April 23, 2014

The Dark Side of The Moon 13/14

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: 13/14
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 | Nine | Ten | Eleven | Twelve |

Chapter 13

Lydia sat up with a gasp, her breathing heavy as she ran a hand through her hair moving it away from her face. Her skin was clammy so she shoved at the blanket covering her body pausing when what she was doing hit her. Lydia’s brows furrowed and she glanced around. It took her a minute to realize she was in Stiles’ bedroom. “What the hell?” She mumbled as she pushed the covers off her legs and dropped them to the ground. “Stiles?” Lydia called out to him again, but he didn’t answer.

The room was dark and silence filled the air around her. Lydia swallowed hard and stood up slowly trying to figure out what was going on. This was the inside of Stiles’ head? It didn’t seem too terrible, but she’d been in one of his dreams before and knew that sometimes it was. Lydia glanced around again pausing when she noticed the closet door open just a crack.

Lydia bit her bottom lip hesitating for less than a second before walking toward the door. She reached for the knob and pulled it open slowly. It was pitch black inside and she could feel her heart starting to pound again. “Hello? Stiles?” Lydia called out again into the darkness, but once again there was no answer.

“Of course not, nothing can ever be easy,” she said under her breath before walking inside. Darkness swallowed her whole and panic settled in when the door slammed behind her. Lydia took off running in the darkness and then she was falling, screaming, the weightless feel of her body making her stomach drop.

Lydia landed with a thud on her hands and knees her eyes squeezed shut tightly. When she realized there was solid ground beneath her palms she let her eyes flutter open and the bright fluorescent lights shone in her eyes burning them. Lydia blinked several times to adjust her vision. She used her hands to push herself up so she was standing on bare feet. Lydia brushed a hand down the gray sweater and cotton pajama shorts she wore and frowned when she realized where she was.

Lydia glanced around the hallway of Beacon Hills Memorial Hospital and felt anxiety stir in her chest. She needed to find Stiles. She stood there in the empty halls and closed her eyes, focusing her thoughts on her boyfriend and trying to follow Deaton’s directions. Lydia’s eyes popped open a couple of minutes later and her legs starting walking without any direction from her head.

She walked steadily down the hallway to the end and then made a right down another hallway. Lydia kept moving not knowing how she knew where to go. But she did. Lydia made a left and paused when she spotted a room at the end of the hallway with a light on. Stiles was there, she could feel it.

Lydia took off down the hall her bare feet padding across the tile as she ran for the room a hint of relief filling her. Her hair flew behind her as she gripped the doorway and jerked to a halt in front of the open door. Confusion filled her gaze at the sight in front of her. There was a woman lying in the bed hooked up to several monitors and a little boy was sitting in a chair beside her, his hand clasping the larger one.

Lydia took a step forward and froze when she saw the woman’s face. Her heart jumped in her chest, not at all prepared for the scene in front of her. “Oh my god,” she whispered.

The little boy in the chair held onto his mom’s hand tightly, pressing his face against the hospital mattress. His shoulders were tense and after a moment he lifted his head up, sniffling. “I just want you to get better and come with me and Dad,” he whispered. “I’m sorry, Mommy.”

Lydia felt moisture gather in her eyes as she stood there. She hadn’t been expecting this, but it made sense in a way, logically speaking. She glanced behind her and the hallway was still empty. She took a deep breath and let it out slowly hesitating for a moment before stepping into the hospital room.

Lydia could hear a steady beeping echoing in the quiet room. The smell of industrial cleaners was strong and the white walls made her stomach turn. Lydia hated hospitals. She took another step forward and paused a few feet behind the chair Stiles was sitting in...or a younger version of Stiles.

Lydia wet her lips, “Stiles?” She called softly, her heart beating erratically in her chest.

“He can’t hear you,” Stiles said tiredly from where he sat against the wall in the corner of the room, all color drained from his face. “It’s just a memory.” He looked up at her with sad eyes. “Lydia, you shouldn’t have followed me.”

Lydia whirled around and her heart clenched when she saw Stiles on the floor. “Are you daft? Of course I followed you,” she exclaimed as she closed the distance between them quickly. Lydia bent down kneeling in front of him. “Stiles...what are you doing here?” She asked trying her best not to cry at the agonized look on his face.

“It’s where the door led to,” he whispered. He looked like he hadn’t slept in weeks. “It’s where it always leads to.” He laid his head back against the wall and turned his head, a flicker of pain crossing his features as the heart machine began to whine loudly. He shut his eyes as though trying to block out the sound.

The smaller version of Stiles gripped more tightly onto his mom’s hand. “Mommy? Mommy?! MOMMY!” he screamed.

Lydia couldn’t help turning to face the younger version of Stiles when he started to scream and the second her eyes locked on him she gasped for air and clutched at her heart. “Oh god,” a rush of grief struck her knocking her forward until one of her hands was pressed against the cold tile floor. Anger rushed through her body next; she could feel her muscles clench as she tried to figure out what the hell was happening.

But it was too much at once, a sob fell from her throat and she forced her eyes shut breaking whatever connection had been made. Lydia sucked in a sharp breath her body shaky as she pushed herself back into a kneeling position and turned to her Stiles. “Stiles, we have to go,” she pleaded in a whispered voice.

Nurses began to flood the room, completely unaware of Lydia or Stiles’ presence. One of them began calling out orders. “And get this kid out of here!” she shouted.

“No! No, you can’t make me go! That’s my MOM!” little Stiles cried, struggling against one of the nurses as they tried to pull him away from the bed.

Stiles turned his head back to look at Lydia. “It’s dark out there,” he whispered. “I can’t see anything when I try to leave the room.”

Lydia tried to focus. She was smart, she could deal with this, it was simple psychology. She shoved the fading emotions into the back of her head and focused on Stiles. He was pale with dark bags beneath his eyes. His eyes, beautiful and always so full of love were void and it pained Lydia to see him this way.

“It’s okay, I know the way out. It’s not dark for me.” She whispered as she reached out and touched him. It was the wrong thing to do. The second she did, nausea overwhelmed her. Lydia felt nothing. It was like an immense shroud of darkness and hopelessness filled her. Was this what Stiles felt, what was going on inside of him? “Stiles please,” Lydia did her best to coax his focus onto her. “We came here together, I can help. It’s why I’m here.”

“I can’t, Lyds,” he whispered, his voice strained. “I have to stay. I can’t leave her alone again.” A tear slid down his cheek. “I can’t.” He shuddered as he watched his younger self being dragged out of the room, screaming and crying. A moment later the scene began again. Younger Stiles was sitting in the chair by his mother’s bedside, clutching her hand.

“This is it,” he murmured. “It’s all there is now. All that’s left.” He shut his eyes.

A look of horror crossed Lydia’s face when the room grew quiet again and his memory replayed. “How long have you been reliving this moment Stiles?” There was a hint of fear in her voice, but she tried to push it out. There was no place for fear here, Lydia needed to be strong.

Realization crossed her face, “A part of you has always been here hasn’t it...since the ritual you’ve been stuck in this...this endless loop.” Lydia reached out and gripped Stiles’ cheeks forcing him to look at her. “This isn’t all there is. You said yourself they can’t hear us or see us...Stiles, this wasn’t your fault, you were a kid and you’ve still got a family that needs you,” she whispered moisture in her eyes. “Please come with me, let me take you home.” Lydia needed him to come home, the Sheriff needed him too and Scott...they all did.

He scrubbed his hands over his face miserably, the heart monitor beginning to whine once more. “I can’t get it out of my head. I just want to get it out of my head, Lydia.” He felt sick, remembering every single moment of the horrible day so long ago.

Another tear rolled down his face when she said it wasn’t his fault. “But it was. It was my fault,” he whispered. “He knows it, too. It’s why he doesn’t trust me. It’s why -- “ His voice broke and he shook his head. “I can’t go back. All I’ve done is cause him problems. I got him in trouble at work. Scott’s dad is gonna try and get him fired and maybe if I hadn’t gotten involved, maybe things wouldn’t have...Scott wouldn’t have even been bitten in the first place and it just all comes back to this.” He was rambling, not making sense even if it made sense to him. “This is where I’m supposed to be. It should have been me and not her.”

“How can you say that?” She asked as her chest tightened. “Stiles, your Father loves you. He loves you more than anything. I’ve spent the last week with the two of you remember?” She asked not giving him a chance to answer as she kept her hands on his face.

“When I see the two of you together I see a family. I see a man who would do anything to protect his son and son who would do anything to protect his Father. You give your Dad a reason to get up in the morning Stiles; he’d be inconsolable if anything ever happened to you.”

Lydia’s voice broke, “I would be inconsolable. I don’t know what I’d do without you and I know that’s selfish, but you don’t belong here, you belong with me and with your Dad and Scott. We need you. You don’t realize that you hold us all together. Stiles please look at me, open your eyes, look at me.” She demanded in a soft voice.

“He’d be better off without me. I’m just this hyperactive little bastard who’s ruining his life,” he murmured. He looked over at his younger self, who was once more sitting at his mom’s bedside. When her voice broke, though, he shuddered, turning to look at her and opening his eyes, full of hot tears.

“You need to get out of here while you can. Before I ruin you, too. I love you too much to let that happen. Go and be happy. Forget about me. Look at me. I’m a wreck, okay? I’m literally trapped in my own memory. That isn’t normal,” he whispered. “You deserve so much more than this. You all do. But you have to look after Scott. And you have to look after my dad. Please, Lydia.”

Lydia shook her head, “No, no I’m not leaving you. Do you hear me Stiles? If I have to lift you up myself and drag you out of here I will. But I refuse to leave without you. And for you to even think I would...well I guess you still have a lot to learn about me.” She told him matter-of-factly ignoring the warm flow of tears spilling down her cheeks.

Stiles took a deep breath and caught her arms gently, standing up and pulling her to her feet, as well. “I’m so sorry,” he whispered, pressing a kiss against her mouth before guiding her to the door. “You have to go. You didn’t do this. I did.” He gently eased her out the door. “Just go back.”

“No,” Panic filled Lydia’s eyes, “No Stiles no,” But she felt something tugging at her. She gripped the doorknob tightly her eyes never leaving Stiles. “Don’t do this, Stiles please, please come with me.” She felt a breeze pick up in the hallway, which was impossible. They were inside. No, they were in his head and he was pushing her out. “Stiles, no, NO!”

Lydia’s body jerked on the metal examination table and she jerked awake screaming, “NO!” her voice carried through into a loud scream that nearly shattered the glass in the small back room of the veterinary office. She moved in blind panic hand fumbling as her eyes blinked open. She could see Scott on his knees his hands over his ears, Isaac and Derek as well, but she wasn’t really taking it in.

Lydia’s gaze landed on Stiles and she started freaking out, “Put me back, put me pack,” her panicked cries grew louder as she shifted off the table falling to the ground as sobs wracked her body. “Stiles,” his name left her throat in an anguished cry and she searched frantically for the needle Deaton had used on her. She needed to go back.

As soon as his ears stopped ringing, Scott was on his feet again. “Lydia! Lydia, what’s happening?” he asked, frightened.

Deaton quickly crossed the mountain ash barrier, leaning down to help Lydia to her feet once more. “I need you to tell us what you saw,” he said gently, his voice calm and soothing as always. Unless he knew what was going on, he couldn’t in good conscience put her back under. Truthfully he wasn’t sure how Stiles had managed to push her out of his mind and wake her up in the first place. “Can you do that, Lydia?”

Lydia’s body shook as her hands went to her head the emotions stirring in her head with her own. She shook her head, “He pushed me out, he...I have to go back I can’t leave him there,” her eyes were wide and the look in them was wild. “He’s torturing himself, he can’t let it go, it’s not his fault, he doesn’t think...Oh god I can’t...I can’t breathe what’s happening?” Lydia started to hyperventilate her hand reaching out to clutch the empty metal table.

Derek pursed his lips, “Deaton,” he said his tone warning as Isaac took a step forward.

“What the hell is going on, why is she freaking out like this and what was that scream?” He asked as he stepped closer to Allison, resting a hand on the small of her back for support.

Deaton exhaled, looking back at Derek and then at Scott. “I’m afraid it’s going to take more than Lydia to pull him back, even with as strong as their connection is. He’s fighting her,” he explained quietly. “Allison, please break the circle. I need someone who has a connection to Lydia to help her through the panic attack, and I need someone else to go and find Stiles’ father.”

Allison dropped to her knees, sweeping the mountain ash back and out of the way without any hesitation before rushing over to her best friend’s side. “Isaac? Can you find him?” Her voice was afraid. She put a comforting hand on Lydia’s face. “Lydia. Lydia, honey look at me.”

Isaac didn’t have to be asked twice, he was out of the building before Allison could say another word. Derek watched him go and then glanced back at Lydia and Allison, his expression pensive.

Lydia tried to suck in another breath, but her chest felt like it was too tight. Warmth gripped her and she tried to focus on the voice talking to her, was that Allison? The warmth of a hand on her cheek made her glance up and meet Allison’s gaze. “I can’t...Stiles,” the words that left her mouth were hoarse and she did her best to focus, but it was hard when she felt like she couldn't breathe.

“He’s going to be fine,” Allison said firmly, sounding a hundred times more confident than she actually felt at the moment, but that didn’t matter. Right now she had to stay calm because her best friend needed that from her. “Take a deep breath. And let it out slowly. We have to be calm so we can help Stiles, okay?”

Deaton looked back at Derek even as he rose to his feet to check on Stiles’ vitals, a grim expression on his face. He shook his head ever-so-slightly.

Scott caught the motion and rushed into the broken circle. He was beside Stiles in seconds and he focused his senses on his best friend. Pain etched into his face, “We need to fix this,” he said, “Now, we don’t have time to wait.” He stressed feeling helpless.

Lydia let out a sharp noise and grabbed her stomach. She could feel a scream building in her throat, but she fought it. “No,” her voice was breaking again as the urge to scream grew louder. “You can’t have him,” she shouted, “Scott, we need to go back in now, come with me he’ll listen to you, he will I know he will.”

Scott’s face paled at Lydia’s words and he glanced at Deaton. “Can you send us in now? What do I need to do?” He asked noticing that the panic attack must have passed when the Banshee part of Lydia attempted to scream.

Deaton looked at Lydia with worried eyes, and then shifted his gaze to Scott. He’d truly believed that Lydia alone would have been enough to pull Stiles out of the darkness in his mind and it troubled him that it hadn’t worked. He knew Scott well enough to know that if he didn’t agree, Scott would load up a syringe of sedative medication and inject himself. “Lie down. Derek, can you please get the one of the other tables from the storage room?” He requested, moving across the room to get two new syringes.

Allison looked from Lydia to Scott, frightened and trying really hard not to show it. “What about me? What can I do? How can I help?” She didn’t like being helpless when one of her friends was basically dying right in front of her and two other people she loved were going in to try and save him.

“Hold onto Scott. Kira, you too.” Deaton motioned to the table.

Kira moved into the circle right as Derek moved out the other table putting it on the other side of Stiles.

Scott walked around and got up on the table his gaze falling on Kira.

She swallowed hard and moved over to him gripping one of his arms tightly, “This is going to work,” she reassured him hoping she was right. Kira barely knew Stiles, but she could already see how much he meant to the group of people in front of her.

Scott gave her a worried smile as he waited for Allison to latch onto his other arm.

Derek hesitated before moving into the circle and holding a hand out to Lydia.

She glanced up her tear stained face looking tired and distraught. Lydia glanced at Derek’s hand and contemplated ignoring it, but she wasn’t sure she’d be able to stand on her own. So, Lydia reached up and took his hand letting him tug her up carefully. Surprise crossed her face when Derek’s touch silenced the whirlwind of emotions flowing through her. She tightened her grip on him. She could finally breathe again.

Deaton smiled very faintly, nodding as he witnessed the moment. “Derek will be acting as your anchor and Kira and Allison act as Scott’s while you and Scott try to draw Stiles out. They won’t actually see what you’re seeing, but they’ll feel your feelings while you’re inside of Stiles’ mind.” When no one protested, he moved to Scott’s side first, inserting the needle and injecting him with the sedative. A moment later he did the same to Lydia.

Scott’s eyes glowed as his body tried to fight the sedative. He jerked his arms making Allison and Kira tighten their grips, a sneer left his mouth and then the struggle was ripped from him as his body wobbled and then started to fall. Kira and Allison gently laid him back before keeping on hand each of him.

Lydia watched Scott’s eye close and she went to take a step toward the table, but stumbled as her body wavered.

Derek caught her and lifted her to the table. He glanced down on her with a frown not sure if this was the right thing to do, if Deaton letting him be her anchor was smart.

Lydia’s eyes fluttered, “I trust you,” she whispered before her head lolled to the side leaving Derek’s chest tight. It had been a long time since anyone had said that to him and he wasn’t entirely sure what to do with it or if he deserved it.

“You can do this, Derek,” Deaton said quietly, resting a hand on his shoulder. “Just concentrate. Think about Elizabeth.”

Derek swallowed hard, that was easier said than done. But he nodded and took a step toward the table, resting his large hands on Lydia’s shoulders. He pushed everything out of his mind and solely focused on Elizabeth and Lydia. Deaton was right, he could do this.


Scott woke up on the floor of Stiles’ bedroom, eyebrows furrowing as he sat up, puzzled. Stiles’ nightmare was...being in his room? It didn’t make any sense. Then he heard movement from the bed and turned to see Lydia sitting up with a gasp. He quickly got to his feet. If anyone was going to be able to figure out what they were supposed to do from here, it was the red-head. Strawberry blonde, he practically heard Stiles say in his own mind.

“Lydia? Lydia, what now? Where is he?” To say that Scott was freaked out would be a severe understatement, but he was trying to stay calm. “What do we do?”

Lydia spotted Scott and shoved the blankets off of her when she realized she was back in Stiles head. She stood and motioned for Scott to follow her. “Come on, we need to go through the closet,” she said practically running over to it her bare feet hitting the ground loudly. “It’s dark and we’re going to fall, but it will be fine.” She said grabbing Scott’s hand and tugging him into the closet.

He was confused by her words, but he let her lead him into Stiles’ closet, wondering what the hell was going on in his best friend’s mind. Everything seemed normal so far. And then, as Lydia predicted, they fell a short distance and when he looked up, his eyebrows furrowed. This was a place he was extremely familiar with because it was where his mother worked. He’d played hide and seek there with Stiles when they were little kids, before his mother died, and then he’d never wanted to come back to the hospital again.

And that’s when it clicked. His mother. It all went back to his mother.

“Oh, god,” he whispered inaudibly, following Lydia down the corridors and around corners until she stopped in front of a room whose door was slightly ajar. Somehow he had a terrible feeling he knew what was happening inside the room.

Lydia looked at the door and let out a breath. “He replays it. Over and over again...the same thing until he’s in tears. He’s torturing himself because he thinks it’s his fault.” She whispered. “He’s not doing well...when you see him it’s going to be a shock, but we need to convince him to leave the room with us okay? No matter what.” Lydia said her voice soft.

Scott nodded wordlessly, trying to prepare himself for whatever shape he was about to find his best friend in, but when he stepped inside and spotted his best friend’s eight year old form, his eyes widened. “Stiles?” he whispered.

A soft sound came from the corner of the room and seventeen year old Stiles looked up at the pair wordlessly for a long moment. They shouldn’t be here, he thought, exhausted. He wasn’t sure how much longer he could keep this up. “Hey Scottie.”

Scott’s chest tightened when he spotted Stiles. He stepped forward shifting closer to him as he spoke “Hey,” he said his voice strained. “Stiles, what are you doing here?” he asked quietly, but already knowing. It was clear what was happening. Lydia had been right. Stiles was living this moment over and over again. “We’ve got to go,” he said in hushed tones. “Will you come with me?” He asked letting his gaze slide over to Lydia briefly who stood a few feet behind him.

Stiles sighed softly. Even if he had the energy to get up, which he definitely didn’t, he didn’t think he had it in him to leave his mom again. He swallowed hard, looking over to where she lay dying in front of him. “I left her once. I can’t,” he whispered. “I can’t, Scottie.” He rarely ever used that nickname for Scott anymore, and he was the only one that Scott even let get by with it.

Scott wasn’t sure what to say to that. How did you tell your best friend he had to leave his sick and dying Mother behind? He glanced at Lydia who had kneeled down beside him. “He’s not listening,” he whispered to her.

Lydia met Scott’s gaze, “Try harder.” She reached out and rested a hand on Stiles’ cheek. “When I get you out of here, you are going to be so sorry you pushed me out Stiles Stilinski. I’ll say it again this time, so you can hear it better, I’m not leaving you. never. If you stay here, then so do I.”

Scott studied Lydia. He’d never seen her like this before, so emotionally raw. Her expression was set in somber determination and he was pretty sure she meant every word she spoke. And just like that he saw what Stiles had seen in Lydia all these years, her loyalty and fierce nature. She loved his best friend, and that was enough for Scott.

Stiles looked from Scott to Lydia and back again. “I love you guys,” he said quietly. “I really do. But…” His expression was pained as he looked back over at his mom, laying his head back against the wall as he watched the nurses try to revive her once more. “I have to face the consequences now. It’s time. And I’m tired.”

Scott gripped Stiles’ arm tighter, “I don’t know why you think this is your fault, but Stiles it’s not. We can fix this it isn’t too late. You were there for your Mom. You were by her side and she knows that.” Scott wasn’t sure how to convince him of that. He glanced over his shoulder just in time to see Lydia fall to her knees with a cry.

His chest tightened, “What’s happening?” He asked a hint of panic creeping into his voice.

Lydia gasped as she once again felt Stiles emotions inside of her. “Scott keep talking to him,” A sob was pulled from her throat the anxiety and grief weighing down on her. Lydia felt like it was crushing her. Pain blossomed in her chest and she cried out.

Scott grabbed Stiles, “You’ve got to snap out of this man, look...look at Lydia she needs you. I need you. Please, Stiles your Mom she’s safe now, she’s okay you don’t need to feel guilty anymore. You don’t need to feel this kind of pain. You need to let it go.” He stated.

The guilt was overwhelming as Scott shook him lightly. “You have to get her out of here,” he said, shaking his head. “Neither of you belongs here, okay? You didn’t do this! I did this! Scott, just get Lydia and get out of here, man. I can’t let it go. I don’t know how. How do you let it go when it’s your fault?” Before he could say anything more, a figure behind Scott and Lydia appeared in the doorway and Stiles let out a strangled sound as he looked at his dad.

“Dad?” he whispered, confused.

The Sheriff caught the tail end of his son’s words and he was pretty sure that nothing in the world had ever pained him more. He’d been confused when Isaac came to get him and even more confused when he walked into Deaton’s office. Hell he’d thought they were insane, but he could see now they clearly weren’t.

He hadn’t been paying attention to what was happening. He didn’t believe his own son...but this, this was worse than anything he could have imagined. The Sheriff stepped forward pausing when he saw Lydia on the floor clutching her chest.

He hesitated and Scott spoke, “I’ve got her.” He said moving over to Lydia as he motioned to Stiles.

The Sheriff nodded, swallowed hard and walked over to his son. He bent down slowly glancing between Stiles and the image of his younger self with his Mother. His chest tightened, but he pushed passed it. He needed to help his son.

“Stiles, this is not your fault. It never was,” his voice was thick with grief as he rested a hand on his son’s arm. The Sheriff blew out a breath. “It was mine. I should have been with you. I should have taken better care of your Mother. She was my wife; I should have known when she got sick that it wasn’t normal. I should have pushed her to figure out what was wrong sooner.” A lump formed in his throat and he looked down. “If this is anyone’s fault it’s mine. I wasn’t there for either of you. It’s why I’ve kept such a distance between us all these years son.”

The Sheriff gripped the back of Stiles’ head so he was looking at him. “I failed you...I didn’t think I deserved your love after that. You deserve more than what you ended up with...your Mother was always so much better with you. It should have been me and not her...I’ll never forgive myself for that, but it’s not you. It was never you,” he whispered.

Stiles shook his head, eyes wet with tears as he stared at his dad while he spoke. He didn’t understand. Had he not made the connection? Stiles had long ago, but he’d never dared utter what he’d read out loud. Not to anyone. “No, Dad,” he whispered. “It wasn’t your fault. You didn’t do anything wrong. If I hadn’t gone to that stupid birthday party the week before, none of this would have...Mom was doing better, but then I got sick and then she got sick and she never got better. She got sick because of me! Because I had to go to that stupid party.” A sob escaped him.

“Dad, if I hadn’t gotten around Mike Miller, I wouldn’t have gotten sick and then Mom wouldn’t have gotten sicker and she would still be here, with us. I’m so sorry.” His voice broke, body shaking.

“I never said anything because I was so --- I didn’t want you to hate me. I’m so sorry.” He’d read all about how a person who was sick shouldn’t get around someone who was fighting a terminal illness, and he had anyway, when his mom had rushed into his room because he was crying, running a high fever that morning, a week before. If he hadn’t been crying, maybe she wouldn’t have gotten around him, wouldn’t have gotten pneumonia. In the end, Stiles knew that was what had actually killed her. Her already compromised immune system hadn’t been able to withstand the extra burden that he’d put upon her, however unintentional it had been. “I shouldn’t have gone to that party.”

The Sheriff closed his eyes and shook his head. He should have realized his son had been holding onto this guilt for so long and he didn’t. He would never make that mistake again. He could see Scott out of the corner of his eye bringing Lydia near them; the Sheriff gripped his son’s face hard. “Look at me,” he said his voice shook.

“Your Mom was already sick,” he whispered, “The doctor’s appointment we went to a few days before the party...he told us, he said,” the Sheriff's throat closed up and he took a breath before continuing. “He told us it wouldn't be much longer we just didn’t,” his voice broke, “We didn’t know how to tell you. You were so young and your Mother wanted things to be normal for you so I went to work and she did what she always did. She put me and you first and I let her.” He looked down.

“I knew what the doctor said and I still left, I still went out and left her alone. Stiles, your Mother loved you more than anything. She would never blame you, ever and it would kill her to see you blaming yourself.”

Scott’s eyes were moist and he swallowed hard before speaking. “Your Dad’s right. She wouldn’t want this for you, Stiles.”

Lydia stood beside Scott, the onslaught of emotions that had slamming into her were being blocked out. She could feel Derek there with her and she was thankful. “Stiles, Scott would be dead if it wasn’t for you,” she said quietly. “So would I...and so would Derek. You’ve helped every single one of us and we love you so much,” Lydia could feel the tears building in her eyes again. “Please, I can’t lose anyone else.”

Stiles wiped his eyes with the back of one hand, drawing in a shaky breath before launching himself into his dad’s arms, hugging him tightly and squeezing his eyes shut. “I just miss her so much,” he whispered. “But I don’t blame you, Dad. I never have.” He sniffed loudly, opening his eyes and looking up at Scott and Lydia. His eyebrows furrowed a little as he saw other familiar faces toward the back of the room. Allison, Isaac, Kira, Derek...Mrs. McCall? What was going on? How was all of this happening?

He looked over to his mom’s bed where she’d been laying, except now she was gone, an empty bed the only thing left of all the equipment in the room. He clutched onto his dad a little tighter.

And then Stiles woke up.

Isaac was the first to notice Stiles’ eyes flutter and he spoke loudly, “He’s waking up,” he said drawing everyone’s attention to their friend’s body.

The Sheriff’s eyes flew open, his body jerking slightly. He blinked and spotted Melissa standing beside him. He gripped her arm gently and squeezed sending her a grateful look before sitting up quickly and moving towards Stiles.

Scott was the next one to wake up and when his eyes focused, the light bright around him, Kira’s face was the first thing that came into view. He smiled, “Stiles?” He asked his voice hoarse.

Stiles felt disoriented and shaky, like he’d hit his head or something and he sat up slowly, looking around and trying to figure out what had just happened. It felt like he’d been asleep for a really long time and hadn’t been able to wake up. He rubbed a hand over his face, looking at Scott first, because Scott said his name. “Hey,” he said uncertainly. Before he had time to figure out what was going on, he found himself wrapped tightly in his dad’s arms. He hugged him back, swallowing hard.

“What were you thinking? Bringing my dad into this?” he asked Deaton, glaring at him. “That was incredibly dangerous!”

“He was thinking that your dad had the right to know what the hell was going on,” the Sheriff answered not giving Deaton a chance to speak. He shifted back enough to see Stiles, his hand gripping his shoulders. “Don’t you ever scare me like that again. Do you hear me?” His voice was gruff and hard, but there was fear in his eyes.

“From now on complete honesty, which is what I thought we had,” he said pointedly.

Scott sat up and slid off the table, “Guys let’s just give Stiles some breathing room.” He said before turning to the Sheriff and Stiles. “We needed his help to get you out. Lydia wasn’t enough...you pushed her out and she,” he paused, “We had to go back in with her.” He explained to his friend not wanting him to be upset. Scott just wanted to keep everyone calm.

Isaac cleared his throat, “Scott’s mom was your Dad’s anchor, for a little while we thought you were all going to get stuck in there, but we’re glad you didn’t.” He said sincerely as he caught sight of Derek lifting Lydia off the table out of the corner of his eye.

Stiles swallowed hard at his dad’s words, gaze dropping. “I just wanted to protect you. I didn’t want to lose you, Dad.” His voice was pained and then he heard Scott’s words, his chest tight. He nodded in understanding. He vaguely remembered pushing Lydia out of his head in an effort to protect her. He was pretty sure he’d been on the verge of actual death again, and he’d been afraid of taking her with him.

He turned his focus to Isaac when the werewolf spoke and he reached up, rubbing the back of his neck and then turning to where Melissa McCall stood in silent observation. “Thanks,” he said softly, shifting his gaze to Lydia and Derek. His chest tightened again as he realized his subconscious may have done serious damage to his relationship with her, still so fragile and new. He felt different. So many different emotions were flickering through him: relief, anxiety, warmth, guilt, and others he couldn’t even recognize.

“Scott’s right. Why don’t we give Stiles and his dad a few minutes? They probably need some time to talk,” Melissa announced, reaching out and resting a hand on Isaac’s shoulder, offering him a gentle smile. God, these teenagers were just kids, but they’d been through so much in such a short amount of time.

She herded everyone toward the door, except for Lydia and Scott, arching her eyebrows at her son and heading out of the room.

Scott waited until everyone was out of the room before stepping forward and into the space between the Sheriff and Stiles and pulling his friend into a hug. “I told you we wouldn’t leave you in there.” He said quietly, “You are my brother Stiles, no matter what. I will always be here to pull you back.”

Lydia watched them as she walked over on shaky legs pausing beside the Sheriff. She was feeling better by the minute, but she was exhausted and the control she had on her emotions was shaky. Something felt different, but she couldn’t quite place it.

Stiles exhaled as Scott hugged him next. He hugged his best friend, nodding. “I know you will,” he murmured. “Me too.” He offered Scott a small smile when he pulled back, shifting his gaze to Lydia and swallowing hard. He held his hand out to her hesitantly.

Lydia moved forward without hesitation taking it and then wrapping her arms around him. She pressed her body against his, her hand brushing the back of his neck as she rested her head between his shoulder and neck. “You’re in so much trouble,” she whispered, taking a deep breath and breathing in his scent.

Stiles closed his eyes as he hugged her, pressing a kiss to her cheek before she pulled away. He leaned into her touch, a faint smile tugging at his mouth as he met her eyes.

Lydia was silent for a minute, “You scared me,” she admitted, “Don’t ever push me away again, even if it’s for my own good,” she told him knowingly as she pulled back enough to see his face. Lydia cupped Stiles’ cheek brushing her thumb against the skin there. ‘I love you’ she mouthed the words to him as she held him closer needing to feel that he was back and okay.

Stiles nodded at her unspoken words before she hugged him again. He rubbed her back, pressing his mouth against her ear. “I love you, too,” he whispered, knowing Scott would definitely hear him even if his dad didn’t. But it didn’t matter. Scott already knew anyway.

After a long moment, he reluctantly pulled away, glancing at his dad. “Well, I don’t know about anyone else but I’m starving.”

The Sheriff shook his head in good humor and Scott chuckled. “I could eat.” He said while putting a hand on Stiles’ back.

The Sheriff grunted and rubbed the back of his neck, “I’ll order some pizza back at the house.” He said with a sigh glad his son seemed okay for the moment.

“For everyone?” Scott asked as he turned and started walking backwards toward the door where everyone else was waiting, grin on his face.

Lydia smiled at their antics as she stood beside Stiles quietly.

Stiles smirked at Scott’s question. “I’ll help pay for it,” he assured his dad. He looked at Lydia for a moment. “Lyds, I need a couple minutes with my dad. Is that cool?” He squeezed her hand.

Lydia glanced up at Stiles distracted and nodded, “Sure,” she cupped his cheek and pressed a kiss there, “I’ll be out front.” She told him before glancing at the Sheriff and sending him a tired half-smile.

He reached out and squeezed her arm gently as she walked by before turning his attention to his son. He was quiet for a minute, studying Stiles’ face. “Are you okay?”

Stiles watched her go, then shifted his focus back to his dad. “Yeah. I’m okay. Are you okay?” he asked worriedly.

The Sheriff chuckled, “You wouldn’t think I would be,” he said shaking his head again in disbelief. He let his hands slip into his pockets as he looked over at his son again. “I’ve been holding onto all of that for a long time, I think it did a world of good to get it out...for both of us.” he admitted.

“I never meant to push you away. I’m sorry I’ve been so distant, but that’s going to change now. I want you to be able to talk to me. From this point on, whatever you’re feeling, you come to me. You hear me?” He asked quietly.

Stiles studied his dad for long moment, listening intently. “You didn’t really...I know I haven’t really been easy to deal with. I mean, between the ADD stuff and the whole supernatural thing, I’m just...I know it hasn’t been easy for you to deal with me. I was just scared, Dad. I don’t want to lose you, too. I’m gonna try and be a better son.”

He just hoped that he could figure out how to actually do that, especially when all of his instincts tended to tell him to push his dad away when things weren’t going well supernatural-wise. He was so terrified that his dad would end up getting hurt because of all of it. But maybe his dad was terrified of the same thing.

The Sheriff shook his head and stepped closer to Stiles resting a hand on his shoulder. “You’re a good son,” he responded quietly. “You take care of me more than you should have to and I know I get frustrated a lot, but Stiles, I’m proud of you and the man you’re turning into.” His voice was strong and matter-of-fact. “I don’t want or need you to change; I just need you to see that the kid you are isn’t as bad as you think.”

Stiles felt a warmth bloom through his chest at his dad’s words and unable to come up with anything in response, he just reached out and hugged him once more, tighter than before. “I love you, Dad,” he whispered, closing his eyes.

The Sheriff hugged him back, tightening his grip on Stiles. “I love you too, son.”

After a long moment, Stiles pulled away, eyes brighter than they had been in a long time. “I think you said something about ordering pizza for everybody?” He grinned, sliding down off the table. “But you know that’s not really on your list of approved meal choices, so I’ll fix you a turkey burger when we get home.” He patted his dad’s shoulder.

The Sheriff huffed, “I deserve pizza after my first trek into the land of supernatural werewolves and goblins or whatever,” he motioned around, “all this is. One slice...no pepperoni just cheese. I can take it.” He patted his stomach as he wrapped an arm around Stiles and led him towards the doorway.

He cocked his head to the side, arching his eyebrows in consideration. “One piece, but no soda with it. Just water. And you have to eat a salad before, because you need your vegetables.” His voice was matter-of-fact as they walked out of the room, a grin tugging at his mouth. Maybe things were going to get back to normal now. Better yet, maybe things were going to be okay.

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