May 15, 2014

Beyond The Sea 3/4

Title: Beyond the Sea
Fandom: Teen Wolf
Rating: PG-13
Authors: Sxymami0909 and Xtremeroswellia
Timeline Post episode 3x24 ‘The Divine Move’
Series: Post Finale AU
Pairings: Stiles/Lydia, Scott/Kira, Isaac, Sheriff Stilinski, Melissa McCall, Chris Argent, Jackson Whitmore, Derek Hale
Summary: When the battle is finally over the only thing our heroes left can feel is her loss leading one of them to make a decision that changes the pack forever.
Parts: 3/4
Previous Parts: | One  | Two |

Part Three

The weather was gorgeous. It was an odd thing to notice at a funeral, but accurate nonetheless. The sun shone brightly in the sky and there was a light breeze drifting across the cemetery, but despite the warmth of the air, Lydia couldn’t seem to get warm. There was a priest talking, reading some scripture, but the words they didn’t really make sense in her head. People stood around the coffin sitting atop the plot waiting to be lowered inside and for some strange reason all Lydia wanted to do was scream. She wanted to reach out and pull her best friend back from wherever she was.

But it wasn’t possible. Logically Lydia knew that. She stood beside Mr. Argent, and Scott stood on the other side of him. She’d seen Derek behind them and Isaac beside Scott. The sheriff was on the other side of her and Ms. McCall was by Scott. There were people everywhere. But the only thing Lydia could look at was the coffin.

Knowing her best friend was inside of it made her chest tighten painfully. She was gripping her hands tightly in front of her body and she was much paler than usual. Lydia had thought about putting makeup on, but instead decided for once that she just didn’t care. She didn’t care what her hair looked like or what her face looked like. She didn’t care what people said. Her best friend was dead.

Lydia felt her stomach roll as the priest kept speaking. Soft voices whispered in her head, mourning, talking, telling. She didn’t understand so instead Lydia decided to try and focus on what the priest was saying. It was difficult all she could feel was everyone’s pain, their emotions breaking through the same way she’d heard things back at Eichan House when the Nogitsune had taken her.

Lydia could feel the tears in her eyes, but so far she’d done of a good job of holding them back. Isaac was was Mr. Argent. Bags filled the space beneath her eyes and she squeezed them shut tightly not sure how she was going to be able to hold back the emotion building inside of her. Lydia’s breathing picked up speed as the priest started talking about final goodbyes. A soft sob bubbled up from her throat and in that moment she felt something. An urge to open her eyes. Lydia ignored the tears that were now sliding down her cheeks and turned her head letting her eyes flutter open. Surprise crossed her face at what she saw. Moving slowly across the grass in their direction was Stiles.

It had taken him over an hour to get through a shower and get dressed. Truthfully he probably shouldn’t have been driving under the influence of the Xanax. The longer he’d lain in bed after his dad had left for Allison’s funeral, the worse that Stiles had felt. Not just physically, but sick with guilt. He needed to be there for Scott and Lydia. For the pack. Because that was how it worked in a pack.

Stiles knew that he looked terrible. That the dark suit he wore only served to illustrate how very pale his skin was. It was also about three sizes too big now and the word walking skeleton had come to mind when he’d glanced at himself in the mirror. It was also the only suit that he’d had, which was obviously poor planning on his part, but other than funerals and the winter formal a year and a half ago, there hadn’t been reasons for him to own more than one.

The day was unnaturally beautiful, a complete contrast to his mood. To the moods of everyone there, he was sure. Kids weren’t supposed to die. Allison Argent wasn’t supposed to die. Halfway to the cemetery he’d had to pull off on the side of the road, throwing up the crackers he’d choked down for breakfast that morning. The unintentional purging had left him shaky and less out of it than he had been under the Xanax.

Stiles had parked his jeep at the back of the line of cars at the funeral and had moved slowly, crossing the grass and avoiding stepping on any of the other graves in the path. His heart was beating too fast in his chest by the time he reached the crowd, feeling overwhelmed by the sheer number of people there. It looked like half the school had turned up for it, as well as a lot of people he didn’t recognize and he assumed were friends with Chris Argent. Hunters, he thought, feeling ill for a new reason as his gaze darted around until he located all of the rest of the pack. Scott, Lydia, Isaac, Derek, the twins, his dad, Scott’s mom, Chris. It took him a moment to realize that Lydia was staring at him with wide eyes. She looked exhausted, but as beautiful as ever and his heart squeezed painfully as he met her gaze.

Lydia shifted slightly, her legs still shaky though she couldn’t understand why. Her whole body seemed out of whack. But she went to move again to make room for him because she wasn’t sure he could get to Scott, Lydia nearly stumbled.

The sheriff’s hand had steadied her worry on his face as he glanced down at her sending a questioning look in her direction not sure what she was trying to do.

Lydia nodded in Stiles’ direction and when the sheriff glanced in the direction she nodded in he spotted his son. He did his best not to worry about how Stiles had gotten there because he knew his son was just trying to be there for his friends and he understood that.

Stiles hesitated even though Lydia’s intent was clear. She wanted him to move to the front with the rest of them and it took him a full minute and a lot of deep breathing to force his feet forward through the crowd, trying very hard not to accidentally bump into anyone or touch anyone. The day was warm, but his skin was still cold. He caught sight of a familiar but unexpected face halfway through the people gathered and he stopped in his tracks and stared at Jackson for a few seconds, a bolt of shock running through him. Jackson was crying.

It was something his brain couldn’t process so he turned away, hesitantly moving up front with his dad and Lydia, beads of cold sweat were on his forehead by the time he made it there. His legs were shaky, like jello. Swallowing hard, he reached out and laid a hand at the small of her back, a gesture he wouldn’t have dared try even just a few short months ago. He looked at her, resisting the urge to pull her into his arms and hug her because she looked so completely lost and Stiles didn’t know how to handle that. He wasn’t good with emotions. He wasn’t good with a lot of things. His gaze shifted momentarily to the coffin in front of them, a cold chill working its way through his body and he barely managed to suppress a shudder at the thought that Allison was in that box, and she was never coming back out of it, the same way that his mother was never coming back out of hers.

Michael placed a hand on his son’s shoulder glad that he’d decided to come. He knew that no matter how Stiles was feeling he needed closure just like everyone else.

Scott was staring at the ground, when he heard the erratic heartbeat only a few feet away from him. He thought it was Lydia at first, but when he glanced over and spotted Stiles, Scott’s chest tightened. His best friend didn’t look good, but he was there and that gave Scott hope. The priest said something and then out of the corner of his eye he saw Argent step forward.

A hint of confusion crossed Scott’s face until he saw Argent lift a hand full of dirt out of the pile. He spoke several words in French and then dropped the soil on the coffin before resting his hand on it, several tears falling from his eyes.

Chris stepped back and Scott hesitated not sure what to do. Before he could take a step Isaac was already moving forward. Scott watched as his friend sprinkled the dirt on Allison’s grave, eyes red, tears freely flowing. He heard Isaac mumbled ‘I love you’ before turning back and coming to stand by him and Melissa again.

Scott swallowed heavily as he stepped forward. It felt like all eyes were on him. Things seemed like they were moving slower as he reached for the soil, it was cakey in his hands. He walked toward the grave his chest tight. If he did this...then this was it. Allison was really gone. He lifted his hands over the coffin and it shook slightly. He hesitated, not ready to let go.

Scott slowly released the soil in his palm, his face breaking as he ducked his head, shoulders shaking with his tears. He must have been standing there longer than normal because he felt two hands on his shoulders and when he glanced back he noticed one was Argent and the other was Derek. Scott let them guide him back as he wiped his hand across his face getting rid of the tears, pain embedding itself in his chest.

The grief in Stiles’ chest grew as he watched his best friend and the girl he’d loved for a decade try to say goodbye to one of the most important people in their lives. He’d tried to move forward when Scott had frozen in front of the coffin, crying, but Chris Argent and Derek Hale had beat him to it. God this is painful, he thought.

Lydia felt Mr. Argent’s eyes on her before she felt the hand on her arm. Her heart jumped in her chest and she could feel it pick up speed as she stepped forward slowly, her heels sinking into the earth as she walked, her dress blowing gently in the wind. Her long hair was pulled to one side and that too blew gently in the wind. Her hand shook as she reached for the soil, her composure quickly fading.

Lydia's palm curled around the cold earth and when she lifted her arm over the coffin it shook too. Lydia held it there for a minute and the second some of the soil slid from her fingers a soft sob broke free from her throat shattering the silence surrounding everyone. She broke down right there not caring that everyone could see her because the grief inside of her was eating her alive. Her small body shook with it. Allison was the only person she really had in her life...the only person who made her feel like she wasn’t completely alone. But now, she had nothing and it was her own fault. She should have warned them better.

The Nogitsune had wanted her because of what she could feel...and now she understood why. Because she felt every ounce of pain that surrounded her. The cemetery was full of death and she felt that. She felt everything, every moment, every memory...Lydia stood on shaky legs almost like the emotions whirling around her were too much to even keep her up right. Her empty hand fell to the coffin and it was like her body just gave into the grief.

Before Chris or Scott could shift forward to pull Lydia back, Stiles forced himself to close the short distance between them.

He reached out and laid a shaking hand on her shoulder, knowing that right now all eyes were on the two of them. Stiles wondered how many aside from the pack knew that he was the one responsible for their grief and pain today. He blinked back tears as he took a step closer so that they were side by side and he swallowed hard before reaching down and taking her hand in his, clasping onto it tightly but not trying to pull her away. Not until she was ready. (Would any of them ever be ready?)

After a moment he felt another presence at his side and he glanced sideways to see his dad sprinkling soil on Allison’s coffin and for the first time he realized how much older he looked. Like he’d aged twenty years overnight. He’d done that, too.

Lydia’s hand tightened around Stiles’, his presence snapping her out of the bubble of grief she’d been immersed in. She turned her head bringing her free hand up to her mouth realizing that everyone was looking at them. Lydia needed to move. It was just taking a while for that message to reach her feet.

Michael placed a hand on his son’s arm worried. Stiles and Lydia both looked incredibly unstable. It honestly looked like one or both of them could be knocked over by a strong wind. And Stiles...he just didn’t look healthy.

Lydia sucked in a few small breaths as other people started to move around them, which finally snapped her out of her stupor. She kept her hand in Stiles’ as she shifted back the sudden urge to be as far away from the coffin as possible gripping her.

Stiles could practically feel the anxiety rolling off her in waves and he tightened his hand in hers just a little, letting his dad guide them back away from the rest of the approaching crowd who were waiting to say their final goodbyes. He felt like every ounce of warmth from his body had been drained out, like he’d just gotten out of a sixteen hour ice bath. Instinctively he looked over his shoulder at the coffin again, chest feeling tight and eyes wet with unshed tears.

Stiles met Chris Argent’s gaze and all the air left his lungs at the sadness he found there. It was so much like the grief he’d seen for so long in his dad’s eyes after his mom had died. He felt a flutter of panic making its way up through his body but he held his breath so it wouldn’t get out of control. He didn’t understand why Chris wasn’t staring at him like he’d killed Allison. Didn’t understand why he didn’t see blame in the man’s face. Why the man actually smiled at him very faintly even if it didn’t reach his eyes.

Nothing really made sense anymore.

People were moving around, turning away and heading back toward their cars and from that point on things seemed to move quickly. Five minutes later there were only a handful of people left. Lydia glanced around and spotted Ms. McCall with Isaac and Scott, Kira was also there not far from Scott. Mr. Argent stood beside Derek surprisingly. Her eyes moved past them and she stiffened beside Stiles when she spotted Jackson.

If it was possible her face paled even more. Lydia’s chest tightened and then the priest was talking again. There was a noise and then the coffin shifted and started to sink into the ground. Lydia sucked in a sharp breath and stepped forward, her mouth opening as she felt a scream building in her throat. No, she couldn't do that here. Lydia had to hold it in, bury it.

Stiles felt her tense beside him and glanced over to see Jackson standing a few feet away. He wished he could have warned her somehow without words, but there hadn’t been a way for him to do that. He looked down at the way her fingers curled more tightly around his and he rubbed his thumb over the back of her hand wordlessly. When he looked back up he could see Jackson’s gaze zeroed in on their hands, as well, a passive expression on his face.

Lydia felt her feet shifting forward again when another hand gripped her arm gently stopping her movements. She glanced to her side and met Scott’s gaze. He must have sensed something because one second he was by his Mom and Isaac and the next he was by her side. Lydia looked away from the coffin not wanting to see it disappear beneath the ground.

Scott glanced at Stiles and reached behind Lydia to squeeze Stiles’ shoulder. He was glad he’d come. They needed each other now more than ever.

Before Stiles could think too much about Jackson’s lack of reaction, he felt a hand on his shoulder and looked to see Scott, face drawn and weary. The pain in his best friend’s eyes made his heart hurt more than it already did, and without letting go of Lydia’s hand, he shifted forward and hugged Scott tightly with his free arm, careful to make sure his skin didn’t come in direct contact with Scott’s.

Scott returned the hug releasing Stiles a couple of minutes later. They stood there as the coffin came to a stop no longer in sight. Scott heard it stop though. This was it. The final moment and Scott wasn’t sure what to do. The priest was closing his book and stepping away from the plot. He pulled his hands back from his friends, “I’ll be right back,” he whispered.

The service was over and his Mom, Isaac and Kira were moving closer to them as was Jackson. Scott straightened up and walked over to Mr. Argent and Derek. He paused beside the older man and swallowed hard. “I’m so sorry,” he said quietly, “I’m sorry I didn’t do a better job of protecting her,” it hurt too much to say her name out loud. “I understand if you can’t forgive me, but I wanted to say that...that I loved Allison since the minute I saw her and,” Scott let out a shaky breath, “I’ll always love her.” He felt a tear slip down his cheek despite trying to hide it.

“Scott.” Chris’s voice was quiet and he shook his head slightly. “It isn’t your fault.” His voice was pained. “There’s nothing to forgive.”

Stiles squeezed his eyes shut at his best friend’s words. God. How could he even think this was his fault? Didn’t he know who was really to blame here? Didn’t he understand that Chris was right? That Scott hadn’t done anything wrong? The knowledge that Scott was blaming himself for Allison’s death, and that Lydia likely was too, hurt more than his own guilt. He swallowed hard and looked at the strawberry-blonde, who looked lost and frail. He wanted to get her out of there, to pull her away from this place. To pull them all away from this place but once again, he was helpless.

Stiles felt someone’s gaze on him and he turned to see Isaac looking at him from a few feet away.

Isaac’s gaze zeroed in on Stiles. His jaw clenched, eyes turning to slits. This was his fault. Allison was dead because of Stiles. He didn’t know how Lydia could stand to be around him after what he did.

Isaac let his gaze drift away from Stiles as he walked with Ms. McCall toward Chris. He would deal with Stiles when he was alone. They paused in front of Chris and Isaac slipped his hands into his pockets and gazed at the ground listening as Ms. McCall gave him her condolences.

Isaac glanced at Scott watching as he walked back towards Stiles and Lydia. He spotted Jackson’s movements out of the corner of his eye. Curious he watched as the other teenager followed Scott.

Scott paused in front of Stiles and Lydia brushing the tears away from his eyes before glancing over his shoulder. He turned taking Jackson in. “You heard,” he said quietly.

“Danny,” Jackson said, looking uncomfortable even though his eyes were red-rimmed. He looked at Scott for a moment, then shifted his gaze to Lydia, falling silent.

“Can I drive you back to the church?” Jackson asked after a moment, voice hushed as he looked at Lydia.

Stiles gave her hand one final squeeze before letting go, nodding at Jackson without speaking and turning his head to look over at Chris Argent again. He rubbed his hand over his chest absently, swallowing heavily. The desire to turn and flee was stronger than ever and he spotted another figure he hadn’t noticed before watching them. Deaton. He was dressed in a suit like most of the guys, but his arm was in a cast. He’d almost forgotten that the man had been injured during the final battle with the nogitsune.

Lydia hesitated, her gaze drifting briefly to Stiles, who had already released her hand automatically assuming she'd leave him to go with Jackson. “I-”

Scott placed a hand on Lydia’s arm cutting of her words, “I’ll stay with him. Go ahead, you shouldn’t be driving yourself around right now anyway,” he said quietly.

Lydia didn’t want to leave Stiles. She’d much rather go with him and his Dad. She swallowed hard and then glanced back at Jackson. “Okay.”

“I’ll get her there safely,” Jackson said in a quieter tone than Stiles had ever heard him use before.

Stiles pursed his lips, nodding as he met Lydia’s eyes. “It’s okay,” he whispered. “I’ll see you there shortly.” He glanced over to where his dad was standing, watching him with worried eyes and he forced a smile that didn’t reach his eyes.

Michael returned the smile even though he could see his son’s was forced. He was worried. Stiles just didn’t look well. His gaze shifted to Lydia and he noted that she didn’t look much better than his son.

Lydia reached out and squeezed Stiles’ arm gently before turning and glancing at Jackson, “I need to go talk to Mr. Argent.” She told him her voice quiet.

“Yeah of course,” Jackson told her, nodding and taking a step back to let her pass.

Stiles drew in a breath, eyes straying over to Chris once more and then quickly dropping to the ground as he rubbed his chest again.

Scott pressed a hand against his friends shoulder shifting so he was standing in front of Stiles as Lydia and Jackson walked away. “Are you okay?” He arched an eyebrow, "Honestly.” He added.

Even if he lied, Stiles knew Scott would know. He wouldn’t even have to listen for his heart beat to change pace. Scott just knew him too well. “I’m still pretty tired,” he admitted. “But I’ll be okay.” He hesitated. “Are you?”

Scott was quiet for a minute before shaking his head, “Honestly, I don’t know if I’ll ever be okay again,” he said quietly. He ran a hand over the back of his head. “Do you want me to ride with you and your Dad to the church?” He asked because he wanted to. He was utterly terrified that Stiles wasn’t going to get better and that they were going to lose him too. Scott wouldn’t know what to do if that happened. “Kira is here too would you mind if she came?” he pointed across the grass to where his Mom and Isaac were. Kira was standing beside them.

Guilt flickered across Stiles’ face at Scott’s words and he looked down for a moment. If there was one thing he could relate to, it was that. He swallowed hard, following Scott’s gaze to where Kira and Isaac stood with Ms. McCall. The look that Isaac gave him was a lot more on par with reality than the ones that he was getting from everyone else. He held his breath for a moment. “Up to you, Dude. I brought the jeep. Maybe you should...stay with Isaac.” His voice was soft.

Scott shook his head, “No, I’m pretty sure Isaac is going with Chris,” he commented quietly. “I’ll grab Kira and we’ll come with you. You’re another one who doesn’t look like you should be driving,” he said pointedly. Plus he needed to get out of the cemetery. It was all getting to be a little too much. “We should probably see if we can find someone to take Lydia’s car home for her.” He said patting his friend’s back gently. His talk with Allison's dad hadn’t made the guilt go away, but knowing Argent didn’t blame him...well that helped a little.

Stiles nodded slightly, glancing back at his dad and hesitating a moment. “We can just come back for the jeep later.” Scott was right. He didn’t feel well enough to drive again, really. And he really didn’t want to end up smashing his jeep into someone else’s vehicle and wind up with another person’s blood on his hands. “Maybe you and Kira could drive Lydia and her car home later, too.”

Scott tilted his head, “If she doesn’t go with Jackson,” he added, “Let me just get Kira and then we’ll go,” he paused catching Stiles’ gaze, “All of us.” Scott didn’t like that Stiles kept leaving himself out.

“Okay.” He didn’t argue because he didn’t feel like it and there was no reason to. He watched as Scott headed over to where Kira was and he slowly crossed the distance between him and his dad. “Scott and Kira are gonna ride with us back to the church. That’s okay right?” He rubbed the back of his neck.

Michael nodded, “Of course it is.” he wrapped an arm around his son, “How are you feeling?” He asked while giving him a once over. Stiles was still way too cold and pale for his liking.

“I’m okay, Dad,” he said quietly, leaning against him both for support and because his dad felt a lot warmer than he did. He wasn’t the one he was worried about.

Michael tightened his grip on him, “You will be.” He said as he watched Lydia hug Chris Argent before stepping back so Jackson could shake his hand. They spoke for a couple of more minutes and he winced when he saw Lydia start crying again. Poor girl, he thought before glancing at Stiles. “It seems like everyone is heading out. Why don’t I grab the car and bring it around for you guys?” He asked.

Stiles nodded silently, letting his dad pull away so he could go and get the car. He watched him head away, then glanced over to where Ethan and Aiden were standing. He was kind of surprised to see they were still hanging around, but he wasn’t surprised to see the wary way that Aiden was looking at him. Ethan, as usual, looked a little more sympathetic. But Stiles didn’t want sympathy. He didn’t deserve it, either. He turned away from their looks, gaze traveling over the rest of the cemetery until it stopped on the familiar grave. He wanted to go over there because it had been awhile, but he remained still and silent, starting slightly when Melissa McCall suddenly materialized in front of him.

The last time he’d seen her, she’d been hovering anxiously as he and his dad got ready to leave her house. The time before that, she’d been afraid of him. Stiles couldn’t blame her for that. “Hi.”

Melissa smiled and reached out cupping Stiles’ cheek, her smile dimming when she felt how cold his skin was. “Hi sweetheart, it’s good to see you up and about,” she told him as she studied his face. He looked tired and worn down. “How are you feeling?”

Stiles forced a smile even though all he wanted to do was apologize to her. “I’m okay,” he answered with a nod, shifting his gaze over to Scott. “Worried about Scott and everyone.” Which was an understatement, really. He was more than worried. He didn’t know how they were going to get through this.

Melissa nodded her face sobering up. “I’m worried too,” she said watching Stiles. The guilt in his eyes was clear even though he tried to hide it. “I’m worried about you too. So is Scott,” she told him her gaze moving to her son briefly, “And Lydia.” Melissa added as she watched the red head walking toward the line of cars glancing back at Stiles every so often.

Stiles' stomach twisted with the easy way that she saw through his act and he held his breath for a moment. “I’m gonna be fine. I’m still worn out but apparently that’s normal after demonic possession.” He followed her gaze to Lydia, hesitantly lifting his hand in a wave when he saw her looking back at him. He looked back at Melissa again. “The things I said that day,” he began his voice almost inaudible.

Melissa pursed her lips and stepped closer to him placing her hand on his arm. “That wasn’t you,” she said without hesitation. “My Stiles,” she smiled cupping his cheek, “My sweet troublemaker would never say those things. You don’t owe me an apology because you didn’t do it even if you remember it. They weren’t your words.”

Wordlessly Stiles wrapped his arms around her, swallowing heavily. “It was wrong anyway,” he whispered. “It wasn’t why I didn’t say anything.” He closed his eyes. “He’d never hate you. Not ever.”

Melissa’s chest tightened at Stiles’ words and she hugged him back. “We’re going to get through this, Stiles, all of us. Eventually things will get better.”

Stiles pulled away a long moment later, his dark eyes and eyelashes wet as he nodded. “I know.” Eventually, he thought. He just had a feeling it wasn’t going to be for a long, long time.


Scott moved through the sea of people in his house, attempting to smile at some and nodding at others. Allison’s wake was full of people and even though he was glad there were so many people around to celebrate her life all he really wanted was some time alone. Scott could see his mom and the sheriff standing with Allison’s Dad.

Derek was melding into the shadows, something he wasn’t all that surprised about, Aiden and Ethan had stopped by, but left not long ago, and Isaac was in the kitchen. Scott hadn’t seen Lydia in a while, but he knew she was still there because she didn’t have a car to leave with.

Danny was talking to Jackson, Deaton was around somewhere and Stiles...Scott wasn’t sure where his best friend was, but he planned to try and find him as soon as he had a minute alone. Scott moved up the stairs quickly making his way to his bedroom. He pushed the door open closing it behind him and let out a sigh. Just a few minutes alone...that was all he needed.

Scott sat on his bed and let out a breath he hadn’t known he’d been holding in. He let his body fall back as he stared at the ceiling. He could feel the familiar grief bubbling up to the surface, but instead of pushing it away this time, he let it come. Scott closed his eyes and let the memories run through him thoughts of Allison filling his head. He needed this...just a few minutes he’d pretend everything was okay. His friends were happy and healthy and life wasn’t falling apart around him.


Stiles needed to be away from all the people in the house because he felt like the walls were closing in. He never used to feel that way around crowds, even if he’d never really fit in with any of them. He just wasn’t that bothered by his inability to make friends aside from Scott. He’d been sitting outside on the patio out back for a good fifteen minutes when he heard the sliding glass door open. He half expected it to be Scott or his dad or Lydia, but when he turned to look and saw Isaac he looked down at his hands, not speaking.

He and Isaac had never really gotten along very well, and he knew that was largely in part his own fault. Stiles didn’t exactly like sharing his best friend with the guy, but he was trying to get over that because he didn’t think Isaac was a bad guy, really. They were just too much alike -- or possibly too entirely different -- and that made getting along difficult. He heard the other man’s footsteps approaching slowly but he didn’t look up again as he twisted his fingers together on his lap.

Isaac had been waiting for a moment alone with Stiles and when he’d walked past the doors and saw him sitting outside, he figured this would probably be the only opportunity he got. He walked down the steps until he was standing in front of Stiles. Isaac was silent for a full minute before speaking. “I know Scott and Lydia don’t blame you for what happened. This whole’s been one mess after the other. All because of the Nogitsune...because of you.” He swallowed hard.

“They might not blame you, but I do. The second you realized you were being possessed you should have come to us and you didn't and now,” Isaac paused his voice cracking slightly. He turned away from Stiles trying to reign in his emotions. “She’s gone,” he whispered. It took him a minute to pull himself together, and when he did he faced Stiles again catching his gaze. “I think Beacon Hills is a big place...But it’s not big enough for both of us.” He told him folding his arms over his chest.

Stiles shut his eyes at Isaac’s words, chest tightening. “You think I don’t know that, Isaac?” His voice was almost inaudible. “You’re not the only one who blames me.” He looked up at the werewolf, watching for the long painful moment as Isaac tried to pull himself together. “For the record, I tried. I told Scott that something was wrong. I just didn’t know what it was.” His voice was pained, full of regret. “And I’m sorry about Allison.” Saying her name caused physical pain in his stomach. In his heart.

“You have no idea how sorry I am.” There was no trace of kidding, no trace of his usual sarcasm. He just wasn’t that guy anymore.

“It doesn’t bring her back.” Isaac didn’t have many people in his life. He had Scott and Ms. McCall and he was pretty sure he even had Mr. Argent. But Allison, she was the only girl he’d ever loved. And they’d just...things between them were finally coming together and then it was all ripped away leaving him with a hole inside of his chest the size of a small city.

“I know that.” Stiles rubbed his hands over his face tiredly, shoulders slumping. “And if I could bring her back or take her place, I’d do it in a heartbeat. There’s nothing I wouldn’t do to make that happen for everyone.”

Isaace swallowed hard. Everything hurt and looking at Stiles only made it worse. “You don’t belong here...You shouldn’t be here.”

Stiles swallowed painfully at Isaac’s words, because he was right. He’d known that even the day they’d killed the Nogitsune. He’d known he didn’t belong there with people like the McCall’s. It was why he’d bypassed Scott’s room when he’d crashed that night.

“Then why are you still here?” he asked. Isaac’s jaw clenched. “I don’t want to see you again after tonight.” He stepped closer to Stiles. “I don’t care if you stay in your house forever or you leave town. But if I see you again…” He paused thinking about Allison, “Well, I hope that doesn’t happen. This is the only time I’m going to warn you,” He told him, his voice hard, fists clenched at his sides.

Stiles looked up at Isaac silently and rose to his feet wearily. “You’re not that kind of guy, Isaac,” he said quietly, though he turned and headed for the door. “And I can’t just leave town. Not with my dad and Scott and Lydia.” He rubbed his hand over the back of his neck. “I owe them more than that.”

Isaac swallowed hard. Allison wouldn’t want him to be that kind of guy...but he could be. He had been. “All you’re doing is hurting them. Don’t you see it? Scott is so worried about you that’s he’s not even worried about his pack. He’s an alpha Stiles, people count on him. But he’s too busy worrying about you to help,” he said to Stiles’ back.

“And Lydia...She’s so broken I barely recognize her and all she can think about is helping you. Making sure you’re getting better. What about her?” He asked, “Allison once told me that she was glad she and Lydia were best friends because she’d hate to think how alone Lydia would feel if she weren’t there. Surrounded by people and not one person really knows her. Allison is the only one she ever let in.” He paused taking a step closer.

“I went by her house you know, to check on her over the past two days...Allison would have wanted to make sure she was okay. I found her curled up in a dark corner asleep, tears dried up on her face, all alone. That’s where she spent days…” Isaac had put her in bed and left, but at least he checked.

“She looks like she hasn’t slept or eaten in days. Scott too, but at least he has his Mom there to make sure he’s doing the basics. But Lydia...she can’t heal with you here neither can Scott. They’re too busy taking care of you instead of themselves. If you were such a good friend you’d realize that.” Issac told him quietly.

“Do you even know where Scott is or Lydia? I haven’t seen Scott in like twenty minutes and I haven’t seen Lydia in even longer. But you’re sitting out here feeling sorry for yourself so you wouldn’t know, would you?” He asked with a shake of his head. “You know I’m right.”

Stiles blanched, feeling overwhelmed and sick at everything Isaac was saying. Was he right? Were they too concerned about him that they weren’t taking care of themselves? Would it be best for everyone if he just took off? He could practically hear the demon in his head. You are the useless member of the pack, aren’t you, Stiiiiles? It’s why it was so easy for me to get you to let me in.

Stiles didn’t turn around to look at the curly-headed wolf before he pushed the sliding glass door open and headed inside the house without another word, steering clear of Ms. McCall as she weaved her way into the kitchen to get someone a refill of a drink. He made his way toward the stairs, tears stinging his eyes.

Stiles climbed them slowly, each step painful and dizzying until he made his way into the bathroom, locking the door behind him. He rubbed his hand over his chest, over his heart as it beat hard against his chest. He sank down onto the edge of the McCall’s bathtub and drew in a shuddering breath, leaning over and laying his head on his arms. What was he supposed to do? He couldn’t fix anything. He knew that. The problem was, he didn’t know if Isaac had the right idea.

The idea of leaving town, of just getting the hell out of there, away from everything, was both terrifying and yet not entirely unappealing either. He sat there silently for a long few moments, mind going blank at the possibilities.

He finally got back up tiredly, splashing water onto his face to wash away the tears from his cheeks and eyes. He dried his face off and exited the bathroom, pausing momentarily outside of Scott’s closed bedroom door. Swallowing hard, he laid a hand against it, shutting his eyes. What do I do?

Scott’s eyes fluttered open. He sensed Stiles outside of his door, but when his friend made no move to come in, Scott wiped off his face, stood up and walked over to the door. He pulled it open and cocked his head to the side. “Why are you just standing out here?” He asked curiously.

Stiles pulled his hand back, studying his best friend. His brother. “I wasn’t sure if you...I thought maybe you needed some time to yourself.” And truthfully he hadn’t been completely sure Scott was even inside until he’d heard his footsteps approaching.

Scott opened the door wider, “I did, but not from you,” he said quietly. “You’re family,” he clapped his hand on Stiles shoulder, “you know that.” He motioned for Stiles to come in so he could close the door again and keep out the sounds from downstairs, not that, that was even remotely possible with his hearing.

Stiles' chest tightened at that and he stepped inside the familiar room that had been like his own personal place of comfort for as long as he could actually remember. The sleepovers, the video game marathons, the all night talks they’d had about Lydia and Allison. Even before then, growing up, he’d spent hours in this room just hanging out with Scott, playing board games and doing homework. He swallowed heavily and turned to look at him. “Pretty crowded down there,” he said quietly.

Scott nodded. “It is,” he said quietly, “She was loved,” his voice broke on the words and he turned toward the window as he rubbed the back of his neck.

Stiles’ eyes burned at the break in Scott’s voice, at how lost he sounded. “Yes she was,” he whispered, stepping forward and reaching out to lay a hand on Scott’s back because that was what they did when the other was broken. And Scott was beyond broken because Stiles had broken him. Had broken all of them.

There was a light breeze blowing in from the window and Scott stood there for a minute letting it hit his body. “I’m tired of being down there with everyone...All it does is remind me she’s gone.” He admitted.

Stiles didn’t know how to put them back together. He wasn’t even sure if they could be. But Scott’s last words made a shudder pass through him and he thought of what Isaac had said just a little while ago. All you’re doing is hurting them. The pain in his chest was back again and he shut his eyes. He was right. There was literally nothing he could do for Scott or for Lydia. They’d heal more easily if his presence wasn’t there as a constant reminder of what he’d done. Of what they’d lost.

Scott felt his friend shudder and he turned a frown marring his brow. “You okay?” He asked quietly as he reached out to him. “You should sit, you’re not looking great,” he said glad to have something else to focus on other than what was currently going on. “Have you eaten?”

“I’m fine, Scott,” he said softly as the reality of the situation dawned on him. But he let Scott lead him over to the edge of his bed anyway. “Yeah. I ate earlier.” He had, it just hadn’t stayed down.

Scott nodded, “Good, you’re not going to get any better if you don’t take care of yourself,” He told his friend. And Scott needed him to get better. He couldn’t lose Allison and Stiles. He sat down beside Stiles and sighed. “Maybe we should just relax here for a bit,” he said as he rubbed his hands over his suit pants.

Stiles knew he should leave. That he should get as far away from Scott and Lydia and Beacon Hills as he possibly could for everyone’s sake. For their own good. But at Scott’s words, he just nodded because he was weak and he wasn’t ready yet. Soon, but not yet. He shifted back on the bed and laid back, staring up at the ceiling, at the glow in the dark stars and planets they’d stuck up there when they were seven because it was too rainy and cold outside for a campout one night.

Scott followed suit resting his hands behind his head and if he squinted and tuned out the people downstairs he could pretend this was just like any other night where he and Stiles were hanging out talking about Allison and Lydia.

Stiles turned his head to look at his best friend. “Hey, Scott?” His voice was barely a whisper.

Scott turned his head toward Stiles, but didn’t open his eyes. “Hmm?”

Stiles gazed at his best friend for a moment, chest tightening painfully. Wordlessly he reached out and gripped onto Scott’s shoulder

Scott’s eyes opened and he angled his head to the side before reaching up and placing a hand over Stiles’ not sure what the look on his friend’s face meant.

“I love you. You know that right?” Stiles shut his eyes.

Scott nodded, “I love you too, man. I love you too.” He patted his friend’s shoulder before dropping his hand and letting out a short sigh ready for the night to be over.


Jackson still couldn’t believe that Allison Argent was dead.

When Danny had broken the news, he’d sat down hard on his bed, going silent for a full moment before questioning what had happened. It shouldn’t have surprised him, he supposed, considering how many people in Beacon Hills had the tendency to end up dead. By Peter Hale or Matt or him (however involuntarily it had been) or human sacrifices (because yes, he kept up with the grapevine news via his best friend, who knew a lot more about what was going on thanks to less than subtle locker room conversations between McCall, Stilinski and Lahey), and a pack of alpha werewolves and now apparently a trickster spirit that had possessed Stilinski.

Despite the fact he’d never really liked the other guy and he knew the feeling was mutual -- aside from reasons involving Lydia Martin, and restraining orders -- he understood how shitty it felt to be some other being’s bitch and do terrible things to people you didn’t know and didn’t want to hurt. But he hadn’t returned from London for Stilinski. He’d come back because once upon a time, Allison had been a friend and even though they hadn’t been in touch, he still cared.

And he came back for Lydia. Because despite everything that had happened between them, including how badly he knew he’d hurt her, he did love her. He did want to try and help her through the loss of her best friend because he couldn’t imagine how terrible he’d feel if something happened to Danny. And maybe because he’d done a lot of changing over the last few months while he’d been away and he wasn’t the same jackass he’d been for most of his life. At least he didn’t think so. He supposed being back in Beacon Hills for any length of time was going to put that theory to the test.

These people had tried to kill him. And while he understood that, he did still feel a hint of bitterness. Of betrayal. He wondered how many times any of them had tried to kill Stiles. Wondered if he’d gotten a pass because he was McCall’s best friend and apparently Scott was now the leader of the pack.

Jackson made his way up the steps in the McCall house because even from downstairs he could hear Lydia crying softly from one of the rooms and he paused outside of it for a moment before turning the handle and stepping inside, not bothering to knock. Okay so maybe he hadn’t completely changed. He shut the door behind him and sat down on the edge of the bed beside her, draping his arm around her shoulders wordlessly.

Lydia’s eyes fluttered open when she felt an arm wrap around her shoulders. She reached up and brushed her hand beneath her eyes. They burned and no matter how many times she blinked the tears just wouldn’t seem to stop coming. Honestly Lydia didn’t know how she still had any left.

She sucked in a sharp breath and swallowed hard, “What are you doing in here?” she asked her voice raspy from lack of use and a multitude of crying.

“I heard you crying,” he admitted, looking at her sideways, not offended by the surprise in her voice.

Lydia glanced at Jackson not entirely sure what to make of him. Their ride over to the church earlier hadn’t been bad, but it had been a little weird, for her at least. And now...he just seemed different and it was unnerving. “You realize I’m not your headache anymore, right? You don’t need to be here.”

Jackson grimaced at that. “Lydia…” He shook his head. “It’s not like that.” It had never been like that. Not really. He’d pushed her away because she’d gotten way too close. And Jackson didn’t want anyone that close.

“I’m fine,” Lydia said the same words she’d been repeating all day, which was why she’d hidden out in Scott’s guest room. She couldn’t take people staring and she couldn’t take the blanket of sadness that was permeating around the whole house. Lydia didn’t know how, but she was positive she was feeling the collective pain from everyone downstairs. Being in the same room with all of those people who were hurting like she was, just seemed to intensify her own pain.

Like when she’d been in the tunnel with the Nogitsune. The echoes of the pain and destruction in that place had nearly driven her to curl up in a ball. This was worse though because Allison wasn’t here...she’d never be there again. Lydia felt another sob building in her throat and a part of her hated herself for being so vulnerable in front of Jackson, even if he had changed.

The hell she was. Jackson pulled her closer to him, wrapping his other arm around her as well. He’d never been great at soothing a crying girl, but this was Lydia and while they’d both moved on, he still cared. He’d always cared, even when he’d denied it. Even when he’d treated her like shit. “I’m sorry about Allison.”

Lydia's attempted facade broke at his words and her body heaved slightly with the force of this new wave of tears. She leaned into Jackson bringing one hand up to clutch his shirt as a soft sob fell from her lips. “She can’t be gone...She’s Allison. God, this wasn’t supposed to happen.” She managed to murmur between tears.

Jackson rested his chin on top of her head, nodding his agreement, because he didn’t know what else to say. Words had never been his thing, comforting someone even less his thing, but he didn’t know what else to do, either. “No, it wasn’t,” he agreed.

“I tried to tell her, I tried,” Lydia shook her head, “She didn’t listen, none of them did.” She hated that they ignored her warning. They knew what she was, why had they ignored it? Lydia’s hand clenched against the material of his shirt, his familiar scent comforting. Lydia hated to admit it, even to herself, but a part of her had missed Jackson.

Jackson wasn’t entirely sure what she was talking about, but he decided now wasn’t the time to ask questions. She was too upset to make any real sense anyway. There were a lot of details that he was missing still. “It isn’t your fault.” That much he was confident about.

“She’s my best friend, I should have,” another bout of tears fell from her eyes and she pulled in a shaky breath. “I should have sent the message to Meredith...I should have told her it would be Allison and then they never would have come for me.” She mumbled something else but it was lost in her crying. Lydia shifted sliding an arm around Jackson’s neck hesitating for less than a minute before hugging him.

Who the hell was Meredith? Jackson wondered, feeling more confused by the minute and making a note to talk to Scott in the very near future. At least Scott hadn’t tried to actually kill him, unlike the guy who’d turned him in the first place. He said nothing this time, just hugged her back.

Lydia stayed liked that holding onto him like her life depended on it. “I miss her. God, I miss her and she hasn’t even been gone that long. I don’t know how to do this...I don’t know how to say goodbye, I feel,” she paused a lump forming in her throat as more tears spilled free. “like there’s this huge hole inside of me and it just keeps getting bigger.” It started with her sister dying, her parents deciding everything else was more important than her, Jackson leaving, now Allison...she couldn’t keep handling this stuff all alone.

That Jackson could relate to, at least on some level. “You’re gonna get through this,” he said quietly, confidence in his voice. “You know how I know that?”

“How?” She whispered the words against his shoulder, not moving from the comfort of his arms.

“Because you are Lydia Martin. The strongest woman I’ve ever met in my entire life,” Jackson said simply.

Lydia shifted back enough to look him in the eyes, his words making her heart warm slightly. “I don’t feel like that girl anymore...I feel...lost. And I don’t know how to find my way back.” She admitted.

Jackson reached up, tucking some hair behind her ear. “I don’t really know everything that’s happened obviously. But whether you feel like that girl anymore or’re still her. And you’re gonna get through this,” he insisted firmly.

He sounded so sure and Lydia was too tired to argue with him...And maybe a part of her wanted to believe he was right. She was quiet for a minute as she studied his face. “I missed you,” she whispered.

There was a flicker of emotion over Jackson’s face and he nodded. “I missed you, too,” he admitted.

Lydia blinked and shifted pulling her hand back so she could wipe her eyes. She took a shaky breath, her eyes burning not sure if it was from lack of sleep or crying so much, probably both. “I just want to go back. Things were okay a few weeks ago. She was okay, Stiles was okay and now,” Lydia shrugged. “I just want to go back,” she repeated. “I want one more day where everything is okay. And it’s such a stupid thing to want. And I am not a stupid girl.”

“Lydia.” He shook his head. “It’s not stupid. I can’t tell you how many times I wanted things to go back the way they used to be before…” Before werewolves. Before kanima’s. Before a lot of death and destruction and terror. “It’s a normal reaction.”

“I’m not normal, I’m exceptional...I should have a different reaction,” she mumbled, the statement at any other time probably would have been amusing. Lydia blinked her eyes again. God, she was tired.

It was still kind of an amusing statement. “Why don’t you lie down and try to get some rest?” he suggested, looking over his shoulder at the bed.

“I’m not tired.” It was a lie. But it fell out of her mouth easily. Whenever she closed her eyes she was back in that tunnel. She had dreams of her best friend...of the Nogitsune wearing Stiles’ face. Everything felt out of whack. She didn’t like sleeping.

“Well, then lay down and fill me in on all the stuff that’s been going on that I’ve missed out on.”

Lydia bit her bottom lip, her brows drawing together as she glanced at Jackson, “You’ll stay?” She asked hesitantly.

Jackson met her eyes. “Yeah. I”ll stay.”

Lydia let out a breath and then nodded, “Okay, I guess I have some time to fill you in on what’s been going on.” She said. She slipped her feet out of her heels and moved back on the bed until she was lying on her side at the top of the bed watching him.

Jackson nodded, sliding his own shoes off and scooting back so that his back was against the headboard and they were shoulder to shoulder. He reached out and laid a hand on her arm silently, waiting to hear all the insanity he’d been missing out on since he’d left for London.

He had a feeling it was going to take awhile.

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