May 30, 2014

Drove Through Ghosts To Get Here 5/32

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: 5/32
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 | Two |  Three | Four |

Chapter Five

The drive to the motel was a short one, leaving very little time to talk about much of anything. And Stiles was distracted by how tense things were at breakfast and how awkward it had felt and how much he felt like a stranger in the house he’d grown up in and how much worse that feeling was going to get. He really wanted a cigarette. He drummed his fingers on the steering wheel of the jeep and parked it in front of the room he was occupying for about the next half an hour or so until he got the rest of his things together and paid at the front desk.

And then it dawned on him at how bad of shape the room was in and he barely resisted the urge to lay his head down on the steering wheel and groan. This really, really wasn't the way he’d intended for Scott to find out about...anything. And now it was going to happen because he hadn't anticipated Melissa’s insistence that he stay there.

Shit shit shit.

Stiles shut off the engine and climbed out of the driver’s seat, glancing sideways at Scott. He’d been back for less than twenty-four hours and he’d made so many stupid amateur mistakes that it was actually pretty inexcusable. And Morrell still hadn't returned his call.

He chewed his lower lip nervously as he unlocked the motel room door and flipped on the light, wincing at the sight that lay before him. Awesome.

Stiles had made Scott anxious the whole ride over to the motel and despite the fact that it hadn't been long, it had been full of tension coming from his best friend. Scott wasn't sure what Stiles was so anxious about; at least he hadn't been until his friend opened his motel room door.

Scott’s mouth dropped open slightly as he stared at the things in front of him. “What is all of this?” He asked taking a step further into the room and glancing at the chaos around him.

Stiles rubbed a hand over his face tiredly. He really, really needed to start thinking and planning better. His weapons were covering the circular table, various articles and information about daevas pinned to the wall over the TV. There were books on various occult topics scattered on the two beds, neither of which had been slept in. His pack of cigarettes was on the nightstand along with his lighter. He’d left them behind earlier because he hadn't wanted to smell like smoke when he showed up at the house. His suitcase was untouched except for one discarded set of clothes he’d worn the day before lying next to it.

Stiles looked at his best friend’s face, swallowing heavily and then looking away, moving to start gathering the books off his bed. “What does it look like?” he asked very quietly. Scott was smart. Smarter than most people even gave him credit for. That was something that had always annoyed Stiles. Granted, Scott didn’t tend to make the highest grades in the class, but the guy was bright.

“It looks like you've got an arsenal in your motel room.” Scott glanced around taking everything in, the smell of smoke and alcohol permeating in the room. He stepped forward noticing the strings along the wall, the pictures, the attacks, everything. He swallowed hard. Scott hadn't seen anything like this since the night Stiles had gone missing from his house.

Scott wasn't sure what to do or think at the moment. His friend owned weapons. Scott wasn't sure what shocked his most. He shifted running a tired hand over his face before sitting down on the edge of one of the beds. “Are we going to talk about this?” He asked motioning around them.

Stiles actually wasn't sure how to read Scott’s tone when he spoke, but he turned and looked at him as he took it all in. The sum total of Stiles’ life for the past year. He knew how bad it seemed. It was the exact reason he’d checked himself into a motel room instead of going home, aside from the Isaac reason. He watched the emotions flicker over Scott’s face. Fear. Uncertainty. Worry. Possibly disappointment mixed in there, too.

Stiles set his books on the desk in a pile, closing his eyes for a moment as he stood facing away from his best friend. They kind of didn't have a choice of whether or not to talk about it now, he thought. He forced himself to take a deep breath before moving and sitting down on the edge of the other bed so he and Scott were facing each other. “I’m not crazy,” he said softly. “It’s not…” He swallowed hard. “It’s not like before. And I’m not sick or anything either. I just had an MRI in October. And I swear to god I’m not possessed again.”

Scott arched an eyebrow, “I didn't think you were,” he said and he found that, that was the truth. “I think by now I’d be able to sense the difference,” Scott admitted, “But there is something different about you. Even your energy is different.” He was silent for a minute choosing his words carefully. “You left to get yourself together. That much I got from your video, but Stiles,” he glanced around, “How exactly is this getting things together? What have you been doing for this past year? And what really brought you back to Beacon Hills now?” He asked quietly wanting to know. No, needing to know.

Stiles was silent for a long moment and he shifted on the bed, leaning over to rest his elbows on his knees and folding his hands together. “I’m not surprised you sense the energy part,” he admitted. Actually he wasn't surprised by any of the questions. Scott just knew him too well. “I've been training.” He paused, looking down at the floor. “With Deaton’s sister. She’s been teaching me about…” He motioned around at the books he’d moved to the desk and the articles on the wall. “All of this.”

Scott pursed his lips. “Morell,” he stated simply. Scott wasn't exactly a fan of her methods, but she wasn't a bad person, not really. “Why? Why are you doing all of this. What are you...hunting now like Chris? I just,” Scott paused and let out a shaky breath, “I’m just trying to figure out why’d you’d leave to go crusading around the globe doing, I don’t even know. I have no idea what you've been doing.” He said seeming baffled by his own words. Stiles was his best friend and yet he barely knew the man sitting beside him.

Stiles flinched at that. Is that what he really thought? That he was hunting down other wolves? He rose to his feet. “I didn't exactly ask for any of it. Morrell showed up at my motel room in Van Nuys, literally the day after I got there. I don’t even know how she knew or how she found me. But she offered to train me and it wasn't like I had an actual plan, okay?” His stomach hurt at the look on Scott’s face, like he’d betrayed him. “There’s a lot of stuff out there, Scott. A lot of stuff you have no idea about. Stuff that could show up here in Beacon Hills at any time. That’s what I've been doing. Traveling with Morrell and learning how to do the things that she and Deaton do. And yeah, I have weapons. I know how to use them. I know how to defend myself now.”

Scott stood up and walked around the room slowly taking a closer look at things. “You haven’t answered my question,” he said quietly. “Why? Is it because of what happened before you left? Is it because of,” he took a deep breath, “Allison? I mean did you feel you needed to learn more about this stuff because of what happened with her?” He asked trying to understand what had made his friend change so much.

Hearing Allison’s name from Scott made him shut his eyes and he turned away, raking a hand through his hair. “Yeah. Yeah, maybe. I think at first I thought maybe there was something Morrell could teach me that…” He swallowed hard. “Some way to bring her back.” Now he knew there wasn't. Or if there was, he hadn't found it yet. “If there is, I don’t know it.” His voice was less controlled than he wanted it to be. It was always less controlled when it came to anything related to Allison. “And then it felt like...I don’t know, like maybe I could just.”

Stiles drew in a breath and shook his head. “Like maybe if I just knew everything there was to know, maybe nothing like that would ever happen again.”

Scott didn't really care that Stiles was different, he just didn't understand why his friend felt the need to keep this stuff a secret. Why hadn't he been honest from the beginning? Scott swallowed heavily as he took a step towards his best friend and rested a hand against his shoulder. “I get that. Trust me I never want anything like that to happen again either.”

He squeezed Stiles’ shoulder gently, “But for the record Allison would never want you to do something like that.” He told Stiles quietly. “As much as I want her everybody does. That wouldn't be right.” Scott dropped his hand and glanced down suddenly feeling incredibly tired.

“What happened to her isn’t right,” Stiles responded, swallowing hard. He moved over to his suitcase and stuffed the clothes from yesterday inside. His chest tightened at his words and shut his eyes for a moment. Sometimes he wished that just once in awhile Scott wasn't so damned sincere. That he would just act like an asshole so that it would make things easier. But Scott was as far from being an asshole as Stiles was from growing wings and flying himself to another planet.

Scott followed Stiles with his eyes before walking back over to the bed and sitting down slowly. “Stiles I don’t care that you've been training. I don’t care that you've got weapons lying around your room or that you've apparently started smoking.” He moistened his throat, “What I care about is you. And dude, you’re not okay...or if this is okay then I’d hate to see not okay.”

“I don’t know what to say to that,” Stiles admitted. “This is how I work. Do you get why I didn't want to stay at the house now?” He turned to look at Scott. “If my dad sees all this stuff, he’s going to think I've literally lost my mind. Again. Or that I’m possessed. Which can’t even happen again, for the record.”

Scott sighed, his eyes still on Stiles. “Dude you could tell me that you want to go out and,” he paused searching for words, “hunt vampires like Buffy the vampire slayer and I’d have your back. How could you not know that? I've always had your back, this shit,” he motioned around the room again, “Isn't going to change that. But you pulling away from us...I can’t be there if you won’t let me.” He stated quietly, his chest tight.

Stiles swallowed heavily at Scott’s words. At the hurt expression on his face. He hated that he’d been the one to put it there. “I have hunted vampires.” His voice grew quieter. He’d also nearly been killed by one. “They’re real, and they’re nasty. And I’m really hoping none of them show up here.”

Scott watched Stiles for a minute and shook his head. “You should have never left,” he said quietly. “We are your family and the fact that you think any of us would judge you or think you’re crazy shows how different you are.” He held up a hand, “And that’s an observation not a judgment. If you explain this to them like you did to me, they might not understand it all because I don’t, but they’d still love and support you.” Scott said with a frown.

“I am different,” Stiles agreed quietly. “I’m a lot different. I’m not useless anymore. I’m not a liability anymore.” He wasn't weak like he used to be.

He looked down. “There’s a lot of stuff, Scott. A lot. I've done things and seen things that --” He rubbed a hand over his face. “Stuff that would make you change your mind about that.” He knew that for sure. There was no doubt in his mind.

Anger flashed in Scott’s eyes and he took a step forward pointing at Stiles. “You were never useless,” he snapped, his voice hard. “You’re the only person who ever thought that.” Scott shook his head frustrated with his best friend’s words. “You have always fought by my side, jumped into danger without a second thought.” Scott shifted on his feet and pointed at the weapons and books, “You think this makes you what stronger? A hero? One of the good guys?” He shook his head.

“That’s who you've always been. You,” his words died off and Scott shook his head. “You don’t see what I see, what I've always seen. You value yourself so much less than everyone else does. You don’t realize how important you are to me, to the pack. When you left everything changed. And it’s never going to be the way it was and I can accept that, but you need to realize that no matter what version of Stiles you are; the scrawny kid I grew up with and love, or this new version that I don’t really know, you’ll always be important to me and to the pack. Because of who you are not what you bring to the table. And I’m a little pissed off that you can’t see that.” Scott admitted honestly.

Stiles stared at Scott for a long moment, heart beating a little harder in his chest. He didn't know how to even begin to respond to that in any calm, rational way. Not when his eyes were already burning with tears. He swallowed heavily. “Maybe I wasn't useless,” he said softly. “But I was the weakest link in the pack, and you have to know that’s true. I didn't know how to fight. I didn't know how to take care of myself or defend myself against Peter Hale or Gerard Argent or --” His jaw tensed, but it wasn't from anger. It was because he was trying very hard not to start crying.

“We did that ritual, Scott, and it wasn't you that thing went after. It wasn't Allison. It came after me. After my mind. Because you guys were strong enough not to let it in. I wasn't. And I killed people. A lot of people. Allison is dead because of me. Not you. Not Lydia. Not Isaac. Me, Scott. I did that. Okay? So yeah, I left, because I couldn't --” He shut his eyes. “I wasn't going to let that happen again. It wasn't worth the risk. And I’m sorry that everything changed. That it’s not ever going to be the same again. I know that.”

Scott sighed. “I don’t know how many different ways I can tell you that Allison wasn't your fault. The only person who blames you Stiles, is you.” He said simply his tone tired. “I've never thought of you as the weakest link. Ever. To me you were always the strongest because you kept me grounded. You've saved my life a dozen times over.” Scott ran a hand through his hair. He was silent for a minute. “Are you staying in Beacon Hills? Or are you just here to get rid of the Daevas?” He asked. Scott knew the question probably came out of the blue but it was another one of those things Scott needed to know.

Stiles knew that wasn't true, either. Isaac, at the least, blamed him. But he wasn't going to say that to Scott. He and Isaac were brothers now. It was the tiredness in his best friend’s voice that hurt the most. Like he was just so over everything and he just needed to sleep. He had no business going back to the house. Not now. Maybe never again. “I hadn't planned to come back now,” he told Scott, not looking at him. “So I don’t know. I wish I had an answer for you. I just don’t.” He turned away, moving over to the nightstand and picking up his pack of cigarettes.

Scott swallowed heavily, pain filling his chest at Stiles’ answer. He had asked. He couldn't blame anyone for his reaction, but himself. But god did it hurt. “Okay,” he said quietly. “We should start packing this stuff up. I’ll go see if the manager has a box or two to put all of this in.” He said, “I’ll be right back.” Scott paused halfway to the door, “Unless you have something to put it in which you probably do. Just tell me what you want me to pack up.” He said doing his best not to let the emotion show on his face, which was another thing Scott had gotten good at hiding.

Stiles sat down on the edge of the bed. “Scott, just...maybe it’s just a better idea if I stay here.” He looked up at him. “It’s probably just best for everyone at this point.”

“What am I supposed to tell my Mom when I come home without you?” He asked shaking his head. “We’re family Stiles. You belong with your family. But I can’t force you to see that. If you don’t want to come back with me, you don’t have to. But know this, I’m never going to stop trying to convince you that this person sitting in front of me isn't who you are. You belong with us and you might not see it right now, but eventually you will and when you do I’ll be here.” He walked over to where Stiles sat. “I will always be here.” He said his voice low, but hard. Scott swallowed hard and turned to leave.

Stiles shut his eyes. “Hit me,” he said.

Scott paused turning slowly his eyebrows arched, “Excuse me?”

Stiles rose to his feet. “Hit me,” he repeated. “You’re pissed off and upset, and that’s what guys are supposed to do when they’re pissed off at one another, so just hit me and get over with.”

Scott shook his head, “I’m not just some guy and it’s not what I do. If you’re looking for a fight go somewhere else. I am angry, but I’m angry that you can’t see how incredibly self-destructive this path is. I’m angry because I’m worried about my best friend. But I also love you and I’m glad you’re back, genuinely.” Scott sighed, “But I’m not going to be that guy. I’ll never be that guy. I’ll see you later.” He said quietly heading for the door again.

Stiles opened his mouth to respond, to tell him that that wasn't what he’d meant. He knew Scott could never be that guy. Hot tears stung his eyes, but he didn't try to stop him from leaving this time. He watched the door close behind Scott and he sank down onto the edge of the bed once more, flopping back onto it and squeezing his eyes shut tightly. He should never have come back here at all.


Stiles had spent the rest of the morning after Scott left, researching more on daevas and how they were summoned. He couldn't believe that he’d forgotten to tell Scott what he’d found after he’d caught sight of Scott’s mom that morning. The drive had been too short to get into it, and his mind too distracted. And then even more distracted by the gigantic argument -- if you could even call it an argument -- with Scott at the motel.

He’d finished off his pack of cigarettes and then gone out to the preserve, to the Nemeton again, this time spending more time looking at the rest of the trees and plants nearby. The area wasn't healthy in general, but the immediate circumference of the Nemeton was particularly distressed. Definitely not a good thing. And he’d found a few drops of dried blood on an old oak just a few feet away. Whatever had happened there had been bad. And he had a disturbing feeling that he knew what it was, which meant it really wasn't good.

There was never anything good about blood sacrifices.

Leaving the woods behind, he’d climbed behind the wheel of his jeep, intending to go back to the motel and found himself driving to the opposite side of town instead after seeing the small package in the backseat of his jeep. Cora’s birthday present. He’d meant to give it to her the night before, on her actual birthday, and forgotten.

And maybe he just needed to talk to her. Maybe talking to her would help him sort out some of the thoughts rattling around in his mind. It usually did, even if it had been a long time since he’d actually talked to her. He parked his jeep in the parking lot of the Hale’s apartment building and grabbed the package. He hoped Derek wasn't there because with his abrupt exit the previous night -- along with Lydia of course -- he had the distinct impression that he wasn't very happy about Stiles’ sudden reappearance in Beacon Hills. He didn't blame him, really, but if he could keep the awkward and uncomfortable moments of the day down to two, that would be good.

He took the stairs two at a time all the way up to Derek’s loft because other than hiking through the preserve, he hadn't had his daily exercise the last two days. It wasn't a routine he was willing to fall behind in. Too much was at stake if he let himself slip at all.

Reaching out he knocked on the door to the loft. Don’t be Derek. Don’t be Derek. Don’t be Derek, he thought, waiting.


It was early afternoon and Lydia’s Saturday had been incredibly unproductive and a mass of ridiculously mixed emotions. She sat on the edge of Derek’s bed clad in one of his t-shirts as she used a towel to dry her hair. Lydia glanced toward the open bathroom door and sighed, “Remind me again how a bath and meditation is going to calm me down?” she called out to him.

Derek wrapped a towel around his waist as he spoke, “You said the bath was relaxing," he reminded her, "and the meditation will help you focus your thoughts. Mind and body both need to be relaxed to get rid of all that tension you’re carrying,” and it was a lot, more than she’d had in a while.

Lydia pursed her lips. She knew Derek was right; he never led her wrong when it came to stuff like this. She rolled her shoulders and closed her eyes taking a few deep breaths to try and calm herself down again. He was right the bath had helped. Lydia stood up and walked over to the small dresser. She glanced at herself in the mirror and ran her hand through her hair. Lydia was in the process of bringing the towel back up to her head when there was a loud knock on the door downstairs.

Lydia tilted her head to the side, “Derek, someone’s at the door,” she called out to him.

“I ordered lunch, there’s some in there for when Cora gets back too. Mexican,” he said lightly.

Lydia smiled. He was the perfect friend. Derek was always taking care of everyone, her included, and she actually let him, which was new for her. The only people who she actually let in anymore were Scott and Derek because she knew neither of them would hurt her. “I’ll go grab it,” she heard him mumble something about the money being on the dresser. She glanced over again and sure enough it was there.

Lydia grabbed the money and moved down the spiral staircase. She walked across the loft glancing down as she pulled open the door, “How much do we owe you?” She asked her eyes on the money and not the person at the door.

Stiles had heard footsteps approaching and he relaxed because the steps were definitely too light to be Derek’s. Thank God. He smiled as he heard her unlocking the door and then froze as it opened a second later to reveal Lydia, not Cora, standing there.

She was clad in an oversized shirt that was obviously Derek’s, and nothing but that, hair wet from a recent shower or bath. She was flipping through some money and asking how much they owed.

It all painted a very clear, very unexpected picture in Stiles’ mind. Stiles, who’d learned to be prepared for literally anything that could possibly happen, had now been caught off guard in Beacon Hills for the umpteenth time in just over 24 hours.


Instantly he took a step back, away from the doorway, heart beating a little harder in his chest. She and Derek were together. Danny had said that Lydia and Derek had become good friends, but he’d left out the rest, if he even knew it. He probably didn't. Half a dozen emotions tore through him at seeing her, at the realization he’d come to. Not to mention he’d unintentionally broken his promise to Scott just by showing up where Lydia was. What was one more broken promise in the very long list? He thought tiredly.

“Sorry,” he said, voice hushed when she finally looked up. “I didn’t --” He shook his head, taking another step back.

Lydia sucked in a sharp breath at the sight of Stiles standing in front of her and all in a rush it was like every emotion that she’d been feeling lately rushed through her. Seeing him, actually seeing him made her want to throw her arms around him and thank everything in the world that he was back and she hadn't expected to feel that way. But with that came him leaving, and the three weeks after that, that she could barely get out of bed so destroyed by the loss of Allison and him.

Her heartbeat slammed hard in her chest echoing in her ears. With the whirlwind of emotions going through her right then she wouldn't be surprised if she just passed out. Lydia opened her mouth, but before she could say anything the sound of Derek’s voice called from inside.

“Lydia what’s wrong?”

She opened her mouth again and still nothing, her eyes still pinned to Stiles. She heard the rush of footsteps and then there was a hand on her arm gently urging her to release the door.

Derek turned to face Stiles and he pursed his lips, “Why are you here?” He asked his tone calm, but the look in his eyes saying there better be a good reason.

Stiles couldn't take his eyes off her, either. At least not until Derek stepped up to the door and blocked her from his view. The look on his face definitely didn't scream Hey Stiles, welcome back. Of course not. It wasn't like they’d ever been friends.

Stiles looked down at the package in his hands and held it up, willing himself to remain calm and detached. “I forgot to give Cora her birthday present,” he said, glad when his voice came out controlled and even.

Derek’s jaw clenched, but he took the gift, “I’ll make sure to give it to her, you can go.” He said his eyebrows moving as he glanced toward the hallway.

The sound of Derek telling Stiles to go snapped Lydia out of her stupor. She reached up curling a hand around his bicep, “Derek,” she said softly.

He glanced over his shoulder at Lydia studying her expression and heartbeat. He angled his head to the side, “You’re sure?” He asked his voice low, not needing anymore words to understand what she wanted.

Lydia swallowed hard, she wasn't sure at all, but she was going to have to face Stiles at some point and after actually seeing him, well the thought of him disappearing right away again sparked a hint of anxiety in her. “I’m sure.”

Derek covered her hand over his arm briefly giving it a slight squeeze before stepping back from the door. He glanced at Lydia, “I’m right upstairs,” he told her knowing he’d hear her if she needed him. He pressed a kiss to the side of her head trying to offer her some kind of comfort from the anxiety he knew she was feeling. He glanced back at Stiles sending him a look before heading for the spiral staircase again.

Stiles couldn't really help the resigned feeling that had settled upon him in the very short moments that had passed between Derek telling him to take a hike and disappearing back upstairs with a warning look. His own heart was beating too fast in his chest and he drew in a breath and let it out slowly in an attempt to calm his rattled nerves.

“I didn't know you were going to be here,” he tried to explain. “If I’d known, I wouldn't have just shown up.”

Lydia nodded. “It’s okay,” she said doing her best to keep her voice even and her heartbeat steady. She shifted awkwardly before stepping away from the door giving him room to come inside if he wanted to. “Did you want to-” the words trailed off and Lydia’s heartbeat was beating erratically again as she bit her bottom lip.

Stiles swallowed heavily, then shook his head. “No,” he said quietly. “I just -- I just came to drop off the gift for Cora, I don’t think…” God he hadn't stammered like this for ages. It would be Lydia Martin who reduced him to that again.

Lydia pursed her lips a spark of anger igniting in her chest. “Of course, gifts those are your things right?” She asked eyebrow arched, the anger a much more familiar feeling than the pain she’d been feeling seconds before. “I didn't think you delivered those in person, guess I just didn't make the cut of people who get face time.” She replied in reference to the gifts, flowers and other things he'd sent to everyone over the past year for various occasions.

Stiles winced involuntarily, looking down. “It’s not like that,” he said quietly, chest tightening painfully.

“No?” Lydia asked crossing her arms over her chest. “Tell me Stiles, what’s it like then?” Her fear and anxiety were fading by the second as anger replaced it. He’d left her. She loved him, was trying to be there for him and he left her without a goodbye. Without even a note, like she wasn't important enough to even be considered. Just like Jackson had left her.

Stiles was silent for a long moment. He was more than familiar with Lydia Martin’s brand of anger and he knew she was pissed. She had every right to be pissed. “I didn't intend to come back. It’s not like I came back for Cora’s birthday,” he told her honestly. “It just happened to be now. I wasn't picking and choosing.”

His words made Lydia’s chest tighten. “Of course you didn't.” She pursed her lips. “You know I tried to tell Scott once that you were never coming was the only fight we had this past year. His faith in unwavering. But I knew,” it was the truth. Something had happened right before she stopped feeling her connection to Stiles, she wasn't sure what, but when that connection broke it was almost like he’d decided he wasn't coming back. Or he didn't want to. Lydia didn't know.

“I knew you’d never step foot in this town again unless you had to. I felt it. That decision...the severing of ties,” her heart clenched. “And yet here you are. These Daevas must be pretty bad if they actually made you come back,” Lydia told him with an arched eyebrow, “Or maybe it’s just your excuse.”

Stiles wanted to step back. To walk away. But he couldn't get his feet to move. “I didn't say that. That I was never coming back. I just meant I hadn't intended to come back now.” That much was the truth, even if he wasn't sure when he would have come back. Maybe she was right. Maybe he wouldn't have come back at all if it wasn't for the daevas. Her feelings were always right.

Stiles started to tell her that yes, the daevas were definitely bad news, but her next comment made him pause. “My excuse for what?” he asked uncertainly, not sure what she was getting at.

Lydia watched him for a minute. He had seemed surprised by her words, but she remembered what she felt. She’d cried herself to sleep for three days after that. It wasn't something she’d easily forget. But by the look of it, it had been a completely unconscious decision. “For coming back because maybe you missed your family as much as they missed you.” She told him simply, arms still crossed over her chest.

Stiles tried to read her expression and he looked down at the floor for a moment. “Lydia, it’s never been about whether I missed anyone or not,” Stiles said softly. “I missed everyone, every single day.”

“So because you missed everyone that excuses you taking off like some kind of bandit in the early morning hours without telling the people who care about you?” Lydia made her mouth into the shape of an ‘O’ “Oh wait, that’s right I forgot, you did tell Scott, my mistake.” She said with an arched eyebrow.

Stiles sighed. “I didn't say that either.” There was no anger in his voice. If she was looking for him to try and defend his actions or try to get her to accept an apology or to fight with her, she was going to be disappointed. “What would have happened if I’d told you, Lydia?” He wondered if she even knew. He sure as hell did. It was the same reason he’d left a video for Scott instead of telling him in person.

Lydia knew exactly what would have happened and she didn't hesitate in her answer. “I would have given you a reason to stay or if you were dead set on leaving, I would have gone with you.” She replied matter-of-factly. “I would have left Beacon Hills and gone with you. So you weren't alone, so I wasn't alone. It would have been selfish and horrible to leave Scott behind by himself with the rest of the pack giving him one more person to lose, but I would have for you.” Lydia met his gaze. The words were true. But they no longer held true. She would not take that kind of leap ever again and definitely not for him.

“Exactly,” Stiles said quietly. He gazed at her for a long moment, guilt heavy on his shoulders. “I’m sorry I hurt you. I’m sorry that I hurt anyone.” That was true, too. “Scott needed you. The pack needed you.” He’d needed her, too, but he didn't say that. Couldn't say that. He’d worked so hard to get to the point where he didn't need anyone and now it all felt like it was crumbling around him. He rubbed the back of his neck, shaking his head slightly. “And you needed them.”

“You have no idea what I needed!” Lydia yelled, her anger combining with her grief. Lydia had needed him. She could feel the heaviness of emotions building inside of her, making things including her feelings more potent and it felt like they were suffocating her. “If you did you never would have left.” Her voice was loud and angry, her hand shaking as she jabbed it in his direction.

Stiles flinched at the intensity of the anger in her voice, in her eyes, even if he knew he deserved every bit of it and then some. He took a step back in an almost involuntary reaction as the guilt threatened to choke off his air supply with its force. He rubbed his hands over his face, feeling sick and defeated.

“We all lost her, we all did! And then we had to lose you too! So don’t tell me what I needed or what Scott needed or anyone else, because you don’t-” Her words broke off as her breathing picked up speed, confusion filling her face. Lydia's heart felt like it was going to break right out of her chest as a rush of guilt filled her knocking the wind out of her and making her stumble back a couple of steps. But it wasn't her's was Stiles'. Lydia could feel the moisture in her eyes as she tried to get a handle on whatever was happening inside of her. It felt like the emotions inside of her were trying to burst free from her chest.

When she stopped and stumbled backwards something inside of Stiles shifted. Worry and fear replaced some of the other emotions he felt tearing at him. “Lydia?” There was a hint of alarm in his voice.

Lydia gasped her hand clutching her stomach. A wave of nausea hit her, but she didn't feel sick. Her chest felt tight and she stepped back again reaching for the closest piece of furniture to steady her body. She felt like she couldn't breathe. Lydia hadn't felt anything like this since the tunnels under Eichen House the night the Nogitsune had taken her and she was overwhelmed by the emotions and from the people who had died there. The pressure in her chest was building again and she heard feet pounding down the stairs right after Stiles said her name.

Lydia glanced up at Stiles as Derek called out to her from behind. She closed her eyes and when it felt like she was going to pass out she pushed back at the emotions building inside of her shoving them away from her body with a slight scream instead of holding them in.

Derek stopped halfway to her and clutched his chest, his steps faltering at the intense burst of anger and pain that hit him in waves. His chest constricted and it took him a minute to realize she was doing that. “Lydia stop.” He glanced across the room at Stiles. “Do something now!” He snapped as his senses were overwhelmed by a cascade of emotions.

Stiles was frozen in place, mostly because he didn't know what to do for her. He didn't know what the hell was happening. Then Derek was there, yelling at him to do something and he swallowed heavily. He wanted to yell back and demand what it was he was supposed to be doing because he was extremely confused. He reached out and grabbed Lydia by the arms, steadying her in place and wincing, shutting his eyes tightly as his head began to spin.

Lydia felt a spark from the hands on her arms and her heartbeat fluttered. She opened her eyes and met Stiles' gaze. Lydia jerked back from him, “Don’t touch me!” She shouted. There was a grunt from behind her and Derek hit the ground, his knees thudding loudly on the floor before he fell forward pressing one hand to the floor and the other to his chest trying to push away the emotions she was unconsciously shoving at him.

The moment she ordered him to let go of her, Stiles did, stepping back, but not far, watching with wide eyes as Derek dropped down to the ground in apparent pain. It clicked then, in his mind, what was happening. He vaguely remembered reading about it months ago even if there weren't really any other documented cases of it happening.

Lydia glanced at Stiles and then Derek confusion on her face.

Derek grunted “Talk,” his voice was strained, “Calm down, fuck.” He glanced down.

“What’s happening?” Lydia asked panic taking precedence inside of her, the other emotions fading away once she was focused on only one thing. Her chest finally loosened enough for her to take a breath.

Derek rolled onto his back and stared at the ceiling once he felt the crushing weight lift off his chest. He was silent for a minute, “Well fuck.”

Lydia blinked her gaze shifting to Stiles. “You don’t know what we went through, is what I was trying to say,” she said finally which was what she’d been trying to say before she had a nervous breakdown. Lydia swallowed hard. “What just happened?”

Stiles swallowed heavily, staring at her, face a little paler than it had been moments before. “Your powers are expanding,” he said after a few seconds. His gaze flickered down to Derek and then back at Lydia. “Whatever you were just feeling…” He hesitated. “You projected it onto Derek.” Possibly the rest of the wolves, too, but he wasn't sure. He didn't know if it was a distance thing or if it was because she was so connected to the pack that she was able to affect them. He pulled his phone out of his pocket, heart beating a little more quickly in his chest as he sent a message to Scott.

Did anything weird just happen for you? he typed out quickly.

A look of horror crossed Lydia’s face at Stiles words, “No,” she whispered paling slightly. She moved over to Derek kneeling down, guilt filling her chest. Derek's cell phone rang and then Lydia’s. Stiles’ was next, his phone vibrating and then ringing shrilly in his hand.

Stiles grimaced and pressed his phone to his ear. “Scott? You okay?” The fact that he’d answered that quickly told him the answer to the question if it was a distance thing or a pack thing. He forced himself to take a deep breath to calm his own rattled nerves because someone was going to have to stay calm. It had to be him.

Scott was breathing heavy gripping his chest as his Mom said something in the background. He could hear the fear in her voice and he swallowed hard. “What the hell was that. Your dad just called and told me Isaac went down the same time as me in the sheriff’s station. What’s going on is it the daevas?” He asked confused about how that would even happen. But Jesus a few minutes ago he thought he’d been dying a slow painful death by emotions.

Scott paused, emotions…“Oh god,” he whispered, “I have to call Derek,” he said as panic hit him. Emotions were all Lydia.

“Okay, no, it wasn't the daevas. Lydia and Derek are okay.” As okay as they could be anyway. He hesitated, looking over at the couple on the floor and taking a few steps away. “Lydia’s powers are...getting stronger.” He rubbed a hand over his face, knowing Scott wasn't going to be happy that he was around Lydia. “But you might want to check on the others and make sure they’re all okay.” Christ, what if one of them had been driving? Or doing something potentially dangerous? This could have a really bad effect on everyone.

Scott was quiet for a minute his fist clutching at his side. “Why are you with Derek and Lydia? And what exactly caused this little expansion of power?” He asked his voice angry though it was probably just left over from the hurricane of emotions that almost killed him. Maybe he was being dramatic but Jesus if he never felt anything again it would be too soon. “You know what no. I’m going to go make sure everyone is okay. Tell Derek I’m bringing the pack to his apartment.” He said as he straightened up and sighed.

Stiles shut his eyes tiredly at the anger in Scott’s voice, but before he could explain, his friend cut him off. Today, he thought, is utter shit. “I’ll tell him,” he said dully, hanging up a moment later before turning to look at Derek and Lydia, still sitting on the floor. “Scott says he’s rounding everyone up and coming over. You might want to order pizza or something.”

Lydia frowned, “Why?” She shifted and stood holding a hand out to Derek.

Derek winced. He’d been afraid of that. He took it and sighed, “Lydia,” he paused and scratched the back of his head. He glanced at Stiles as she arched an eyebrow at him. “I think this might have been kind of like your scream...where we all hear it,” he told her keeping his voice gentle.

Lydia’s chest tightened and she glanced at Stiles, “Is that true? Did they all...feel what I felt?” She asked a hint of panic in her voice.

Stiles’ chest tightened at the fear in her eyes when she looked at him. He held his hands up, palms toward her. “Take a deep breath,” he said quietly. “It means you’re getting stronger and that’s a good thing. Everyone’s obviously okay or Scott would have felt it otherwise. You all would have.” His voice was gentle, too.

Lydia just stared at him, “And that makes it okay? What-” she paused letting the words die on her lips. What happened to the boy who always knew how to comfort her fears? Who always knew how to make the bad disappear? She was still looking at him for that and the realization hit her hard all at once. Loss resonated within her.

Derek felt the shift in her emotions and he swallowed hard and reached out to her, “Lydia,”

She shook her head and pulled away from him. “I need a minute,” she told him, “You should call Cora and check on her.” She told him knowing Derek would have done it without her words, but giving him something to do so he wouldn't feel like he needed to follow her.

Lydia turned and moved towards the spiral staircase. Derek sighed as he watched her go and then turned to face Stiles.

Stiles watched her go, chest tightening and guilt flickering over his face momentarily before he shifted his attention back to the werewolf in front of him. The man didn't look happy. Then again, he’d never seen Derek Hale look happy, so he supposed that was nothing new, really. “Let me have it,” he said after a moment, pursing his lips.

Derek was quiet for a minute as he sized Stiles up. There was obviously a lot different about him, but there was also quite a bit that was the same. He could clearly sense the guilt coming from him even if it was faint meaning he was trying to either hide it or push it aside. He crossed his arms over his chest as he spoke.

“I don’t think you’re a bad guy, Stiles. I never have, even if it didn't always seem like that.” He paused giving him a moment to digest that, “And I think you've have a rough year even since before you left.” He added. “But you did leave. You made that choice and I’m not saying it was right or wrong because no one can know that, but you,” he pointed out.

“But time didn't just stop here when you left. And what you left behind, the people, your family, they were broken. Some of them still are.” He said quietly. “But the entire pack has had close to a year to mend, to work on rebuilding their lives, something you would have absolutely been a part of if you were here. But you weren't.” He said taking a step closer.

“And if you come back now, worm your way in and leave again...if you break the people I care about even unintentionally we’re going to have a really big problem.” Scott, Cora, Lydia, the pack they were like his family and that’s something Derek hadn't had in a very long time. It was something he didn't want to lose.

“Be straight with Scott because he’s missed you since the second you left and I’m not sure how he’ll take you leaving again.” He told him knowing Scott never would. “And Lydia,” he pursed his lips, “She and Scott will never tell you what the first three weeks were like after you left. How she couldn't get out of bed or how the only thing that kept Scott functioning was trying to help Lydia.” his chest tightened.

“If you come back you better be damn sure you’re never leaving again. You’re a part of this pack and you probably shouldn't have left to begin with. We grieve together.” He told him matter-of-factly knowing that him saying those words would probably surprise Stiles. But then again there was a lot that had changed with Derek over the course of the past year as well.

That wasn't what Stiles had expected from Derek. He’d half expected the man to punch him in the face or slam him into a wall or something. Actually that would have felt better than the words he spoke. “I didn't assume that time had stopped. I never once thought that would be true.” He was more than aware of the things that had been happening to his friends. His family. And contrary to popular belief, he wasn't really that self-centered. He’d left so that they could move on. So that they could heal. His reappearance had reopened a wound that hadn't even fully closed yet, and maybe he shouldn't have come back, but the magnetic pull he’d felt toward Beacon Hills after his dream hadn't left him much choice.

“I’m not planning to worm my way in,” he said honestly. He hadn't come back for that, even if he felt them all working their way into his heart and mind and soul again in ways he hadn't intended. In ways he hadn't wanted. “I came back to help, Derek. Because the thing that’s here…”

Stiles looked away, out the window. “It’s not like anything we've ever dealt with before.” That wasn't entirely true. It shared a lot of striking similarities to the Nogitsune, but he was afraid to utter that out loud. What does everyone have and no one can lose? A shadow. He squeezed his eyes shut for a moment and exhaled, shoving the memory out of his head the best that he could. “I might be the world’s biggest asshole, and maybe I’m a shitty friend, but I still don’t want any of you to get hurt, or worse.” And if there was a way for him to stop that from happening, any way to stop that from happening, he was damn sure going to do it. He owed them that much.

Derek shook his head, “No, what you are is an idiot,” he took another step closer to Stiles, “You should be doing everything in your power to worm your way back in.” He said his voice angry, “You should be down on your fucking knees thanking everything and anything that you have people who love you the way the people in Beacon Hills do.” He snapped.

“You should be apologizing and figuring out what it would take to mend the relationships you've built because every single one of the people you left behind still loves you,” he said his voice lower now, not wanting Lydia to hear him talking. “You don’t realize how fucking lucky you are, how some people would give anything for the kind of connections you have. The family and friends...and that’s what worries me. That you can’t see it’s worth fighting for.”

He pointed to the stairs, “She is worth fighting for. Scott...your parents this pack. It’s all worth fighting for and if somehow you leaving here made you lose sight of that then there is something fundamentally wrong.” he said shaking his head and stepping back running a hand down his neck.

Stiles stared out the window as Derek spoke, his words harsh and angry. He swallowed heavily at the accusations, listening without interrupting as the older man spoke. He forced himself to take a deep breath, trying to calm the swell of emotions he was feeling. “You've got it all backwards, Derek,” he said after a long moment. “You think I left because I didn't think the people I love are worth fighting for? Is that what you really think?” He turned his head and looked at him, his voice deadly calm and quiet.

“Because I left for the exact opposite reason.” He turned, heading for the door and not giving Derek a chance to respond. He paused when he reached the door, jaw tightening a little bit. “You don’t know me. You've never known me.” He stepped out of the apartment and slammed the door shut behind him, heading down the stairs even as he reached into his pocket for his cigarettes with shaking hands.

Lydia came downstairs hesitantly when she heard the door slam. She glanced at the door than at Derek. “He left?” She asked not entirely sure why disappointment filled her chest. Of course he left. He hadn't wanted to stick around in the beginning.

“He’s still here. He’s just outside.” Derek’s jaw was tense, but he exhaled slowly and turned to look at her. “Are you okay?”

Lydia nodded even as tears gathered in her eyes. “Yeah,” she was quiet for a minute her heart clenching in her chest. “I still love him,” she whispered. Lydia didn't think she’d ever said the words out loud before not to anyone who wasn't Scott even after all this time, but after the last half hour it was abundantly clear. She was pissed and she didn't trust him and honestly she didn't really like whoever this person he had become was. But...she loved him and that wasn't going to change, which only made it all hurt that much more.

Derek's expression shifted to concern as he moved over to stand in front of her, reaching out and pulling her into his arms. “I know,” he said quietly.

“I’m really sorry about earlier. I didn't mean--you shouldn't have had to feel that.” Lydia told him as she wrapped her arms around him. She was feeling so out of control and guilty and what she wanted she couldn't have. Ever since Stiles had left her emotions had been all over the place, the balance she'd had once was gone and even with Scott and Derek's help over the past year, Lydia was still emotionally unstable at times.

Lydia felt like Stiles didn't even know her anymore and all she wanted was for him to hold her and tell her everything was going to be okay like he used to. Maybe it was a selfish thought, but she couldn't help it. Lydia was so lost in her own thoughts she didn't even realize she had started crying, the sound carrying through the room, everything else silent around them.

Derek sighed softly, rubbing her back and holding her close as she cried. “It’s not your fault,” he told her, resting his chin on top of her head. One thing was for sure. Whether Stiles intended to stay in Beacon Hills or not, he wasn't leaving until he either told Derek where to look for more information on banshee abilities, or he told them every single thing he knew.

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