Title: The Dark Side of The Moon
Authors: Sxymami0909 and Xtremeroswellia
Fandom: Teen Wolf
Pairing: Stiles/Lydia, Isaac/Allison, Scott/Kira, Derek, Deaton, Sheriff Stilinski,
Timeline: Season 3B
Banner: By Sxymami0909
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 | Four |Five | Six | Seven |Eight |
Lydia sat in the jeep beside Stiles, her compact in her hand as she slid her finger below her eye makeup, fixing her eyeliner. It was Sunday afternoon and three days until the full moon. Everyone was getting ready for the ritual that was going to take place at Deaton’s office. Scott had talked to Deaton earlier that morning and he said he was only waiting on one other thing he needed for the ritual and they’d be set.
In the meantime Lydia couldn’t stop thinking about what Derek had said while they were at the bowling alley last night. He knew about Banshee’s so did Peter, though Lydia didn’t exactly want to spend much time with the older Hale. She did however want to know what Derek had to say. In order to understand herself and what she was capable of Lydia needed to know more about her banshee roots.
Lydia closed the compact and tossed it in her purse before sending a sideways glance at Stiles. “You’re quiet.” She commented.
“Yeah, sorry.” He glanced at her sideways then focused on the road ahead, exhaling slowly. He’d slept off and on the night before, nightmare free, but he kept waking up because his mind was on the upcoming ritual. About how Lydia and the others were going to be putting themselves on the line for him and it made him really uncomfortable. What they were doing now also made him a little uncomfortable, if he was being honest with himself.
It wasn’t that he didn’t trust Derek -- okay maybe he didn’t entirely trust Derek. But he was worried about what this meeting was going to do to Lydia. “Are you sure you wanna do this?” he asked softly.
Lydia reached out a hand and rested in on Stiles leg. It was clear that he was worried about her. But she needed to do this. She needed to know what Derek knew. He seemed to know more about the supernatural things that happened in Beacon Hills than anyone else excluding maybe Deaton. “Yes,” she said softly, “I need to know. And this could help us. If I can control this thing then maybe I can help more people.” Lydia wanted to help people like Stiles and Scott; she didn’t want people to get hurt.
He wasn’t the least bit surprised by her answer. Anyone on the outside of their pack might have believed her to be a cold-hearted bitch. But he’d always known it was an act that she put on. He hadn’t always known or understood the reasons, but over the years, he’d seen her say and do things that didn’t fall in the realm of cold hearted bitch. The last couple years he’d gotten to see that side of her more and more and it warmed his heart to know that he’d been right about her all along. If there was one thing that Stiles actually had going for him, it was his instincts about people.
Wordlessly, he reached down and covered her hand with his own, giving it a gentle squeeze as he nodded. They made the rest of the drive in silence and when he pulled up in front of Derek’s apartment building, he shifted his jeep into the park position and shut off the engine. He turned his head to look at her, offering her a small but worried smile. “All right.”
Lydia swallowed hard as she looked at the apartment building and then back at Stiles. “You’re coming right?” She asked as she unbuckled her seat belt and pushed open the car door. She didn’t have a way to get in touch with Derek, so he didn’t know they were coming. But Lydia figured Derek didn’t really do much with his time so he was probably home.
“Of course.” He was almost offended at the insinuation that he was going to wait in the jeep. There wasn’t much he could do, but he did at least want to go with her, to be there for moral support the way she kept being for him. He climbed out of the jeep and waited at the front of it for her before they headed into Derek’s building together.
Lydia walked with Stiles and when they came to a stop in front of Derek’s loft door she almost turned around and went right back the way they had come, but that wasn’t who she was. She straightened up, her heart beating wildly as she lifted her hand to knock on the door. But before her knuckles connected with the metal of the door it was jerked open with a forceful jolt.
Lydia stepped back as a glowing eyed Derek greeted them and then paused his expression changing as he saw who was standing there. Derek loosened his grip and stepped back with an arched eyebrow. “Stiles, Lydia...Is everything okay? Is it Scott?” He asked worry creasing his brow.
“Nope, Scott’s fine,” Stiles told him, arching his eyebrows as he let one hand rest at the small of Lydia’s back, not really thinking about the gesture. “We were hoping you could tell us about that thing you mentioned yesterday. You know, the banshee stuff.” He chewed the inside of his cheek, glancing sideways at Lydia and then back at Derek.
A hint of surprise crossed Derek’s face as his gaze traveled over to Lydia. “I can do that.” He said simply, “If it’s something you’re ready to hear.” He told her.
Lydia gave Derek a sharp nod. “I am. I need to know what I am...how it works and I’d rather talk to you than Peter.” She said relaxing into Stiles light touch.
Derek glanced between them, “I’ll take that as a compliment I guess,” he said as he pulled the door open wider and stepped aside. “It’s good that you’re both here then. Because what I have to say involves both of you.” He told them as he nodded for them to come inside.
At that, Stiles blinked a couple of times and raised his eyebrows. Okay that was kind of an odd thing for Derek to say. He supposed he just meant that he knew Stiles cared about Lydia and vice versa, and they were all part of Scott’s pack, and maybe there was something Stiles was going to be able to do to help Lydia deal with her abilities and what she was, the way he’d helped Scott. He eyed Derek sideways as he stepped inside the man’s loft, taken aback by the changes Derek had made since the last time Stiles had been there.
He actually had pictures hanging up. He wondered if Derek was feeling okay.
Lydia stepped inside after Stiles and arched a brow, “Wow, you’ve actually done something with the place. I’m shocked.” She said as she glanced around at the still mostly empty apartment. “You need some furniture, possibly a woman’s touch.” She admitted. “I doubt anyone in our little group has better taste than me so whenever you need to pick out furniture you just let us know. I know a nice place.” She commented staying by Stiles.
Lydia talked when she was nervous. Not many people knew that because it always seemed like she was just being a bitch or a smartass, and that was true sometimes. Other times though, she just needed something to do.
A hint of amusement flickered across Derek’s face not only at her offer of help, but at the fact that Lydia and Stiles seemed to be an ‘us’. “I’ll keep that in mind.”
Stiles wasn’t quite sure when he’d picked up on all of Lydia’s little quirks, all the things she did when she was nervous, but at some point he’d realized that she talked almost as much as he did when she was on edge, and without thinking about it, he ran a soothing hand down her back. Touching her as a means to comfort her had become practically second nature, and Stiles wasn’t sure that had happened either, or when she’d started allowing it. Everything was kind of blurry.
Derek motioned to the chairs, which were all he had at the moment. “Have a seat. I’ve got some water if either of you want some.” He said as he ran a hand over the back of his neck.
Lydia shook her head, “No thanks,” she said while sitting in one of the seats.
Derek glanced at Stiles with an arched eyebrow.
“I’m good,” he told Derek at the offer of water, moving to sit down in the chair beside Lydia. The older man’s amusement didn’t escape Stiles, either. Not much did usually, but he honestly had no idea what brought on Derek’s this time. He watched him with a hint of confusion on his face.
Derek cleared his throat when he noticed Stiles and Lydia watching him. His hand went to the back of his neck again, a bad habit that he couldn’t seem to get rid of. “Okay...I guess I should probably start from the beginning. I need to grab something, just...give me a minute.” He said gruffly as he walked away from them and moved up the spiral staircase.
Lydia watched him go confusion on her face. She could hear Derek moving around and she glanced at Stiles. “What do you think he’s doing up there?” She asked quietly. Lydia was impatient and she wanted to know what he knew and now.
Stiles blinked, and then he shook his head, looking at Lydia sideways. “I have no idea,” he admitted. And usually he was the first to figure things out, but he wasn’t sure that Derek Hale was ever going to be someone he had figured out.
“He’s such a weird little werewolf,” Lydia said to Stiles as Derek stepped off the last stair with an arched eyebrow.
“I’m hardly little.” He said as he gripped a small wooden box in his hand. He walked over to Stiles and Lydia and sat on the low table that was in front of them. He was silent for a minute trying to figure out how to say what he wanted to say.
Stiles smirked at Derek’s comment about being little and had to refrain from making a smart ass comment.
“I’m not sure how much the two of you know about my family. Probably not much.” Derek didn’t talk about them much. Derek didn’t talk about anything much.
Stiles looked curiously at the box he set down, and when he started talking about his family, he eyed the man silently. He knew from Peter -- whom he still didn’t and probably never would trust -- that Deaton had been Derek’s mom’s emissary until she’d died. That he’d stuck around to help Derek though he’d wound up being more help to Scott because Derek didn’t tend to want or accept any sort of help most of the time.
“Deaton worked side-by-side with my Mother and so did a few other people managing the supernatural community. I guess that’s what it was, I was young.” He sighed and stopped attempting to explain that part. Derek wasn’t good with long explanations. He needed to get to the point. “One of those people was your sister Elizabeth.” He said quietly as he met Lydia’s gaze.
Lydia’s face paled at his words. “What?”
At the mention of Lydia’s sister Stiles’ mouth drop open. “Wait, what?”
Derek glanced between them and reached for the box again. He opened it up and pulled out a woman’s necklace. On the end was a pendant. On one side it held the Hale family Triskelion and on the other side was an old world etching of a woman, long hair whipping in front of her face as if there was a strong wind, mouth open and long dress billowing around her.
He held it up, “Do you recognize this?” He asked watching Lydia closely.
Lydia sucked in a sharp breath, her eyes turning glassy as she hesitated for a second before reaching for it. As soon as her fingers closed over the delicate chain Derek released it in her hands. Lydia brought it closer and her chest tightened. “Oh my god,” she whispered. “This is my sisters, this is Eliza’s.” It was a nickname, something she’d called her that no one else had. It was their thing as kids.
Stiles looked between Derek and Lydia before his gaze locked onto the pendant on the necklace. He recognized the Hale family symbol, and there was something vaguely familiar about the other as well, but he couldn’t quite place it yet. He saw the moment that Lydia’s mask began slipping, though, and he reached out and laid his hand on her shoulder before looking back at Derek.
“So your mom...and Deaton...knew Lydia’s sister?” And Lydia’s sister had clearly been involved in the supernatural, and it only took him a second longer to put the rest of the pieces together. “Elizabeth was a banshee.” It wasn’t a question, more like a statement of realization.
Derek looked away from Lydia and at Stiles. “Yes, she was. She protected our family.” He explained. “That might be the wrong word. She let us know when we were in danger.” He corrected. “Banshee’s are...special. We found out your sister was one when she was bitten by someone from a visiting pack and turned out to be immune.” Derek’s gaze traveled back to Lydia giving her a minute to take that in.
“Wait, my sister was bitten by a werewolf?” Lydia asked as her hand clenched around the necklace. “What is with you people and trying to munch on my family?” She snapped, but she wasn’t mad a Derek, she was surprised and thrown and so many different things at once. And it was hard hearing that Eliza was part of all of this too.
Stiles was struggling to process what Derek was saying because it wasn’t making sense in his brain. Lydia’s sister had been immune to the bite the same way that Lydia was immune to the bite.
Derek arched an eyebrow and glanced between them. “Elizabeth didn’t know she was a banshee and neither did we until she was bitten. Deaton was actually the one who told my mother about Banshee mythology,” he explained before glancing at Lydia.
“I didn’t realize, when you were immune to Peter’s bite, I didn’t make the connection then. I didn’t know you were Elizabeth’s sister so the thought that you could be a banshee never occurred to me.” Derek explained honestly. He’s been too caught up in needing power and building his pack to really think clearly.
Lydia frowned, “But I don’t understand. How?” She was so confused. Lydia still didn’t understand how she became a banshee and knowing her sister was one now suggested that being a banshee ran in her family. She shook her head, “This can’t be true.”
Stiles pursed his lips, a troubled expression on his face. This was all leading up to something that he wasn’t very happy to realize. Derek hadn’t put the pieces together until recently, but someone else certainly had. Someone who always seemed to have answers but withheld those answers way more often than Stiles was comfortable with. His jaw tightened ever-so-slightly and he had to take a deep breath to force himself to shove down the anger that was already building.
At the distress in Lydia’s voice, he reached out and laid his hands on her shoulders gently, looking at Derek. “But you guys didn’t know that she was connected to your family until after she was bitten?” He was already trying to form a timeline in his mind.
Derek could see the pain on Lydia’s face and he genuinely felt bad for putting it there. “Correct.” He said as he rested his arms on his legs. “It’s hard to explain because I don’t know the entire story.” He glanced at Lydia, “When I met your sister she had just turned thirteen. I was twelve. I must have met her right after they told her what she was.” He explained.
“I think...I think she was attacked by one of the visiting wolf packs because she was in the woods. Later she told my Mom that something brought her out there, she didn’t know what or who or how she even got there.” He explained, “Sound familiar?” The difference was Lydia had those after the bite, but it was almost as if someone had lured her sister out there. But Derek couldn’t be sure.
Lydia opened her mouth and then closed it before pursing her lips. “She had blackouts like me, like when I started finding the bodies.” She whispered, “But she was so young...and what about my parents? And how did it start?” The questions all came pouring out of her mouth. She leaned into Stiles touch convinced it was the only thing keeping her sane at the moment.
Derek pushed himself up and stepped away from them trying to calm his own inner demons as she frantically asked him questions. “Lydia...I don’t know the answers to those questions. My Mom and Deaton helped Elizabeth with her abilities. They helped her develop them until she learned how to control them.”
Derek scratched the back of his neck, “The day she died...I think maybe, I think she knew it was going to happen. She gave me that necklace, told me to keep it safe. I don’t know why I kept it. We were friends, things were different then.” His expression was pained.
This was all getting way weirder than Stiles had anticipated when they’d talked about coming to talk to Derek to find out what he knew. He was feeling more than a little uneasy about everything the guy was saying. It wasn’t that he didn’t believe Derek, because he did, but he was feeling overwhelmed by the information, and if he was feeling overwhelmed by the information, he knew Lydia had to be feeling way worse.
“Do you know if Lydia’s parents knew anything about what was going on with Elizabeth?” His initial feeling was no, because surely they would have been keeping a closer eye on Lydia than they’d been doing for awhile and he felt a surge of protectiveness, squeezing her shoulders gently.
Derek shook his head. “But I still have the book on Banshee lore, their origins. You are connected to us somehow and you’re connected to a specific family of humans.” Derek said his gaze slowly darting over to Stiles.
Stiles sighed, and then contemplated what Derek had said about Lydia being connected to his family, which wasn’t a huge surprise, but he did wonder if Peter had known when he’d bitten Lydia. If that had been part of his plan all along, to awaken her inner banshee or however it worked. But he frowned when Derek mentioned her being connected to a family of humans. He shook his head. “What do you mean? What family?”
Derek glanced between Stiles and Lydia and he could practically feel the tension pouring from both of them. He sighed. Derek held up a hand. “According to the lore, every banshee is connected to a specific human bloodline. Their cries are for the members of that family. They sense other things also,” he explained to Stiles, “But, it’s complicated.” Derek paused, “The day Lydia’s sister died, she cried for someone. There were only two people who died on that day in Beacon Hills.” He said his voice quiet.
Though he wasn’t sure why, Stiles’ heart skipped a beat at how quiet Derek’s voice had gotten. Derek was never this soft spoken and it was starting to freak him out more than a little, and he swallowed hard. “O...kay?”
Derek hated emotions. No, that sounded wrong. He hated dealing with overly emotional teenagers. He took a step back as Lydia’s eyebrow rose. They were waiting on him. He took a deep breath and crossed his arms over his chest. “Claudia Stilinski and Elizabeth Martin died within five minutes of each other.” He said quietly. “It’s something you can probably verify with your Father, something he most likely hasn’t even realized. I think...I think it’s the reason Deaton chose Lydia to be your anchor,” Scott had filled him in on the process and the ritual. It made sense the way he paired people up.
A soft gasp fell from Lydia’s throat and her head jerked in Stiles direction. “No...that can’t, But,” her voice broke not sure what to say. Could that have happened? Could her sister really have known Stiles Mom was going to die? Logically she knew it could. Afterall Lydia was convinced her scream was for Stiles and look where that had gotten them now.
All the color drained from Stiles’ face and he stared at Derek, opening his mouth to speak, but no sound escaped him. It felt like he’d actually been punched in the gut, like he’d lost his ability to breathe. What he was saying made sense on some level, but it was also too much for him to actually process at the moment. He lifted a hand, rubbing it over his face and turning away, walking toward the window as his heart thudded hard in his chest.
Lydia’s sister had predicted his mother’s death.
Truth be told, he felt a bubble of laughter welling up within him, but it wasn’t the joyful kind of laughter. It was the hysterical kind and he pressed his hand to his mouth to keep the terrible sound -- and it would be a terrible sound if it escaped -- from escaping. He felt like he had that day in class not that long ago when Mr. Yukimura had requested he get up from his seat and read a section of history to the class and he hadn’t been able to read anything. He felt dizzy, disoriented, like the world had literally rocked underneath him and he couldn’t quite find his balance.
Something inside Lydia shifted and she felt a wave of extreme panic run through her. Lydia’s hand thrust out and gripped the arm of the chair. Confusion crossed her face and she saw Derek take a hesitant step forward.
But when the feeling dissipated seconds later her gaze darted to Stiles. It was him she was feeling. Lydia moved quickly navigating Derek’s apartment until she reached Stiles. She slid a hand up his back until it curled around his shoulder. “Stiles,” she whispered she searched for the right words, but they didn’t come. “You’re not alone.” She said finally squeezing his shoulder trying to get him to turn around and face her.
His eyes were a little wild when he turned to look at her, vision blurry from unshed tears. This was not okay. None of this was okay. He didn’t know how to even begin processing what Derek had just told them. Truthfully, Stiles had always felt a connection to Lydia, ever since they were kids, but he’d brushed it off as part of a stupid crush. Was it more than that? Derek seemed to think so. What were they supposed to do with this information? Stiles usually liked figuring things out, finding the answers, solving the mysteries.
But this involved his mother. His mother that he’d watched slowly die in a hospital day after day. He could still feel her hand growing cold as he clutched onto it after the doctors had turned the machines off that night.
And his dad.
His dad had been with Lydia’s sister while she died that same night. Tears spilled down his face but he quickly swiped his hand over his eyes, embarrassed and confused, chest tight.
Lydia shook her head and then gripped his cheeks gently. “Don’t hide from me,” she said her own eyes shining with tears. She was quiet for a minute, “We’re going to get going Derek, thank you for talking to us.” She said in a shaky voice knowing Stiles wouldn’t want to be here of all places when he finally let himself go. “Stiles, let’s go home...come on.” She said as she brushed her thumb against his cheek.
Stiles shut his eyes, letting out a shaky breath when she spoke. He just nodded silently, grateful for her perceptiveness. It wasn’t that he didn’t like or trust Derek, but he didn’t even want to cry in front of Lydia, let alone the former-alpha werewolf. He was only half with it when Lydia guided him toward the door that would lead them out of Derek’s loft. He felt numb, like he was outside his body watching and listening to everything that was happening.
It wasn’t a good feeling at all.
Derek gripped Lydia’s shoulder gently stopping her movements and when she glanced over her shoulder he pursed his lips and held the box out to her. “The necklace and the book. So you can understand.” He told her his voice gruff.
Lydia watched Derek for a second before nodding and taking it in her free hand. She continued guiding Stiles out of the loft and into the poorly lit hallway. Today hadn’t been what she expected and so close to the anniversary of her sister’s death...and Stiles’ Mom. Her grip tightened on him as the sound of Derek shutting the door reverberated in the hallway. “It’s going to be okay, I know it doesn’t feel like it, but we’ll be okay.” Lydia said again her voice sounding odd to her own ears as she gripped Stiles with one hand and the box with the other.
He wanted to believe that. Wanted it more than just about anything. But now, somehow, he was going to have to find a way to explain to his dad how much more entwined with the supernatural their lives were, and had always been. And he had absolutely no idea how he was supposed to do that.
It had been a long afternoon. The drive back to his house from Derek’s had been silent, though Lydia had held onto his arm the entire time. He was grateful for her presence, grateful for the silent support even though he knew she needed it just as much as he did. When they’d gotten back to his house, they’d eaten soup for lunch, mostly because it was all either of them could stomach. Then they’d worked quietly on homework for part of the day at the kitchen table, abandoning it the latter half of the day for his room.
Finally, when he couldn’t focus another minute on the words in his economics book, he shut it and tossed it onto the floor by his bag, flopping down on his bed and rubbing a hand over his face. They hadn’t talked about it since they’d left Derek’s. They each needed their own time to process everything, and Stiles honestly wasn’t sure that a lifetime of processing would actually be enough time.
“We should probably talk about it.” His voice was barely audible.
Lydia glanced up from her science homework, the questions that normally took her only minutes to answer, not seeming to even register in her head tonight. She was lying on her stomach on his bed, feet up in the air behind her. Lydia considered his words as she slipped the notebook into the textbook and closed the heavy book on top of the paper to keep her page for later.
Unfortunately homework was still due even when supernatural creatures were trying to kill your friends and long lost truths came bubbling to the surface. Lydia nodded, “We should.” The problem was she didn’t know what to say. Things between her and Stiles had been changing lately and a part of her now was questioning whether those changes had to do with who they were or what she was. “I,” she paused hesitating for some reason.
“It doesn’t seem real,” Lydia told him finally, “And yet it makes so much sense.”
It definitely didn’t seem real, and part of him was disappointed in himself for not having made the connection that his mother and her sister had died on the same night eight years before. Research was what he did. It was his contribution to their little group, or pack as Scott called it. Way to miss the big flashing neon sign in the rearview mirror, Stilinski, he thought tiredly. “It’s...really weird,” he murmured, looking over at her, expression more vulnerable than usual.
“I didn’t see it coming.” His voice grew even quieter.
“Me either,” Lydia said her voice just as soft. She had no idea her sister was involved in all of this or that she knew Deaton and Derek’s Mother. She’d been a child, and now that she thought about it she remembered her sister coming home more than once with cuts and bruises, things she’d made Lydia promise were their little secret.
Lydia’s chest tightened, “I don’t know what this means...for me, for you...and for the pack.” She said her gaze falling to the comforter. It had been so long since she really delved into her feelings about her sister. So long since she brought out those feelings of loss, anger, and pain. But now, it was like she felt it tenfold. Like something or someone was crushing her chest. “I’m sorry...I’m so sorry about your Mom, about whatever part my sister had and…” Lydia’s voice cut off and she sat up before standing and taking a deep breath.
“I have this horrible ball of guilt just building inside my chest,” she said her hand balling up and pressing against said spot, “Because after everything that happened today one of the only things I can think is what if you and I aren’t okay.” She said voicing her fears.
“I’m so completely selfish, I thought, I thought that was changing, but apparently not.” She said with a humorless laugh as she pushed herself off of Stiles’ bed and stood, distress clear on her face even eyes tears threaten to fall at the slightest provocation.
“Lydia, no,” he interrupted, shaking his head vehemently. “No, listen to me. Your sister didn’t -- she didn’t cause anything, okay?” His face was stricken as he turned so he was facing her. “You haven’t either. You haven’t caused any of this.” He quickly got to his feet, too, reaching out and grasping her arm with one hand, gentle but firm. “God.” He exhaled, reaching out and pulling her to him without another thought and burying his face in her hair.
“My mom...she didn’t die from something supernatural, okay?” His voice was strained, and it was a combination of seeing her so near tears and just the general amount of stress that was compiling in their lives, threatening to drown them both. Drown them all. “It wasn’t like that.” He shut his eyes. “She...she had a rare form of dementia. It was -- it was awful and slow and…” He couldn’t find the words anymore and he couldn’t stop his own rambling because she had to understand that her sister hadn’t done anything to hurt his mother that Lydia wasn’t responsible for anything that had happened.
“Listen. It was the most horrible thing I lived through, but it was completely...look it was just...natural.” He shuddered at the word because it hadn’t felt natural, losing his mother when he was eight. Nothing about it felt natural or right or like it was what was supposed to happen. “She was just really sick.” He felt a tear roll down his cheek and he pulled away to look at her.
“Elizabeth didn’t do anything to make it happen.” He knew that much in his heart. “And you haven’t done anything to hurt anyone so please don’t think we’re not okay, Lydia, because...god, okay, you’re like–” He swallowed hard. “You’re pretty much my only friend beside Scott, okay? We’re fine. Everything between us is fine on my side of things, so don’t even worry about that.”
Stiles’ words broke her, everything Lydia had been holding in since all of this crazy entered her life was pushed to the surface and she couldn’t contain in this time. Her arms tightened around him, her tears trailing down her cheeks as she held onto him as tight as she could. She hated hearing the pain in his voice, the confusion and yet Lydia could see that all Stiles wanted to do was reassure her. Even through his own pain.
No one had ever put her first the way he did. And he did it a lot. Even before they were friends and even before she acknowledged his existence. “No one should have to go through that,” she said her voice muffled by his neck and shoulder. “You and your Dad, you shouldn’t have had to deal with that and I’m so sorry you did, I can’t imagine how painful it must have been.”
Lydia pressed herself tighter against Stiles, “Sometimes when I was growing up I used to wish my sister’s death wasn’t so quick. I always thought she was alone and scared and none of us got to say goodbye.” She swallowed heavily shifting back enough to see Stiles face. “I was angry and in pain and I just wanted her back, but,” Lydia sucked in breath one of her hands sliding down Stiles’ chest, “Now I know...I’d never wish that on anyone.”
Stiles swallowed hard as she held onto him more tightly and he shut his eyes. She was right, of course. No one should have to go through losing their mom like that, at such an early age. He’d be lying if he tried to say he wasn’t angry or bitter over it to this day, but for the most part it just hurt. It hurt in a way that nothing else really could. He said nothing for a moment and she continued talking.
“I just don’t want to be bad...I want to help people, I want to be good and I don’t want to ever wonder if what I am is dangerous to the people I love. Derek said Elizabeth knew she was going to die, that he thought she felt it, so why didn’t she say anything? Why didn’t she come to us? Or to the pack? Was she as afraid of what she was as I am? There are all these questions and then there’s us.” She whispered.
“How much of our connection is us and how much is it something else? Our lives...they’re so much more entwined than I thought and I...what does that mean?” She asked searching his face quietly.
It took Stiles a moment to realize something when she began to talk about her sister, a niggling fact that his dad had told him in a rush of sobbing apologies the same night. “Lydia.”
He drew in a shaky breath. “She wasn’t alone. My dad...he was with her that night. He stayed with her.” He reached up, brushing a tear off her cheek with the pad of his thumb, but at the mention that she was afraid she was bad, he leaned in and pressed a kiss to her forehead.
“Listen to me, Lyds,” he whispered.
One of his hands came up to thread through her strawberry blond hair. “You’re not evil. Remember, I’m like an evil detector, okay? There’s not a damn thing evil about you, I promise.” He considered her words about their friendship, their connection. “I don’t have any answers for those questions, but...look this is part of who you are. It isn’t...like a separate entity. It’s just one more layer in this incredibly beautiful, incredibly complex puzzle named Lydia Martin.” He managed a watery smile.
“So it doesn’t matter if we’re friends because we chose it or it chose us. All that matters is that we are.”
Lydia stood there in awe of Stiles. No one in her life saw things the way he did. No one saw her the way he did. He always knew what to say to make whatever was bothering her better. He never doubted her, always gave her the benefit of the doubt when it came to anything and everything. He didn’t let her get carried away with ‘what ifs’, thankfully because god knows she could go on with them.
Lydia didn’t know what she’d ever done to deserve someone like Stiles in her life, but she was grateful for him every second of everyday, which was why the thought of losing him terrified her so much. He was a good guy, the best kind of guy. And knowing that his Father had stayed with her sister...it put to rest some of the guilt that had lingered inside of her since she was a child.
Lydia opened her mouth her hand curling into his shirt, but she wasn’t sure how to express what she was currently feeling. She didn’t think they made words that strong or that covered so many emotions at once. “I’m sorry he wasn’t with you,” she whispered and she was. Her sister might not have been alone, but that meant Stiles had been and nothing could ever take away the pain that, that probably caused him.
He looked down at her hand for a moment, his chest tightening at her words and for a moment he couldn’t even breathe. He’d been angry with his dad for such a long time because he hadn’t been there, and even though he understood now why he wasn’t, he hadn’t understood it when he was eight years old. Truthfully sometimes it still made him angry. But now, knowing who the crash victim had been, knowing that it was Lydia’s older sister…
Stiles swallowed hard, shaking his head. “He was where he was supposed to be,” he said quietly. “I get that now.” He slid his hand up to cover hers, sliding their fingers together. He shut his eyes for a moment, then opened them once more and looked at her. He hesitated only a second, then let go of her hand and slid his arms around her again, just needing to hug her. To be hugged. They’d both gone through so much and they weren’t even seniors in high school yet.
Lydia returned the hug burying her face against his neck, enjoying the feel of his arms around her. Being in Stiles’ arms was comforting, safe. It felt like...home. Like it was where she belonged and the fact that she’d been too blind or too stupid to see it all this time made her genuinely angry at herself.
Lydia should have seen it years ago. She should have seen it with the looks he sent her way, the valentine’s day cards that always found their way in her little paper mailbox in elementary school, and the way he always tried to get her attention no matter how much she ignored him. Lydia tightened her grip on him, running her hand up and down his back as she stayed in his arms for several minutes.
After a while, Lydia shifted back enough so that she could see Stiles face. She reached up and used her thumb to brush away the tears that had fallen onto his skin. She kept her hand there for a minute, her gaze locked on his. Lydia’s gaze dropped to his mouth.
He smiled softly when she pulled away to look at him but then he watched her gaze drop to his mouth, and involuntarily, his dropped to hers, too.
And then something happened. Lydia felt herself shifting closer to him. Her teeth caught her bottom lip in her mouth and she weighed her options. But in this moment, right now, with Stiles standing in front of her there was really only one thing she wanted to do. And for once Lydia was going to give in to what she wanted. She tilted her head up and carefully brushed her lips against his, the movement soft, hesitant.
His heart skipped a beat as she moved closer and he closed his eyes when she kissed him. It was soft, just barely there, like the tender brush of a feather against his lips.
Lydia did it again, her lips just barely grazing his. They were warm and soft, but she kept the kiss light. She dropped her hand from his face a second later, but it didn’t go far as it rested on the material of his shirt. Lydia stayed where she was waited with baited breath her eyes never leaving his face not sure what his reaction was going to be.
The pressure faded quickly and he drew in a shaky breath, opening his eyes to look at her and wondering what was going on in her mind right then.
Stiles wasn’t sure what to do, or what to say, because he was afraid whatever he did or said would end up being the exact wrong thing. He loved her. He knew that. Had known that for a long time and now that he actually truly knew her? He loved her more than he’d realized possible.
But she’d never really given any indication that her feelings for him went beyond the line of platonic friendship. Maybe even best friendship. But best friends didn’t generally kiss, in his experience. He and Scott didn’t kiss. Maybe it was a girl thing? He really had no idea and he felt like he was flying blind as he tried to read her expression.
“Lydia?” His voice was barely audible. “I need you to level with me here, because...I honestly have no idea what...I mean was that...you know, like, a comforting friend thing, or...were you feeling anxious or…”
Lydia’s chest tightened at his words and a spark of guilt struck her. Stiles had absolutely no idea how she felt. He’d made it crystal clear over the years and not once had she ever given him any indication of what was going on inside of her. She held his gaze and slid her free hand down his arm until she could thread her fingers through his.
“I’m not feeling anxious,” she said softly as she took their interlocked hands and rested them over her heart. “I’m feeling...loved.” She whispered. “Stiles, I’m not entirely sure you understand how much you mean to me. So, maybe...maybe it’s time I tell you.”
His breath caught in his throat when she said she wasn’t feeling anxious. Sure enough her pulse was strong, and steady, not too fast. Not fast enough for anxiety. He swallowed hard as he searched her eyes, trying to figure out where she was going with this. He wasn’t entirely sure if she was about to make him the happiest guy on the planet, or if she was about to very gently remove his heart from his chest -- again -- and never give it back. So he simply nodded, afraid of what might tumble out of his mouth if he spoke again.
Lydia nodded back, “It has taken me a long time to see what’s right in front of me,” she started a wave of shame filling her, “and it’s taken me even longer to accept it. When Jackson left, I think it crushed a little piece inside of me and I was too afraid to put myself out there again, too afraid to chance my heart on someone else.” Her words were raw and full of emotion. These were things she’d never even told Allison even though she was pretty sure her friend knew them. “But Stiles, you’ve protected my heart for years, even when it wasn’t yours.” She said softly not able to keep the moisture from her eyes.
“I lost myself in idiots because I was scared, so I took the easy way out...but I’m ready now.” Lydia shifted closer to Stiles, “I don’t want to ignore whatever this is, I don’t want to have regrets. I don’t want to wake up one morning and realize that I never gave this a chance. That I never told you what you are to me.” She paused the normal confidence that was always there lacking at the moment.
“I guess what I’m trying to say is that I…I’m kind of falling in love with you.” The words were out in one breath and surprise colored her features. Lydia couldn't believe she’d finally said that out loud and in front of Stiles. And just like that she was incredibly anxious.
Stiles had to take a deep breath and force himself to keep his gaze on her and not look down to count his fingers to make sure there were only ten, because he wasn’t entirely convinced he was awake and not dreaming. He’d tried for years just to get on Lydia’s radar to no avail, until all the supernatural things had begun happening. Until Scott had gotten good at lacrosse and then he’d been on her radar as Scott’s annoying best friend.
Aside from her confession of her feelings for him, Stiles wasn’t surprised by anything she was saying. He knew Jackson had hurt her, had wounded her in ways that maybe she’d never fully heal from. Knew that when he’d left, it had broken her heart. She’d loved him, and maybe part of her always would. That she’d lost herself in idiots wasn’t news, either. He’d kept an eye on her, knew she was going out with various well known jerks both at school and from the local college. It had hurt, but he understood. She hadn’t had feelings for him then. She was just in pain and trying to heal herself. He got it. He understood it. He understood her.
Stiles lifted his hand to her cheek, gently moving his thumb over her soft skin. “I kinda...can’t believe this is actually happening,” he admitted with a tiny smile.
Lydia leaned into his touch and a soft laugh tumbled from her throat, but she kept her gaze on his. “It’s happening,” she said softly, the small smile leaving her face suddenly, “If you still want it to happen...If I didn’t wait too long.” She said quietly. Stiles had every right to reject her. After everything she’d put him through, after ignoring him and basically saying without words he wasn’t good enough.
But that was before she knew him. Before she knew that there wasn’t anyone in the world more loyal, brave, honest, and loving than he was. In reality it was Stiles that was too good for her. She didn’t deserve him, but she desperately wanted to.
Was she kidding? She had to be kidding. She’d waited a long time, but considering the fifteen year plan he’d drawn up to woo her and eventually get her to marry him one day, he was way ahead of schedule. His smile got a little bigger and a second later, he was leaning in and kissing her for real this time, one hand threading through her hair. “No such thing as waiting too long for something like this, Lydia.”
Lydia relaxed into him a grin spreading across her face as she wrapped her arms around his neck, “Thank god, because that would have been embarrassing,” she joked as she tilted her head up and captured his lips in another kiss as she pressed herself against him, her heart feeling slightly lighter than it had hours ago.