May 24, 2014

Drove Through Ghosts To Get Here 2/32

Title: Drove Through Ghosts To Get Here
Fandom: Teen Wolf
Rating: NC-17
Authors: Sxymami0909 and Xtremeroswellia
Timeline Takes place 1 year after the end of ‘Beyond The Sea’
Series: Post Finale AU
Pairings: Stiles/Lydia, Scott/Kira, Isaac Lahey, Sheriff Stilinski, Melissa McCall, Chris Argent, Derek Hale, Cora Hale, Aiden, Ethan, Danny, Braeden, Alan Deaton, Peter Hale, Malia Tate-Hale, mentions of Scott/Allison, mentions of Derek/Lydia, mentions of Stiles/Braeden
Part: 2/32
Summary: The one year anniversary of Allison's death is right around the corner just in time for a new threat to make it's way to Beacon Hills. With Lydia's banshee powers growing, and dead bodies piling up near the Nemeton, Scott and his pack need to work together to figure out who's behind the latest attacks and what knew evil is on the lose. Tension is mounting in the pack and relationships will be tested when an old ally returns to town with information that could help the pack. But can the pack trust their old friend or has the year passed hardened him to a point of no return?
Author's Note: This is a Stydia story, but it's a slow burn because a lot needs to be rebuilt and there are mentions of other couples and other friendships along the way. One year has passed between this story and 'Beyond the Sea'. You will get to see the missing year in a series of one-shots taking place between 'Beyond the Sea' and this story later on.
Previous Chapters: | One |

Chapter 2

Derek sent a sideways glance in Chris’s direction as they moved through the woods. It was a little on the colder side not that it actually got all that cold in California. Leaves crunched beneath his boots as they made their way towards the clearing where he knew Chris liked to train sometimes. “Remind me again why I’m the target of your little knife throwing session,” he commented his tone light, “It’s those residual feelings of anger isn’t it,” he deadpanned, though he was clearly joking.

Chris smirked faintly at his question. “Because if you get hit with a knife, you’re going to heal a hell of a lot faster than I will,” he said wryly even though he was well aware that Derek knew the reason he was playing the target. “And Lydia needs to start learning basic weapons techniques now that she’s mastered hand-to-hand.”

Derek arched an eyebrow. “You don’t actually think she’s going to catch me.” He said with half a grin. “I move pretty fast, but thanks for making me a pincushion.” He glanced around the woods.

Chris pursed his lips. “She might just surprise you,” he said with a shrug, glancing at him sideways as they walked deeper into the woods, at the area where he’d set up for their latest training session with Lydia.

“Did you get invited to Melissa’s Christmas party?” He asked casually knowing bringing that up could be a hit or miss, but he wasn’t going to let Chris drown himself in a bottle for the holidays. They had gotten surprisingly closer over the past year and he respected the guy a hell of a lot more than he respected most people.

“I did.” Chris said nothing more in regards to the party because he hadn’t decided whether to accept or decline the invitation.

Derek moved with him slipping his hands into his pockets. “I went by the Nemeton the other day,” he figured a change of subject for the moment was in order. “The morning after the earthquake,” he added as they finally came to the clearing where Chris had set everything up.

Chris grimaced at that. He’d been searching for ways to destroy that tree for over a year now to no avail. He was starting to think that it wasn’t actually possible. “Anything I should be concerned about right now?”

Derek shrugged, “I don’t know. It looks like it always does. Nothing seemed different or out of the ordinary. I couldn’t sense anything,” he added slightly frustrated. He wanted nothing more than to get rid of that thing, but none of them had found a way yet. “Lydia’s worried. She had a nightmare the other night...she said something doesn’t feel right,” he explained. And somehow a good portion of Lydia’s feelings were tied to the Nemeton another thing that confused Derek.

Chris sighed softly. He knew by now that if Lydia was having a bad feeling about something, they needed to take it seriously. She was always right when it came to her feelings on things, even when they all wished she wasn’t. It was a terrible burden for such a young girl to carry. Chris worried about her. “Then I suppose we should all start preparing for whatever’s coming next.”

Derek pursed his lips, “Whatever it is we’ll handle it. Just like we handled those rabid Beta’s that blew through town a few months back or that weird organ eating thing. We work together, and kick its ass,” he said simply.

“Aw, I always find it so adorable when Derek talk’s teamwork since it’s such a new concept for him,” Lydia teased playfully as she appeared out of nowhere. Her hair was up in a ponytail, she wore black yoga pants, a tank top and sneakers. She pointed at her feet. “Look appropriate shoes,” she smiled brightly. Chris was always getting on her about how heels were not workout friendly.

Chris smiled faintly at her. “Lydia,” he greeted, nodding in approval at her choice of shoes. “Much better. Much less likely to cause you to trip and fall.” He glanced at Derek. “We’re going to work on knife throwing today. Derek here has agreed to be a moving target. But we’ll start with a regular target for now.” He motioned to the target he’d already set up, pinned to a tree.

Lydia grinned, “And he gives me something sharp and pointy.” She said walking over to Chris and glancing at Derek, “I hope you can run fast,” she said.

Derek arched an eyebrow a smirk pulling at his lips. “I have it on good authority that you don’t really want to stab me.” He said lightly.

Lydia waved a hand in his direction as she came to stand next to Chris in front of the target, “You’re a big bad wolf, you’ll heal.” She said unconcerned before shifting her gaze to Chris waiting for his direction.

After about thirty five minutes, Lydia had managed to nail the target in the dead center. Chris was smiling proudly as he pulled the knives from the tree. “I think we’re ready to move on.” He looked over at Derek, amused. “Assuming we still have a volunteer to play the moving target.”

Derek sighed. He shrugged out of his jacket and tossed it on the ground. Okay, he by no means underestimated Lydia, but he honestly hadn’t expected her to nail a solid target so quickly. He lifted his brows. “You do,” he said before shifting his gaze to Lydia, “Remember, you like me.” He said amused.

Lydia’s grin brightened. “Nope, not right now. Right now you’re the enemy. Come on motivate me be all growly like you’re going to bite me or something.”

Derek arched a brow.

Lydia glanced at Chris, “You should tell him, he’ll listen to you.” She said as she took the knives that he’d retrieved from the target.

Chris stifled a laugh at her request and looked at Derek, shrugging. “The lady wants you to growl at her, Derek.”

Derek glanced heavenward, “Of course she does.” He smirked and then glanced at Lydia his eyes flashing, “I’d be careful what I wish for if I were you,” he joked letting his fangs come out and taking a step forward a spark of mischief in his eyes.

Lydia paused, “Uh, no, no...I know that look. I’m throwing things at you. There will be no chasing me around the woods Hale, how will I throw knives?” She asked taking a step back as he moved forward.

Derek shrugged, “That seems like a personal problem. A predator isn’t going to stop chasing you so you can throw things at them. Adapt.” He told her simply.

Lydia felt her heartbeat start to pick up speed even though she knew Derek would never hurt her. She slid the knives into the Velcro sleeve attached to her arm, keeping one in her hand, fingering the cool metal. “Is this legal?” She asked Chris while taking one step back for every one Derek took forward.

“Only in Beacon Hills,” he answered with a sigh, crossing his arms over his chest and leaning back against the tree. “You can do this, Lydia. Just keep your mind clear and focused like we’ve practiced.”

“But,” the sound of Derek growling made her let out an undignified squeak and when he ran at her she turned around and took off in the other direction out of reflex. Her heart was pounding in her chest and she could hear him behind her. Lydia fingered the knife in her hand as she ran. She swallowed hard letting the knife slid in her hand so she was holding it in a pinch grip like Chris had taught her, which was better for fast throwing with force.

Lydia got to the edge of the clearing and then whipped around her hair moving around her body in her ponytail taking aim at Derek, shooting her hand out and releasing the knife directly at him.

Derek felt the knife sail through the air and he tumbled to the side getting out of the way of the blade. By the time he started coming at Lydia again the second and third knives were already in her hand.

She needed to focus the trajectory of the blade by moving her body and throwing the knife with the same kind of force. The blade always goes down first. She repeated in her head. Lydia shifted her weight to her left foot as her right arm came out straight and she released the blade and before it even reached Derek she did the same with her right foot and other arm releasing the second knife.

Derek swore to himself as he shifted knowing he wouldn’t be able to duck both knives. He took a deep breath and turned his body to the right, the edge of the blade embedding itself in his shoulder. He paused grunting as he winced. The impact hurt, but it was a small knife as soon as he took the blade out it wouldn't take long to heal.

Lydia’s eyes widened at the site of the knife hitting Derek. Her heart was still beating erratically in her chest as she closed the distance between her and Derek, “I’m sorry I didn’t mean to, I mean I did, but you know...” she swallowed heavily, “Are you okay?”

Derek reached up and pulled the blade from his shoulder. “Yeah, of course.” He wiped the knife off on his shirt and held it out to her. “You learn fast.” This wasn’t exactly news to him, of course. He’d known Lydia for awhile now.

Chris approached slowly, hands tucked in the pockets of his jacket. “Good job,” he told Lydia with a small smile.

Lydia glanced between them and let out a shaky laugh. Of course he was fine. She took the knife from Derek her gaze moving between them again. “That was terrifying,” she said with a huff, pieces of her hair falling out of her ponytail along her face, “But also...kind of cool.” She said her face flush with adrenaline. She glanced at Chris, “Thanks for helping me with this stuff Mr. Argent.” She said softly, a genuine smile pulling at her lips making her dimples show.

Chris reached out and gave her shoulder a brief squeeze. “Glad to help out,” he said quietly, chest tightening. Allison would have wanted him to make sure that Lydia was okay. That she could take care of herself.

Lydia felt a wave of emotion hit her and she wasn’t entirely sure it was hers. She smiled again and glanced towards the woods, not wanting Chris to see the look in her eyes. “I think we should call it a day,” she added keeping her tone light and upbeat despite the tightness in her chest. She was suddenly thinking of all the times she’d come out here to help Allison with her shooting and her emotional levels were starting to fluctuate, something she could get a read on now that she knew a little more about how her banshee abilities worked.

“All right. It’s been a good session.” He smiled very faintly at her. “Next time we’ll start with moving targets and then accelerate into handguns.” He glanced at Derek. “I trust you’ll get Lydia home safely.”

Lydia smiled, “Sounds good,” she said glancing back at Chris as Derek nodded.

Derek placed a hand at the small of Lydia’s back. “I will,” he answered in response to Chris’ question. “Are we still on for tomorrow night, I believe I still owe you that beer.” He stated.

Chris reached out and patted Derek’s shoulder. “And I intend to cash in, so yes. I’ll grill,” he informed him before looking at Lydia once more. “Take care.” He headed away, leaving them alone.

Lydia watched him go and her chest tightened. “I worry about him.” She said softly. “I’m glad the two of you are friends. Sometimes the things I feel from him...they scare me a little. He deals with a lot.” She told Derek quietly.

Derek watched him go, too. “I know,” he said quietly. “I spend a lot of time with him. I can smell his emotions. He’s been through the ringer.”

Lydia nodded. “He has,” she responded quietly with a sigh before glancing around. It was getting darker and the woods were never the greatest place to stay. “We should go. I need a shower after that workout and heart attack you attempted to give me.” She said poking him gently in the chest.

“Hey you were the one who wanted me to growl,” he reminded her with a smirk as they walked through the woods. “I just followed orders.”

“Mmm, growl not chase.” She pointed out with a grin as she fixed the knives in the Velcro holder. “Shoulder all healed up?” She inquired and they walked out of the clearing and back towards the trail.

Derek grinned. “Hey, just trying to keep it real. Never know when you’re going to have to dagger someone while on the run.” He shrugged, nodding. “Yep. I’m good.”

Lydia chuckled and shook her head. “Idiot,” she said fondly, her gaze drifting to his shoulder. “Good, you can wash my back then in the shower,” she told simply. “And since I stabbed you, if you’re nice I can probably be persuaded to make it up to you.” She added amused, while continuing to walk in the direction of her car.

Derek simply chuckled.


“Open up, pizza’s here,” Isaac called loudly as he stood outside Derek’s loft. “It’s also really freakin’ hot and I’m starving!”

Derek looked up from the refrigerator and glanced at the couch where his sister sat reading at one end and Lydia sat flipping through a magazine at the other. “No don’t worry; I’ll let poor Isaac in even though I’m further away.” He said with a sigh shaking his head.

Derek walked over to the door and slid it open motioning for Isaac to come inside, “Sorry about that.” He said sending Isaac half a smile, “How’s it going?”

“It’s going.” Isaac smiled back at Derek and ducked into the loft apartment. “So. Pack fun night.”

Cora rolled her eyes. “Let me guess. Scott named it.” She shifted on the couch, not looking up as she turned the page in her book.

Isaac glanced at Cora, “You know if your brother can learn to grow a sense of humor and not be so crabby all the time, maybe you should have a little of whatever he’s been smoking,” he joked placing the pizza down on the coffee table so it was in the middle of the loft instead of in the kitchen.

Derek shoved his hands into his pocket and chuckled at Isaac’s words.

“I am who I am,” she informed him with a shrug. “And it took Derek years to get past his grumpiness so I’m entitled.”

Isaac rolled his and glanced around. “The place is looking good. Every time I come by you’ve added something new,” he said while dropping down in one of the chairs and pulling open the pizza box.

Derek shifted over to Cora and plucked the book out of her hands. “Be social,” he commented, a hint of humor in his gaze. Cora didn’t do much outside the pack and he wanted his sister to have friends, not be as lonely as he’d been the past few years. “Can you get plates, please?” He asked lightly.

Cora sighed, giving him an irritated look and rising to her feet. Tomorrow was her birthday and really she just wanted to finish her book and go to bed. She headed for the kitchen, pulling out some paper plates from the cupboard and dropping them on the kitchen table. “Plates are out, oh brother of mine.”

Derek sighed as Isaac arched an amused eyebrow. He walked into the other room and glanced at his sister. He could hear Isaac start to annoy Lydia so he focused on Cora, “What’s wrong?” He asked watching her carefully not sure what had put her in such a bad mood.

Cora shrugged, not meeting his eyes. “Maybe I don’t see the point in all of this.”

Derek frowned concern etching into his features. “Cora...they’re our friends. The point is to try and have a good time while we can, because something is always happening and…” he shrugged. “It’s just supposed to be fun. Scott and Kira should be here soon and there will be movies and Lydia brought snacks over earlier. It’,” he said trying not to wince. Okay it wasn’t exactly his idea of fun, but he didn’t mind the pack being there.

She rolled her eyes. “They’re your friends,” she corrected him. “Isaac’s okay.” She shrugged. “The rest?” She gave him a pained look. “I don’t fit in here, Derek. We both know it. Me trying to pretend otherwise is kind of pointless.”

Derek frowned and rested a hand on her shoulder. “Cora, you’re my family you will always fit with me.” He stated matter-of-factly. “And Scott thinks you’re great...Kira doesn’t really know you but she seems like a sweet girl,” he added. “And let’s be honest who cares what the twins think?” He sent her half a smile. “Everyone likes you.” He told her quietly unsure of why these things were suddenly bothering her or if they’d been bothering her all along.

“And your girlfriend hates me.” But the feeling was pretty much mutual and she didn’t have to say that out loud.

Derek winced, “Hate’s a strong word,” he’d talk to Lydia. She and Cora were a lot more alike than either of them realized.

Cora arched an eyebrow at him skeptically at his comment about Lydia. “I fit in with you. And maybe Isaac.” She shrugged. She was pretty used to not fitting in anywhere. She’d been running for a long time. She didn’t normally have time to worry about whether she fit in or not. “Scott’s…” She shrugged. “Too freakin’ perfect like are you kidding me?”

Derek sighed, “Scott is far from perfect. Trust me...but he really tries hard to create a united front for everyone. Give him a chance,” he asked. Plus if she didn’t like hanging out with them today that was seriously going to put a damper on the little birthday party that Scott’s mom was putting together for Cora tomorrow. “This is your pack Cora, you might not get along with everyone, but they’d all risk their life for you and I’d like to think you’d do the same.” He said squeezing her shoulder lightly.

“Right. I get that Scott’s trying but…” She shrugged, sighing. “As long as that doesn’t include the twins.” That was one grudge she wouldn’t let go of probably ever.

Derek watched her for a minute and nodded. He hesitated before leaning in and pressing a kiss to the side of her head as he heard someone at the door signaling that Scott and Kira were there. “You’re gonna be just fine.” He told her before grabbing the plates and nodding for her to follow him.

At least one of them was convinced of that. She followed him out of the kitchen silently, moving to the door and pulling it open for Scott and Kira. “Hey,” she greeted, stepping aside to let them in.

Scott stood arm around Kira and smiled, “Hey Cora,” he said as he walked into the loft spotting Isaac on a chair in the living room across from Lydia. He glanced back at his girlfriend, “Kira you remember Cora.”

Kira smiled at her. “Yeah, I do. Hey, Cora. Nice to see you again.”

She sighed inwardly because dealing with people and making small talk really wasn’t her thing at all. “You too. Come on. There’s pizza and soda.”

Isaac glanced over and nodded at Scott, “Hey,” he smiled at Kira, “If it isn’t my favorite fox ninja,” he joked as he reached for one of the plates Derek brought in and grabbed some pizza. “We doing movies?” He asked glancing around his eyes falling on Lydia. He nudged her with his foot.

Lydia arched an eyebrow, but didn’t look away from the magazine, “Do stop poking at me Isaac,” she said while flipping the page.

Kira smiled back at Isaac. “Movies sound good to me.” She glanced at Scott and then at Cora. “What are the options?”

“No chick flicks,” Cora informed her, moving back to get some pizza for herself and then dropping back onto the sofa.

Isaac grinned and leaned back in his seat taking a large bite of pizza. “What about that movie with the girl...What’s it called. The Hunger Games? The second one to that. That’s not a chick flick.” He commented.

Lydia didn’t glance up from her magazine as she spoke. “Veto.” She said flipping the page again. For some reason every time Lydia looked at the main character all she saw was Allison.

Scott’s gaze focused on Lydia at her veto, not the least bit surprised by her response. His own gut had twisted painfully at the mention of Catching Fire.

Derek glanced over at Lydia a worried frown on his face. Something wasn’t quite right with her tonight. He reached down for some pizza and stood next to Isaac, “What about a comedy?” He asked, “Have any new one’s come out?” He didn’t exactly keep up with movies.

Scott grabbed a piece of pizza and sat down beside Lydia, arm brushing against hers. “I couldn’t even tell you the last movie I actually watched.” He glanced up at Derek with a faint smile and a shrug, then looked at Lydia. “There’s plain cheese and all veggie.”

Lydia looked away from her magazine and sent Scott half a smile, “I’m not very hungry at the moment.” She admitted resting her hand against his arm briefly and squeezing. Before she could look back at her magazine there was a plate in front of her and she blinked.

“I don’t think I’ve seen you eat once today,” Derek pointed out nudging the plate at her. Lydia glanced down at the pizza and then at Scott and Derek. She let out a soft sigh, closed her magazine and took the plate. “The two of you mother hens worry too much.” She told them.

Scott smiled faintly at her, draping his arm around her shoulders as he picked up his pizza with his other hand, nodding at Kira, who took the hint and sat down on the other side of him, squeezing in between him and Cora.

“Bridesmaids,” Isaac offered up from his seat randomly. When everyone glanced at him he shifted sheepishly, “What?”

“I think that counts as a chick flick,” Cora told him, arching an eyebrow. “But at least it was funny.” Even if she couldn’t relate to it in the least. She’d never had a female friend in her entire life.

“Sounds like two for Bridesmaids,” Scott said, glancing at Lydia.

Lydia’s chest tightened, “Sure, works for me.” She told him lightly. Honestly she didn’t really care what they watched. All day she’d had the oddest feeling in the pit of her stomach, but she couldn’t understand where it was coming from. Something felt off again and if that wasn’t enough earlier that morning she’d been talking to her mother on the phone and she’d casually brought up Allison like, with no regard for anything. The comment she made was so ridiculously insensitive and the worst part was Lydia was pretty sure her Mom hadn’t even realized it.

Lydia’s Mom wasn’t a bad person, but she was oblivious at times. Apparently she was staying at the teaching convention a couple of days longer and ‘too bad Allison wasn’t around to stay with her while she was gone’...Who said something like that? Lydia tossed the magazine aside.

“I’m going to get some fresh air really quick, but I’ll be right back, I’ve seen the movie so you can start it.” She told them as she pushed herself up.

Kira glanced over and waved. Lydia sent her a tired smile and returned the gesture. She stepped around the table and brushed her hand over Derek’s arm giving it a light squeeze when she caught the sight of worry on his face.

Isaac craned his head and watched as Lydia walked out on the balcony in the loft. He glanced back at everyone else as he finished off his pizza. “Bridesmaids it is.” He commented.

Scott met Derek’s eyes for a moment, then rose to his feet, drawing in a breath and heading out onto the balcony after a couple of minutes. He shut the doors behind him quietly and moved to stand beside her. “Something happen?” he asked very softly. He knew her too well by now to believe her if she said no.

Lydia turned her head sideways and then shrugged glancing back out over the balcony. “I’m just not having a great day,” she admitted. “Sometimes I wonder what goes through my Mother’s head when she speaks.” Lydia commented before shaking her head. “And if that wasn’t enough of an annoyance, something feels off again. I’ve been trying to focus all day to see if I could sense what it was, but I can’t. It’s not that bad feeling it was before...but it’s a shift. Something’s coming.”

Scott considered that for a moment, shifting closer to her and winding his arm around her waist. She didn’t have to say anymore about her mother. He was well aware of how lacking their relationship was. It wasn’t something she talked about much, but he’d witnessed their interactions a couple of times and he’d been able to draw some pretty astute conclusions. “Not bad is good at least. You know? Maybe it’s something good for a change.”

Lydia glanced at Scott, “You’re too optimistic,” she responded lightly. “I said it’s not the same bad feeling from after the earthquake. It’s different, but it’s unsettling. It’s had me on edge all day long and I don’t understand why.” She explained. “Even with everything we’ve learned about my abilities over the past year, there’s still so much I don’t know,” Lydia explained.

“There are still so many times I don’t understand what it is I’m feeling.” Lydia scrunched her nose. “But I’m sure the feeling will pass. They always do.” She said with half a smile as she leaned into him.

Stiles used to tell him the exact same thing. “Yeah, probably,” he admitted with a very faint smile that didn’t reach his eyes. “So it’s not like when the betas came through a couple months ago and caused trouble, and it’s not like the earthquake.” He rubbed her back gently. “We’ll figure it out, Lydia.”

She glanced at Scott and sent him half a smile. “At least I don’t have to worry about waking up my Mom with unexplainable screaming,” she joked.

Scott sighed softly at the comment about her mom. “She’s out of town again, isn’t she?” It seemed like her mom was out of town more than she was in town, honestly.

“She called this morning to let me know she’d be gone an extra four days.” Lydia said with a sigh. She was so tired of being alone. That was what had originally started things between her and Derek. It wasn’t planned, in all reality it was an accident and Lydia was pretty sure he’d been just as shocked as she had been.

But it worked. Lydia was closest with Scott and Derek, they were her best friends. And she always felt less lonely when she was with Derek. Not because she was falling into some kind of romantic love, but because he understood her on a level that most people didn’t. He knew what it was like to feel so alone that it hurt. As much as Lydia loved Scott, he didn’t understand that part of her. Melissa and the sheriff were amazing. She’d never seen parents that loved their kids and other people’s kids more.

“You know you’re always welcome at my house.” It was still weird calling it his even though he’d lived there for almost four months and the old house had been sold already. It had been Stiles’ house since they were little and instinctively he wanted to call it Stiles’. “And you know, if you’d rather...I’m sure Derek wouldn’t mind you crashing here with him. Or you can alternate between the two. Or I could stay at your house with you.” He just wanted her to know she wasn’t alone. To know that she had family even if they weren’t blood related.

Lydia swallowed hard. “I appreciate the offer, but I can’t stay at your house.” She told him softly. Because it would always be Stiles’ house. And going there when Scott’s mother wanted to talk about wedding stuff or they were doing something for the pack was different then spending the night in Stiles’ room. A place that held a lot of memories for them even if they hadn’t exactly been romantic ones. No, she’d never gotten her chance for that. The thought made her heart clench.

“I would rather stay here,” Lydia admitted before reaching out and squeezing Scott’s hand wanting him to know it wasn’t because of him, “Not that I don’t love spending time with you, because you know I do.” She said seriously. “But I can’t keep putting Derek out. He’s got Cora here and we’re not exactly besties’,” she said lightly though her hate for the other girl wasn’t nearly as strong as it used to be. Lydia was pretty sure she knew why too, but she was going to choose to ignore it.

“Then consider me your sleepover buddy for the next four days,” Scott informed her. Because he wasn’t going to let her be alone even if she protested it. “We’ll hang at your house. I could use pool time anyway,” he joked, resting his head against hers.

Lydia hesitated, “You’re sure?” She asked softly as she leaned into him.

“Completely,” he told her without hesitation. “Besides I could use some time with the other hot girl in town.”

Lydia chuckled, “Cute.” She said with a grin her body relaxing slightly. “Hey, did I tell you I nailed Derek with a knife the other day?” She asked brightly, proud of her accomplishment. Well not stabbing Derek, but doing well with the knives.

He arched an eyebrow. “Moved on from hand to hand and tasers?” he guessed, trying not to grin.

“Yes,” she smiled. “Mr. Argent says next time more moving target practice and then guns 101,” she explained. “Have you talked to him lately?”

Scott winced, looking down. “No. Not for a couple weeks,” he admitted quietly. “I should go by and see him tomorrow.”

“I think he’s coming to Cora’s birthday party,” she said tilting her head to the side. “Your Mom convinced him.” She told him.

“Oh.” He relaxed a little, glad to hear that Chris would be attending Cora’s party at least. He didn’t want the man to start isolating himself, now especially with the anniversary of Allison’s death so close.

Lydia nodded, “Plus he and Derek are friendly now...I get it you know. It was hard for me at first too. Seeing him. But the pain I used to feel every time I was around him was too much...he was so full of it that I couldn’t stop myself from reaching out to him,” Lydia admitted.

Scott was quiet for a moment. “I don’t...I don’t know how you deal with that,” he admitted. “Feeling other people’s emotions. I don’t feel things like that except know, the pack. And it’s...usually not overwhelming.”

Lydia nodded. “It overwhelms me a lot, throws me off balance. It’s getting stronger, what I can feel,” she admitted. “It’s not with everyone though. My connection to certain people is stronger than others. I think,” Lydia paused, “I think the more of a connection I have with a person the stronger I can feel them. Like with you.” She said with half a smile.

“I can feel you more often than not. It’s how I know when you need a hug,” she said softly. “Derek too. I feel him pretty strong. I can feel Mr. Argent and Isaac, but not as strong as you. I can’t really feel Cora or Kira.” That was probably her fault though; she hadn’t really opened herself up to either of them. “Occasionally I can feel the twins.” She used to be able to feel Stiles...but she didn’t anymore.

“Maybe we could talk to Deaton,” he suggested. “See if there’s something we can do to help you get control over it so it doesn’t throw you off balance so much?” He looked at her thoughtfully. “He’s helped me with a lot of stuff lately -- the alpha powers.” His abilities and senses had grown over the last year, too, in different ways, and Deaton had helped a lot.

“I think it’s because we’re all connected. You know? All part of the same pack. Derek said it makes us all more connected than blood relatives.”

Lydia nodded. “Yeah, he’s mentioned that to me before. I wouldn’t turn down a solution if Deaton had one,” she admitted. “I don’t want to get rid of my abilities or dull them, it’s just hard sometimes feeling what everyone else does because then if brings up my own feelings about things, which, is hard,” Lydia admitted.

“No,” he agreed. “But more control over it would only be a good thing, right?” he asked, watching her closely.

Lydia nodded and ran her hand down Scott’s arm. “I haven’t seen you and Derek doing any alpha type training lately...things okay with you guys?” Lydia inquired lightly.

He smiled faintly at her actions. “Yeah, we’re fine. I just haven’t had issues crop up for awhile and I feel like for the most part things are under control alpha-wise.” Other than his growing annoyance with all the arguing.

Lydia tilted her head, “I’m sorry about the arguing,” she said casually. “I know Aiden’s temperament as of late is my fault.” She said softly. “I’ve tried talking to him, but, well those conversations never go well. He’s angry with me.” She said with a shrug.

Scott frowned, “That’s not your fault. I don’t care if Aiden’s pissed off at you,” he said honestly. “He doesn’t own you and he doesn’t get to say what you do with your life. It’s petty and stupid of him to think otherwise.” Even he’d known that things between Lydia and Aiden hadn’t been serious. He knew Aiden knew it too. “He needs to get over his issue if he wants to be part of this pack.”

Lydia pursed her lips she knew Scott was right, but she still felt bad. She continued talking her hand resting against his arm. “As for Isaac and Cora...I know it’s a pain. It bugs me and I don’t have to be connected to it the way you are.” She explained, “But they were a lot closer to Boyd than we were,” Lydia told him softly hesitating before continuing.

“The only time I ever feel any emotions from Cora is when she’s thinking about Boyd,” Lydia said honestly. She had never mentioned it because she didn’t think Cora would appreciate that. And as much as they didn’t get along, Lydia would hate if someone used things like that against her.

Scott sighed softly, looking out over the city. “I get Cora and Isaac’s deal with them. I do. But I know there’s more to it than what they see, too. I know Kali didn’t give them a choice. That Deucalion didn’t. It doesn’t excuse what they did or what happened, but the blame lies in multiple places.”

His shoulders drooped a little. “Cora...isn’t an easy person to connect with,” he said hesitantly. He could only think of one person aside from Boyd and Derek that she’d ever really had any kind of bond with and he sighed. “I’m not giving up on any of them.” It just wasn’t who he was. He didn’t give up on people, even when they gave up on each other or on themselves.

Lydia nodded she knew Scott didn’t give up on people. “I know it’s hard, but losing Boyd for them was like…” Lydia swallowed hard, “It’s like Allison for us,” she whispered. “Imagine if we had to see the person who took her from us every day.” She tightened her grip on Scott as the words left her mouth.

He winced at the mention of Allison, at the reference to the Oni. “Yeah. I do get it.” His voice was quiet. He looked at her sideways, eyes sad. “I think we’re all just on edge waiting for...whatever’s coming to actually show up.”

Lydia nodded, “We are. We’re scared...None of us have faced anything big since,” Lydia paused knowing she didn’t have to say it. “We lost two people then and I think we’re already pretty terrified to lose anyone else.” Lydia admitted. At least she was. It was one of the reasons she’d gone to Chris to help her with self-defense and weapons. She didn’t want to be a liability to the pack.

Lydia shifted to her side so she was facing Scott. She hesitated, “I worry sometimes that I’ll lose you.” She said quietly. “The thought of anything happening to you or Derek...or the rest of the pack...I’m worried I won’t always know what’s wrong in time. That I’ll make a mistake, that you guys will risk too much.” Lydia looked away from him.

“You ground me; you both do in different ways.” It used to be Stiles. She was his anchor and he was...more than she ever knew. But not anymore. “If I lost that...we’ve already lost so much. I just worry.” Lydia shrugged. It started after Scott was kidnapped. Then a few months after that Derek was hurt to the point of almost death. And then the worry grew and it seemed like it’s been growing ever since.

Scott let out a breath. Scared was an understatement, really. As well as they all tended to work together when it came to a crisis, he felt like whatever was coming, they weren’t prepared for it this time. The way they hadn’t been prepared for the Nogitsune. Like they hadn’t been prepared for losing Allison or prepared for Stiles leaving for parts unknown.

“I worry, too,” he said quietly, though he knew she already knew that. He worried that he wouldn’t be able to save one of them if something like the Nogitsune happened again. That one more loss would break their fragile pack. The twins had almost left after Stiles did, but had changed their minds at the last minute. He put his hand over hers. “I think all we can do is take it one breathe at a time.” Because even one day at a time felt too overwhelming sometimes.

Lydia nodded. “I know,” she said softly. “It never feels like enough sometimes...the waiting and wondering.” Lydia sighed and sent a small smile in Scott’s direction. “I am being such a downer on pack fun night,” she told him lightly. “And I’m totally monopolizing the best alpha ever.”

Scott smiled a little and shook his head. “It’s fine, Lydia. I wasn’t really feeling tonight either,” he admitted, shrugging.

She arched an eyebrow, “But it was your idea,” she said with a short laugh.

“Yeah, well.” He chuckled and looked out over the city with a shrug.

Lydia ran a hand over his back. She knew what was wrong even if she didn’t mention it. She could feel how much Scott missed him. It used to kill her every time she felt it, making her miss him too. But Lydia had buried that part of her heart so far away; she’d be surprised if anyone ever saw it again. “It will be okay.” She said softly resting her head against his shoulder.

Scott nodded slightly more to indicate that he’d heard her than anything because right then he just didn’t have that kind of faith to go on. Everything had been so hard, so terrible for so long that it felt like that was all there was ever going to be. He needed some kind of sign that eventually things were going to get better. That eventually they really would all be okay. He looked up at the sky and then over at her, leaning his head against hers. All he could do was hope it would happen soon.


The sixteen hour flight from Budapest to Van Nuys, California, had been a rocky, unsettling one. It was initially only supposed to be a fourteen hour flight, but there had been bad storms over the East coast and they’d spent two hours circling the fucking Atlantic Ocean. And since Stiles didn’t tend to sleep on airplanes, it had made for a really, really long flight. He was itching to check the Beacon Hills news site to see if anything had happened since the last time he’d checked.

For as much time as he’d spent on airplanes in the last year, he hated flying. He hated everything about it. It made his nerves raw with anxiety like he rarely got anymore, thankfully. He gritted his teeth together and shut his eyes, clutching tightly onto the armrests as the plane descended from the sky and onto the landing strip at the airport. Getting through airport security would have been a tricky feat had it not been for his very fake, very illegal identification that said he was an air Marshall. He had Braeden to thank for that one. He could have made himself one, but even his skills in documentary forging paled in comparison to hers.

He forced himself to take a deep breath and let it out slowly, heart beating hard in his chest. Now that he’d landed he had a whole new set of reasons to feel anxious. Like the fact that he was going home for the first time in almost a year. The first time he’d be seeing anyone from the pack since then.

Don’t regress, Stilinski, he ordered himself, fumbling with his carry on and dry swallowing down a Xanax. He didn’t have to take them often, but he kept a supply just in case. He followed the line of people off the flight, hoisting his duffel bag over his shoulder and clutching onto the strap tightly the way he had the day he’d boarded the bus to Van Nuys from Beacon Hills so many months before.

This time there wasn’t going to be anyone to greet him because no one knew he was coming. He wasn’t even sure he’d see any of them, really. He was going to go and check things out, do a bit of investigating, see if his feeling turned out to be anything he needed to worry about and if it wasn’t, well. Then he was going to try to get in and out of town without seeing anyone aside from his dad.

It was terrible, he knew. Cowardly. Even the thought of seeing Scott again scared the shit out of him and Stiles had long since buried most of his fears. And if he managed to get in and out of town without seeing Scott or the others, and they found out, then they would definitely hate him.

He was at yet another crossroads that he really didn’t want to be standing and facing down. Another lose/lose situation. It was turning out to be the story of his life. As soon as he was off the plane, he dug around in his bag and pulled out his pack of cigarettes, lighting one and sitting down outside the airport. He’d started smoking after a pretty close brush with death eleven months ago, and Braeden had convinced him to try and quit more than once. It wasn’t that he liked it really, it was that it calmed him in a way that nothing else had in a very long time.

He’d managed to quit for three months, but as soon as he’d woken with that dream about Allison yesterday he’d bought another pack at the nearest gas station. At least his hands weren’t shaking anymore when he looked down at them.

“Those’ll kill you, you know,” an older woman informed him as she gave him a disgusted look and moved past him and into the building.

A short, humorless chuckle escaped him. If she only knew.

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