles and Lydia.” Technically Scott would always consider them a part of his pack, but they weren’t wolves and he had a feeling Deaton had been referring to the wolves.

Deaton was hoping they wouldn’t catch that, but he shouldn’t be surprised. They were both bright. “The most risk will sit with Stiles and Lydia. There is a small chance that you could both get stuck inside your head and that would likely kill both of you.” He said honestly. “But with all of us there, I don’t foresee that being an issue. I understand you’re worried Stiles, but this is serious. With time your nightmares will start manifesting themselves more often and if you die in your dream, it will be the same for reality until the door is closed.”

Stiles tensed again almost immediately when Deaton admitted that there was a risk to Lydia’s life. “Then we’ll find another way,” he said firmly. “There has to be another way that doesn’t involve Lydia’s life being on the line. What else does your book say?”

Deaton sighed, “Stiles it doesn’t work that way. Lydia is involved because she was your anchor in the last ritual. It has to be her. She’s the only one capable of coming into your dreams because she is the person that tethered you here the first time.” He explained needing both Stiles and Scott to understand.

Scott shifted on his feet, “So even if we tried with someone else it wouldn’t work.”

Deaton nodded, “Correct. Lydia has already proved the two of you have a connection by showing up in your dreams. She’s already almost there; her consciousness just needs a push in the right direction. But you need to stay alive until the full moon.”

Stiles sighed, raking a hand through his hair, frustrated. He didn’t like this plan at all, and it wasn’t because he didn’t trust Lydia or he was scared to have her in his head. It was because he didn’t want to be the reason she was in danger of any kind -- ever. But he knew just because Scott knew the solution, Lydia was going to be involved. Even if Stiles didn’t tell her, Scott certainly would. And she was a good person, so of course she wouldn’t hesitate. The same way she hadn’t hesitated to tackle him and Scott out of the way of an explosion of fire one night not all that long ago, saving both their lives.

“So then I just need to stay awake until the full moon.” He was now staring at the floor, lost in thought.

Scott’s brows drew together. “You slept okay last night,” he said suddenly. “I mean after what happened. When Allison and Lydia came over and we put the movie on you fell asleep almost right away,” he admitted. “Then Lydia and Allison. I fell asleep last. But you seemed to be sleeping okay...did you have any nightmares?”

His eyebrows furrowed at that, glancing over at his best friend. “No. I don’t think I dreamt at all actually.” Which was a first since the sacrificial ritual. He chewed his lower lip. “So, what then? I don’t know how happy my dad’s gonna be about nightly sleepovers for the next week.”

Scott shrugged, “We’ll work it out. At least we know what you’ve gotta do until the full moon.” He said. He knew Stiles wasn’t happy, but all Scott cared about was making sure his friend made it through this.

Deaton’s voice broke the silence in the room. “I’ll make sure I have everything ready by the full moon. All I need you to do is bring your pack.” he said as his gaze drifted to Scott.

Stiles shifted his gaze to Deaton and sighed. It looked like there wasn’t going to be a choice in the matter. No matter how hard he protested or what he did, he was going to be overruled. Hell, he couldn’t even be upset with them because if Scott was in his position, he’d do and say the same damn things. “I guess we should get to school.” His dad had said he was going to check in and he knew his father well enough to know that he really would.

Scott could tell Stiles wasn’t happy so he just nodded and decided to go with it. “Thanks Deaton, I’ll see you later at work,” he said moving over to Stiles and placing a hand on his friends shoulder before leading him out of the back to the main room. “Just think in a week this could all be over.” He told his friend trying to look at the bright side.

He nodded a little, glancing at Scott sideways and wishing he had his friend’s sense of optimism. Mostly he just wanted the week to be over and Lydia to still be alive and safe.

______


Isaac reached for out and snagged a chip from Allison’s plate as he sat sideways on the bench beside her. “So, run this by me again, you and Lydia spent the night at Stiles’ house because she had a nightmare about him?” He asked confused. Isaac had stayed at Scott’s house last night, had dinner with Mrs. McCall and then hung around to make sure things were okay while Scott was with Stiles.

He had filled Scott’s Mom in about what was going on or as much as Scott had told him to tell her. Isaac popped the chip into his mouth and chewed as he watched Allison.

“It was...a little more intense than that,” she told him quietly, pushing the chips toward him as she picked up her hamburger. “I mean, she didn’t just have a nightmare. She was actually in Stiles’ dream.” She took a bite of her sandwich, chewed and swallowed. “According to Scott, Deaton says it’s because she was his anchor in that ritual we did.” The one that they avoided talking about as much as possible.

Isaac watched Allison eating her burger for a minute before reaching into the bag of chips again. “That didn’t happen with us. And I don’t think it happened with Scott and Deaton,” he said trying to make Allison smile, but with no luck. “Why is it happening to them?” He asked wondering what they’d done differently from everyone else.

“I honestly don’t know.” She really had no idea, but she kind of wanted to talk to her dad about all of it and see if he had any theories. But she hadn’t told her dad about the ritual they’d all done to save their parents, and it wasn’t a conversation she was ready to have with him. “Maybe because of Lydia’s abilities?” Her voice was uncertain. “I don’t really understand why the door in Stiles’ mind didn’t close when the door in mine and the door in Scott’s did.”

Isaac wasn’t really Stiles biggest fan, but that was mostly because he was always snapping at him about something. But he knew how close Stiles and Scott were so if his help was needed, he’d help. “I don’t know either. But if Deaton found a way to fix things I say we do it. Then we can all put this behind us,” and maybe he’d finally be able to ask Allison out on a date...if Scott didn’t kill him first. The thought was probably a selfish one, but Isaac just wanted things to be okay with everyone. He was finally starting to feel like he belonged somewhere just when things were getting torn apart again. “Is Stiles on board?”

She hesitated, glancing at him. “He’s resistant, but reluctantly on board because it’s pretty much the only choice.” She looked troubled, and set her burger down on her plate once more. She knew that Isaac and Stiles didn’t necessarily like each other, but she also knew them both well enough to know that if one of them was in trouble, the other one was going to do whatever they could to help out. She’d seen them in action. They were like distant family members who didn’t get along, but who pulled through for each other in the end.

“What is it?” he asked softly drawing her attention to him. Isaac didn’t like seeing Allison upset and he was starting to realize he would do just about anything to keep her from being upset, which didn’t bode well for him in the long run.

“There’s another ritual, and it’s...going to involve all of us. But especially Stiles and Lydia. I’m not completely clear on all the details, but apparently she has to literally go into his mind and help him close the door.” She turned so she was facing him better.

Isaac shifted closer to her and frowned. “That’s how she’s going to help him? By going inside his head? How does something like that even work? And what happens if they get stuck in his mind?” Isaac didn’t want to go into the whole thing with a negative mindset, but he wanted to make sure they asked all the hard questions.

“That’s the catch, apparently. Deaton says the chance of that happening is pretty slim, especially if the rest of us are there to help ground them back to reality, but that’s why he’s hesitating. I’m pretty sure he’s managed to dodge Lydia all day so far.” She looked across the cafeteria where Lydia was talking to Danny.

Isaac followed her gaze, “She seems sufficiently distracted.” He commented. “Does she know about what happened today? What Deaton said?” He asked as he ate another chip. Isaac wasn’t sure what was going on with Stiles and Lydia, but if he had to guess he’d say it was some kind of weird mating ritual where neither one of them wanted to admit how they felt about the other. Basically the story of his life with Allison.

Allison nodded, grateful for her friend’s current distraction, though she hoped Danny wasn’t filling her in on any of Jackson’s recent hijinks in London. The last thing Lydia needed was to be drawn back into that kind of drama. Besides, they had enough drama all on their own without help from a werewolf in another country who’d abandoned Lydia without a second thought. “I don’t think so. I haven’t filled her in and she and Scott don’t have a class together until this afternoon.”

“Stiles should be the one to tell her...she seems a little on edge lately,” he observed before glancing back at Allison. “I was thinking of stopping by today after school...and then I thought I about the electrified windows,” he said catching her gaze. “Those still up?” He asked noticing the slight smile on her face.

“Yeah, she does,” Allison agreed, glancing at him sideways and unable to keep a tiny smile from touching her mouth. “They are, but I could probably be persuaded to bypass the system temporarily.”

“I’d appreciate that.” Isaac ate another chip his eyes drawn to movement across the quad. He spotted Scott and Stiles and arched an eyebrow. “Maybe he’s going to fill her in now.” But when he saw them head in the opposite direction of where Lydia was he shook his head. “Guess not.” he said as he held out a chip to her.

Feeling particularly bold, Allison leaned forward and ate the offered chip right from his hand, smirking a little and looking down at her plate. The ritual had certainly done something to them, in a different way than it had done something to Stiles and Lydia, or Deaton and Scott. She supposed it made sense considering it had affected all three of them in very different ways, as well.

Isaac’s eyes were wide and he swallowed hard. “Good chip?” he asked as he snapped himself out of his stupor and grabbed another bringing it to his mouth this time. He knew the ritual had changed them, brought them closer, and Isaac was glad. He’d never had someone like Allison in his life and knowing she was there made him adjust a little better to the things around him.

She smiled, ducking her head and closing her eyes as she suppressed the urge to giggle. Allison Argent was a badass hunter. She did not do things like giggle. Except she found that the more time she spent with Isaac, the more she wanted to do just that. She was like a little school girl with a crush. “Yeah. It was.”

Isaac grinned at her response and scratched the back of his neck. “Good.” He said simply as he shifted his hand near the bench lightly brushing it against hers. “It’s going to be time to head back to class soon...I could walk you.” He offered his tone casual.

“Are you gonna carry my books for me?” she teased, looking down at their hands and letting her index finger brush over his.

Isaac smirked, “I could, after holding up a crumbling root cellar, it’s not like they’re heavy.” He said cocking his head to the side, the feel of her finger brushing against his making his heart flutter. Flutter. Whose heart did that? Apparently his, weird. “But if people saw me carrying your books they’d probably think something was going on here.” Isaac was quiet for a minute and then leaned in just a bit. “Is something going on here?” he asked softly.

Allison gazed back at him for a moment, not quite sure how to answer his question. “I think that...something’s been going on here for awhile now. I’m just not sure what to call it. Or how to define it.” Her voice was quiet, and honest.

“I think you’re right.” Isaac agreed. “Maybe after we help Stiles, we can talk about it. You know, the thing that’s going on but is undefinable.” He said glancing at her out of the corner of his eye. “And how we’re going to handle it around...people.” Meaning Scott of course. Just the thought of it reminded him of how happy Scott wasn’t when he found out that Isaac wanted to kiss Allison. But he was pretty sure Scott would soon be preoccupied with other things.

She knew exactly who he meant, of course. Sometimes it was like they didn’t even really need to speak. She wondered if that was part of the post-ritual side effects. She wondered if that happened with Lydia and Stiles, too, or if it was unique to her and Isaac. “I think that’s probably a good idea. But in the meantime...why don’t you walk me to class and for now...I’ll carry my own books.”

A slow smile spread across Isaac’s face. “I think that’s a fair compromise.” He said while lifting his leg over the bench and standing. He watched Alison for a minute before holding out a hand to her, not sure she’d take it, but hoping maybe that wouldn’t be too much of a step for the moment. He’d be slightly disappointed if it was, but he’d respect it. Isaac had never met anyone like Allison before and he’d wait for her as long as it took.

Allison looked at his hand for a moment, smiled a tiny smile, then slid her hand into his, letting him help her to her feet. She didn’t know what this thing was that was happening between them, but she did want to find out. She just hoped that no one would get hurt because of it.

______


It had been a very long, nerve wracking kind of day. He’d spent most of it dodging his friends, with an emphasis on dodging Lydia. He’d had three close calls already -- one with Scott in gym, but Stiles had faked a stomach ache and gone to the nurse’s office to lie down for the hour; one with Allison in the hallway earlier, and one with Lydia in economics. But he’d managed to avoid any uncomfortable conversations regarding rituals, or dying, and he was counting that as a win for the day. He was pretty sure there wouldn’t be many days ahead where those things were avoided easily.

He was mentally congratulating himself on an avoidance job well done when he rounded the corner to head for the exit when he literally came face to face with the strawberry blonde.

And she didn’t look very happy to see him. Probably because he’d been avoiding her all day. His shoulders slumped a little and he tried for a sheepish grin that didn’t reach his eyes. “Give you a ride home?”

Lydia gave Stiles a once over before locking her gaze on his and arching an eyebrow. She crossed her arms over her chest which shifted her bag on her shoulder. “Oh, you mean you plan on being in the same space with me long enough to give me a ride?” She asked the note of sarcasm in her voice coming across clear.

He winced at her accusing tone and sighed, looking down. “Okay that’s fair.”

“Oh is it?” Lydia asked before taking a step toward Stiles. “I have been looking for you all day. I was worried.” She said pointedly, “And when I asked Scott what was going on he fumbled around awkwardly with his words for about a minute before telling me I should talk to you.” Lydia said punctuating her words with a poke to Stiles’ chest.

“But of course you’ve suddenly decided to play ditch the Banshee.” Lydia huffed. “What is going on Stiles?” The only reason she was so frustrated was because she was worried about him. Stiles almost died last night and that was not okay with Lydia.

“I’m sorry,” he said honestly, looking up at her once more. “Okay? I really am. I just -- I wanted everyone to have one semi-normal day without some kind of mystical drama, you know?” He reached up, rubbing the back of his neck. “I wasn’t trying to ditch you, Lydia. At least...not you specifically. I was avoiding everyone.

“I’m not everyone.” The words were out of her mouth before she could stop them and once they were said Lydia couldn’t take them back. She swallowed hard and looked away from Stiles briefly. When Lydia’s gaze was on his again her voice was calmer, “What I mean is I’m connected to this too. Don’t shut me out. I want to help.” She needed to help. “What did Deaton say?”

His chest tightened at her words, because she was right. She wasn’t everyone. “No. No, you’re not,” he said very softly, his voice barely audible as he looked away, too. “Deaton says...the only way that I can shut this door is by doing another ritual.” His anxiety kicked up a notch immediately. “And you all have to be involved for it to work.”

“God, what is with Druids and their rituals?” Lydia groaned mostly to herself. “Please tell me we’re not letting you die again because holding you in a bathtub full of ice water, not my proudest moment.” She said trying to lighten the situation a bit with her comment. By the look on Stiles’ face he could use it.

A faint smile tugged at his lips involuntarily, one corner of his mouth turning just slightly upwards. “Druids and rituals are like werewolves and the full moon. Practically woven together in the fabric of time.” He exhaled. “How about I fill you in while I drive you home?”

Lydia pursed her lips together. “I guess I can use a ride,” she said before tilting her head toward the parking lot. “Well, walk and talk,” she said finally as she starting moving in the direction of Stiles’ jeep not sure why her heart was beating so fast. “The ritual,” she prompted.

He sighed inwardly, pulling his keys out of his jeans pocket and unlocking the jeep, opening the passenger side door for her without a second thought. “It involves you going into my dreams to help me shut the door, and apparently we have to draw on the strength of the pack to do it.” He slid into the driver’s seat, just sitting there a moment, looking out the windshield. “It could be dangerous.”

“So?” Lydia rested her bag on her lap and turned her body to face Stiles not putting her seatbelt on just yet. “Stiles, this is good news why do you look so morose?” She asked with a shake of her head. “There’s a way for us to fix this, to close the door and make you better. Why aren’t you more happy?” The danger didn’t bother Lydia. They had all been through a lot over the past two years and she’d see more than her fair share of dangerous situations, but at least Stiles would be okay.

“Because I don’t want people that I lo -- people that I care about to be in danger, Lydia. Not you, and not Scott, or Allison or...even Isaac.” He blew out a breath, reluctantly starting the jeep, mostly so he had something to do with his hands besides gesture out of anxiety.

Lydia watched Stiles as he backed out of the spot. “Stiles how many times do I have to tell you we all care about you. We would risk our lives for you the same way you do for us all the time.” She paused, “We need you.” Lydia said quietly, “Accept that and let us help.” She didn’t want to see anything happen to him, well, anything more than what had already happened.

He chewed his lower lip for a moment before glancing over at her. “I don’t really have a choice,” he admitted. “I wanted to look at other options, but Deaton said this was pretty much it. It has to be done on the next full moon which...is in a week from today. Hope you don’t have big plans,” he joked, trying to lighten the mood.

Lydia frowned, “Why would you look for a different way if I’m willing? Don’t you trust me to help?” She asked trying not to let the hurt show. Maybe that’s why he didn’t want her help, the thought made her chest tighten.

Stiles blinked at that, caught off guard by her words. “What? Of course I trust you, Lydia. God. Come on. You know me better than that.”

“Well then stop being an oaf,” Lydia once again crossed her arms and looked away from him. “You’re scared, we all are. But we’re scared of losing you, don’t you understand that?” She asked glancing back over at him as he continued driving. “You’re always there for me Stiles,” her voice grew soft as it tended to do when she was talking about anything real.

“You always believe in me and trust my instincts. Trust me now when I say we’ll get through this.”

He held his breath as she spoke again. It was still somewhat difficult for him to imagine anyone other than Scott really caring whether he lived or died, but he knew that was his own insecurities messing with him. He hesitated for a second and held his hand out to her wordlessly, unsure if she’d take it or not.

Lydia glanced down and she didn’t even think before reaching out and threading her fingers through his. “You aren’t alone.” She told him quietly. “And if you shut me out again I’m going to use that bat you love so much on you. Got it?” She said casually.

Stiles blanched because somehow he had a feeling she really meant that. “Got it,” he said swallowing hard and squeezing her hand.

“Good,” She smiled and relaxed back in her seat convinced that Stiles was properly chastised. “We should probably stop for a burger on the way back to my place...I might have skipped the actual lunch portion of lunch.” She suggested not ready to see him go just yet.

At that, he frowned. “Lydia, you shouldn’t do that. It isn’t healthy.” But he wasn’t about to protest stopping to get something to eat with her.

“Says the guy not sleeping and avoiding me so I can’t help him with his mystical dreaming problem. Missing one lunch isn’t going to kill me” Lydia quipped turning his words back around on him. “And if you’re so worried about my diet than maybe you should feed me.” She suggested while giving his hand a light squeeze that contradicted her harsh words.

She certainly knew how to drive a point home. He glanced at her sideways, arching his eyebrows. He was kind of surprised she was still holding his hand. He’d come to realize that Lydia was almost as much of a tactile person as he was, though. He wasn’t going to overthink it. “Hey, if the lady wants a burger, a burger she shall have.”

Lydia tried to hide her smile, but it was no use. It seemed that Stiles always brought that side out of her. If he wasn’t making her smile then he was soothing her fears in some way or another and Lydia appreciated that she just wasn’t sure how to say it, though she guessed that was something she could worry about another day.

______


Scott hadn’t told anyone else that Derek was back in town yet. There was just too much going on. And since the conversation he intended to have with the older werewolf was kind of an intense one, and incredibly important, he decided the best way was to meet with him in person. He didn’t want to try and explain everything by text message because it would take forever, and because he didn’t think that having any kind of documented evidence was a great idea.

Sometimes Scott thought ahead.

He made his way to Derek’s loft after school, watching as Stiles and Lydia headed off somewhere together and knowing that as long as his best friend was awake, he was probably okay. If anyone could make sure Stiles stayed conscious, it was Lydia Martin. He walked up the stairs to Derek’s loft, knocking on the door and waiting for him to answer.

Derek sat in a chair beside the only table in his apartment and glanced up when he heard a sharp knock sound on his door. He closed the book he’d been reading with one hand and placed it on the flat surface of the table before standing and walking over to the door. He paused, tilting his head to the side and taking a deep breath stretching his senses out surprised when he realized who was on the other side of the door.

Derek unlatched the lock and slid the large door open coming face-to-face with Scott. He hadn’t seen the younger werewolf since their face-off with Deucalion and Jennifer. His lip twitched at the corner and he stepped aside. “Scott,” he said his voice gruff, “It’s good to see you.” He said realizing he actually meant the words. Derek and Scott hadn’t always gotten along, but Derek always respected Scott and he was hoping now that he was back things could be different than they were before.

Scott smiled at him, at the fact that Derek almost cracked a smile. “Hey. Good to see you, too. How was your trip?” he asked, stepping inside and glancing around. He noticed that there were curtains hanging up and he cocked his head, wondering if that was a sign that Derek was actually settling in and planning to stick around. He hoped so. They hadn’t always gotten along, but they’d both done a lot of growing up in the last few months and he was hoping that things would be different. That they would be better.

Derek tilted his head to the side and pursed his lips. “Enlightening,” he said with a sigh, “Peter decided to tag along and Cora, well Cora needed to find her own path.” He explained as he closed the door behind Scott and then slipped his hands into his pockets. “You text me a few times, sorry I didn’t get back to you sooner, I was a little tied up.” he said letting his voice trail off as he scratched his eyebrow, “Is something wrong?” It wasn’t often that Scott text him and the fact that it had been multiple times implied a sense of urgency.

“Yeah, but we sorta figured out the thing I was texting you about. But uh, now there’s something else going on.” He sighed. Because something else was always going on. It just happened that this time had him more worried than usual. “It’s Stiles. He’s in trouble.”

Derek arched an eyebrow, “Stiles?” He inquired not able to push aside his curiosity. “What’s he gotten himself into this time?” Because it was always something, though Derek couldn’t really be too judgmental, the kid had saved his life on more than one occasion he begrudgingly admitted to himself.

Scott blew out a breath, moving to sit down on the couch. “It’s sorta...more what’s leftover from the ritual we did awhile back,” he said quietly. “Remember Deaton telling us there’d be a darkness around our heart or whatever? Well, apparently there was also an open door in each of our minds. One that leads to some pretty terrible nightmares and hallucinations and other things that...aren’t really good. Allison and I got ours closed somehow, but Stiles…”

Derek frowned. He remembered Scott mentioning the ritual that they’d done to keep their parents alive while still powering the Nemeton. “I didn’t realize the after effects of the ritual would last this long,” he said while shifting on his feet. Communicating with people in a fairly civilized and open manner was new to Derek and he wasn’t exactly sure how to do it correctly. “So Stiles is what, sick? And you need help finding a way to fix him?” He asked figuring that probably wouldn’t be too difficult.

“We’ve already figured out the how. But…” Scott looked up at him. “Deaton says it’s going to take the whole pack. Lydia has to literally go inside Stiles’ head, into his dream and help him shut the door. And they need all of us to like, ground them and give them our strength basically.” He just hoped that talking Derek into helping out wasn’t going to be difficult.

“Lydia,” he asked, the monosyllabic tone of his voice echoing through the empty apartment. “Not you?” He asked wondering why the newest member of their little supernatural club was taking one for the team so to speak, instead of Scott. He knew how close the two boys were.

“She was his anchor in the first ritual. And uh.” He really didn’t want to think about what had nearly happened just the previous night. “She pretty much saved his life last night by actually entering his dream. Somehow.”

Derek lifted his arms and crossed them across his chest. “Her powers are growing.” He stated calmly. He was quiet for a minute before studying Scott closely. Derek could see how worried he was, the fear inside of him. It wasn’t often that he actually went out of his way to help people for no reason at all. But maybe that was the problem.

Maybe always expecting something in return for being helpful wasn’t the right move. Maybe for once he’d offer some help and see where that got him. Derek cleared his throat his expression as open as he could possibly make it. “What do you need me to do?”

Scott relaxed a little at Derek’s words, offering him a small smile. “The ritual has to be done on the full moon. And it has to be this one coming up because I’m not sure how much more he can handle.” He didn’t really want to think about that at all. “So if you’re not busy on the full moon, we’ll be at Deaton’s.”

Derek’s brows pulled together. “You’re looking to get all of us together on a full moon?” He asked not giving Scott a chance to answer, “That’s a lot of power for one ritual...Deaton said it was safe?” He wasn’t necessarily worried about himself. After the past six months he’d been beat up and tortured enough to make his body used to it, but to require all that power the ritual itself must be a powerful one and there always had to be some kind of balance. Derek had learned that the hard way.

“He said it was mostly safe. That it was going to be the most dangerous for Stiles and Lydia. I guess because she’s going into his mind.” Scott looked down at the floor, troubled. “There isn’t a choice, Derek. It’s either this or Stiles dies. I can’t let him die.” He wouldn’t let him die. That’s all there was to it. Stiles was his best friend, his brother, since they were five years old. They’d been inseparable. There was basically nothing that Stiles didn’t know about him and vice versa. Seeing him almost die last night had been bad enough.

Derek could practically feel the pain coming off of Scott and he reached out his large hand and awkwardly pat Scott on the shoulder. “No need to get dramatic. I said I’d help. But after this you tell Stiles we’re even,” he said pointedly, “No more holding saving my life over my head, got it?” He asked with the barest hint of a smile on his face.

He glanced up at Derek, surprised when the older werewolf patted his shoulder. “He’s been holding that over your head?” he asked before he realized that the guy was actually smiling. He blinked, surprised, because it wasn’t like Derek was known for his smile. Actually he wasn’t sure he’d ever seen Derek smile in a way that wasn’t more of a smirk than a smile. Holy crap. “Right. You were kidding. Got it.”

“It’s a new thing I’m trying out.” Derek commented. “The joking. Not the touching. I just didn’t want you to cry or something. That’s a little too emotional for me.” He told Scott as he stepped back. “And as a matter-of-fact every time I am less than nice to Stiles, he mentions how he could have let me die...twice.” Derek’s eyes rolled to the ceiling. “He has the longest memory of anyone I’ve ever had the displeasure of befriending...well you know what I mean.” He said.

Scott grinned as he rose to his feet. “Yeah. Yeah, he does.” He still hadn’t lived down the time he’d seen a spider on the ceiling and he’d screamed like a little girl rather than a newly turned werewolf. He kinda hoped he never did. “On the plus side, he saved your life twice.” He patted Derek’s shoulder.

Derek side eyed Scott's hand on his shoulder, but said nothing. “There’s that. So I guess I owe him twice.” he said with a shrug. “Just let me know where I have to meet you and I will be there.”

“Thanks, man,” Scott said sincerely. He needed to get going so he could take dinner to his mom at the hospital and figure out who was staying the night with Stiles that night. “For the record? It’s good to have you back.”

Derek’s body relaxed just a bit and he let a genuine half smile slip, “I didn’t think it would be, but it’s good to be back.” He started walking toward the door to his apartment and pulled it back open. He could sense Scott needed to head out, but he was glad he’d come to him. Maybe this time things really would be different.

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