June 5, 2014

Drove Through Ghosts To Get Here 8/32

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: 8/32
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 | Five | Six | Seven |

Chapter 8

Scott held the flashlight in his hand despite the fact that the sun hadn’t quite set yet. It was just in case they were out there longer than expected, which occasionally tended to happen. He glanced over at his best friend as they moved deeper into the woods. “What are we looking for again?” He asked glancing forward again so he could see where they were going.

“Anything, really. Dad said they found four bodies and one was right next to the Nemeton.” Stiles was holding onto a flashlight as well. He had a backpack of other supplies strapped to his back. He glanced at Scott sideways as they walked. “She’s okay, right?” His voice was quiet. “Really actually okay?”

Scott arched an eyebrow as he glanced back at Stiles, his brows drawn together. “Who?” He asked as he took a deep breath and expanded his senses pushing them outward and feeling the woods for different energies.

“Lydia.” He looked ahead once more as they walked, keeping his eyes open in case any shadows started moving. If that happened, they weren’t going to have much time to prepare and defend themselves. He looked down at his cell phone, growing more unsettled by Morrell not returning his call. But there were no new voicemails or text messages.

Scott nodded, he should have known that’s what his friend meant, but honestly he was a little distracted not only by their current predicament, but by the conversation he’d overheard earlier in the day between Isaac and Stiles. He cleared his throat and nodded, “Yeah, Mom says she’s going to be fine the claw marks aren’t too deep, but you know it’s on her stomach so it’s painful,” he explained.

Stiles swallowed heavily, nodding. He chewed on his lower lip, wishing they’d gotten an earlier start to this adventure because they still had about a mile and a half long walk to the Nemeton and the sun was in the process of setting. If they weren’t home by the time his dad got home, the sheriff was likely going to freak out. He paused, reaching out and gripping onto Scott’s arm. “What’s going on?”

Scott glanced at Stiles and pursed his lips. He was going to wait until they were home to bring it up, but he supposed now was as good a time as any. “I overheard you and Isaac talking earlier this morning.” He said quietly. “Why didn’t you tell me?” He asked motioning for Stiles to continue walking with him.

Stiles winced at that. He should have realized that since Scott was in the house and he had super werewolf hearing, he would have overheard that conversation. He sighed as they started walking again. “Which part?” he asked after a moment.

Scott had the decency to send his friend a sheepish look, “I don’t know the whole thing maybe? I definitely caught the part where Isaac apologized for asking you to leave,” he told his friend

Stiles was quiet for a few moments as they walked. “He was hurting.” His voice was very quiet. “And he lashed out. It happens.”

Scott heard a sound to his left and focused his eyes in the area, tilting his head to the side. A rabbit. He glanced back at Stiles his eyes still glowing a bright red. “I know. I’m not angry.” He said simply. “I would have been if I knew then, but now...I’m just not.” He was silent for a minute as they continued to walk further into the woods to the nemeton. “I just wish you would have mentioned that before taking off.”

“So you could have been angry with Isaac and me both?” It wasn’t an accusing statement. Just quiet, and matter-of-fact. “What good would that have really done, Scott? Isaac needed you. You needed him.” And for Stiles nine out of ten times it boiled down to what Scott or his dad or Lydia needed. Or what he thought they did anyway.

Scott shook his head, “We needed you,” he told his friend, his eyes taking in their surroundings. “I know it’s over and done with now, and again, not angry, but I need you to know, that we need you. We always have.” He told Stiles quietly.

Stiles was quiet for a few yards as he considered his words carefully. “I know that now,” he admitted softly. “But when I left, I was -- my head was a mess, Scott. I literally didn’t even know which way was up anymore.”

Scott nodded, “I know,” he said quietly. “We would have helped you.” He added before sighing, “I’m sorry I know what’s done is done. And you’re back now...You know just forget I said anything.” Scott couldn’t seem to find the right words to say what he wanted to say and the last thing he wanted to do was make Stiles feel bad.

“No,” Stiles said quietly, shaking his head. “I’m not going to just forget about it. Because if we’re -- if anything’s ever gonna be okay again, then we need to talk it through. That’s kind of a necessary step. We’ve still got awhile to go, so…” He glanced at Scott sideways. “Talk to me. Tell me what’s on your mind, Scott. Whatever it is...I can handle it.”

Scott glanced at Stiles out of the corner of his eye, “You’ve been here for a couple of days, and you’ve managed to fix issues I didn’t even realize I had.” Scott could see now how much the pack needed Stiles. “I guess I can’t help but wonder what would have happened if you’d stayed.”

“I wouldn’t have been able to fix anything, Scott,” Stiles said honestly. “And sometimes you just --” He hesitated. “Need a little guidance.” He glanced at Scott sideways. He drew in a breath and let it out slowly. “You would have eventually figured it out on your own.”

Scott shook his head, “You say that, but I’m not so sure. I think you would have been able to fix more than you think.” He told his friend and he truly believed that.

A hint of a smile touched Stiles' mouth at that. Scott had always had more faith in him than just about anyone else put together. Ever since they were kids. It was uncalled for considering the amount of times he’d gotten his best friend into terrible situations and dragged through massive amounts of trouble, but still his faith in Stiles had never wavered. “Maybe with Lydia,” he said quietly. “But I’m pretty sure if I’d gone up against Aiden before now you would have had to stop him from literally ripping out my throat because I’d have just mouthed off at the wrong time.”

Scott paused and turned to face Stiles. “Maybe, but had you stayed Aiden wouldn’t have been an issue the ways he’s been,” he told his friend matter-of-factly. Because Lydia and Derek most likely wouldn’t be nearly as close as they were now.

“Dude, Aiden’s been an issue since day one.” Stiles looked at Scott skeptically. “He’s always been a hot head.” Truthfully Stiles didn’t even hate the guy the way he used to. He wasn’t Stiles’ favorite person by a long shot, but he understood now what it was like to be so completely controlled by someone else that there were literally no choices available. At least no good choices.

Scott shifted the flashlight in his hand, “Yes, he’s always had issues, but never with Lydia. She was always the only reason he ever attempted to care about doing the right thing.” He added. “That changed. The only issue I’ve been having with him lately is his inability to let things go.”

“Yeah but that also means Lydia would probably still be seeing him. Which isn’t great either. I mean Derek and I aren’t actually friends, but he’s definitely a step up from Aiden.” He pursed his lips and sighed softly. “Scott, I’m sorry. I really am. I know I’ve caused a lot of damage all the way around. I see it in a lot of ways I didn’t before.” Like with Lydia. With Scott.

Scott studied Stiles to see if that was what he actually believed. He shook his head and sighed. “Sometimes I wonder with everything you see, everything you’re able to figure out, if there are some things that you just completely block out.” He said before shaking his head and starting to walk again. “You don’t need to apologize. You did what you thought was best for everyone; it’s what you always do. Your judgment isn’t infallible though and I hope this time you realize that what you might think is the best idea, isn’t.”

Stiles blinked at that comment, wondering what it was that Scott thought he’d missed. He followed until they were walking side-by-side once more. He knew his judgment wasn’t infallible. He’d always known that. Didn’t mean the remark didn’t sting just a little bit. He chewed his lower lip, itching for a cigarette he hadn’t even brought with him. “I know. And I made up my mind,” he said after a moment, shoving the anxiety that was pulling at him away. “I’m not leaving again. Not like that.” His voice was quiet.

Scott smiled, “I didn’t think you would,” he said lightly. “...I probably wouldn't have let you.” he added a hint of humor in his voice as he sent a sideways look at his best friend.

Stiles felt some of the anxiety drain away at Scott’s easy acceptance and rebuttal. “There may be times I have to go for a little while. I don’t think my training’s ever actually going to be over,” he admitted. “But I promise it won’t be like before.”

“What training? You still haven’t told me what’s going on, something I think I’ve actually been pretty patient about,” he added flicking on the flashlight, as daylight started slowly fading around them.

Stiles flipped his flashlight on too, feeling like he’d stepped back in time as the two of them trekked through the woods together the way they had a thousand times before. “Scott.” His voice was hushed, hesitant. “I’m sort of...like Deaton.”

Scott’s eyebrows drew up, “You’re training to be a vet?” He joked before sending his friend a serious look, “I have no idea what that means,” he told him as a slight rustling came from behind him.

Stiles snorted involuntarily. “No, dude. I’m training to be an emissary.” He grew still at the rustling, quickly turning toward the sound and shining his flashlight in the direction. He relaxed almost immediately. “Rabbit.”

Scott stared at Stiles, “Pushing aside the fact that rabbits tonight have a death wish,” he paused, “An emissary? For who?” He asked confused. He was under the impression that each pack had their own emissary so what pack--his thought process caught up and his eyes widened slightly. “My emissary?”

Stiles just looked at Scott with raised eyebrows, holding his breath and nodding ever-so-slightly, waiting for his best friend’s reaction.

Scott was quiet for a minute and then he grinned, “That means you can’t leave me. Or you’d be shirking your emissary duties.” He pointed out. “Your expression tells me you thought I wouldn’t like this idea.” He commented as he once again continued walking, not sensing anything around them.

“No,” Stiles assured him as he started walking again, too. “I guess I just...wasn’t sure how you would react.” He hadn’t taken the news very well himself. He still had a lot of doubts and fears about it. He wasn’t sure how the rest of the pack would react either. Traditionally the alpha of a pack was the only one who even knew the identity of the emissary. But Scott’s pack wasn’t exactly traditional. It never had been and probably never would be. Because not only were their humans in the pack, there was also a kitsune, and a banshee, and Scott himself wasn’t just an alpha. He was a true alpha.

“After what happened last night, I think it’s a good thing.” Scott said quietly. “You create a balance we haven’t had in a long time.” He admitted. They walked silently for a couple of minutes before he spoke again. “You should tell her.”

Stiles didn’t have to ask which her Scott was referring to. He swallowed heavily, nodding. “I will,” he said quietly. “How uh -- how much do you know about emissaries, Scott? What’s Deaton filled you in on?”

Scott shook his head, “Not much. All I really know is what Jennifer and Deucalion have mentioned in passing and then Deaton with his mountain ash and ability to sometimes be ninja like,” he joked lightly. “But yeah...not much. I don’t think anyone in the pack does. It’s something we should probably all sit down and talk about so they know if they need help with something they can come to you,” he told his friend his senses tuning into the nemeton as they got closer to the tree.

Stiles couldn’t help but grimace at both of those names that Scott mentioned. Talk about bad memories, he thought, rubbing the back of his neck. “Yeah, you’re probably right,” he agreed. “We’ll have to do that.” He felt an unsettling pull toward the tree stump, the way he always did anytime he was near it, and his mood instantly shifted to something more serious, more focused and less than enthusiastic. Sure enough, even from a few feet away he could see bloodstains on the ground by the nemeton, and a couple of steps closer showed the dried blood on the wood, as well.

Scott frowned, “I smell at least five different types of blood,” he said pausing and swallowing hard, “And one of them is definitely Lydia’s.” He said quietly with a frown. “How is that even possible?” He asked not sure what was happening. “She hasn’t been anywhere near the woods, she’s been with Derek.”

“That matches up with what Dad said,” Stiles murmured, looking at his best friend for a second before moving forward and squatting down beside the Nemeton, pausing and cocking his head as a pale pink bud on the ground caught his attention. He reached out and picked it up, staring at it. “Magic, Scott.”

Scott arched an eyebrow. “What is that?” he asked as he moved closer to his friend and bent down glancing at the object in his friend’s hand.

Stiles pursed his lips, and held it out to Scott so he could examine the flower. “Dittany of Crete.” He looked around to see if there was anything else out of place aside from the blood and the flower. “It’s a plant found in Greece. It’s used for spirit manifestation. Whoever’s doing this...they know what they’re doing. That combined with blood magic at a nemeton...” His eyes were troubled. “It’s not good.”

Scott wasn’t sure what to make of Stiles’ magical knowledge, but for now he was going to chalk it up to stuff he learned while he was away. But hopefully at some point he could sit down with Stiles and the pack and they can hash out what the hell he’d been up to for the past year. Scott hesitated before resting a palm against the nemeton. “So whose blood woke it up?” He asked.

“Technically? Ours,” he said grimly. He reached out and gently pulled Scott’s hand away from the tree worriedly. “But whoever’s summoning the daevas didn’t think it had enough power on its own so…” He rubbed his hand over his face. “I don’t know who the original sacrifice was. It may have been an animal. But the blood of a banshee on this?” He hooked his thumb at the nemeton. “Combined with that.” He pointed at the flower Scott was holding. “We’re in deep shit.”

Scott scratched the back of his neck. “That statement doesn’t fill me with warm and fuzzies, dude,” he frowned. “How much more powerful is Lydia’s blood then a regular sacrifice?” He asked quietly.

Stiles frowned, “And it wasn’t meant to,” he said ruefully. He raked a hand through his hair and rose to his feet. “A lot. It’s...a lot more powerful. A banshee’s a lot more connected to the entire scope of the universe than just about any other living being.

Scott listened closely and shifted on his feet. “Do we need to be worried about her sleeping...Do you think whoever it was will try again?” His chest tightened at the thought. He couldn’t let anything happen to Lydia. If he had to lock her in a room with the entire pack he would, but how do you protect someone from their own dreams?

Stiles lifted a shoulder, “I don’t know.” His voice was worried. He held his hand out to help Scott back to his feet. “This may have been enough to serve whatever purpose our mystery summoner was going for. But I don’t know.”

Scott took his hand and stood. “Well let’s hope it is. The pack won’t take too kindly to Lydia being a target.” He said with a sigh. He wasn’t happy about it either. Knowing she had gotten hurt at all brought him back to a place he didn’t like to go often...back to that night with Allison. Scott swallowed hard, shoving the thought back into the recess of his mind. “We should head back.”

Stiles glanced at Scott, “I’m gonna figure this out,” he said quietly. The thought of Lydia getting hurt made a tight ball of fear and anger tighten in his stomach and he looked down at the nemeton again. “Come on.” He turned, shining his flashlight directly ahead of them as he started to walk back the way they’d come.


Chris stood on the balcony of the Argent loft, flipping over the turkey burgers on the grill and then moving to lean against the railing. He heard the door to the apartment open and glanced over his shoulder, waiting for his dinner guest to arrive. Right on time, as always. It was almost strange to think that once upon a time, he and Derek Hale had hated one another. Had been violently opposed to everything the other stood for. But he supposed that time and circumstances had a way of turning everything and everyone on their heads. Forced them into situations that made them re-evaluate their entire lives.

It had happened so many times in the last three years, the ball initially set into motion by one Scott McCall. The crash course of events that had transpired had changed him so thoroughly, so completely, that sometimes he was certain he was an actual different person altogether. He certainly felt like one.

He lifted his hand in a wave as Derek approached the balcony. “Derek,” he greeted.

Derek nodding in greeting, “Chris,” he held a six pack of beer in his hand as he walked out onto the balcony. He set the pack down on the small table out there and shrugged out of his jacket hanging it on one of the chairs. If someone had told Derek a year ago that he’d be having weekly dinners with Chris Argent of all people he probably would have given them some kind of death glare and then ignored them all together.

But things had changed. He and Chris were no longer enemies, no longer fighting against each other, but instead fighting alongside each other to protect the people of Beacon Hills. The people they each cared about. “It smells good,” he commented as he reached for two beers, popped the caps off and walked over to Chris holding one out for him.

“Thanks.” He took the beer from the younger man and took a long drink, nodding. Cooking had run in the Argent family and was one of the very few things that he still appreciated from them. One of the few good things he’d learned from them. “How’s your week been?” he asked curiously. He wasn’t even sure when they’d mutually decided that Sunday evening was going to be a weekly dinner thing but it had been months now. They’d maybe missed two the entire time they’d been working together. No, not just working together. As they’d become friends.

Derek leaned against the railing and took a swig of his beer. “Hectic.” he summed up in one word. “Lydia won’t be able to make it to your regularly scheduled session this week. Maybe next week too, I’m not sure.” He said honestly before glancing out over the balcony. “How’d things go with that hunter friend of yours?”

Chris cocked his head at that, glancing over at Derek. “Is everything all right?” There was more than a hint of worry to his tone. He grimaced at the mention of his now former friend. “Not well, unfortunately. But I have a lot of contacts left to try.”

Derek didn’t miss the grimace on Chris’s face. He knew trying to change things in a world where hunters always thought one way was hard, but Chris was really trying. Derek was pretty sure it was in part to honor Allison and because he truly believed this way was better. “I’m not sure. Her dreams --nightmares they started to manifest the other night and I woke up to her screaming and bleeding.” He pursed his lips. “Daevas, the nemeton. Scott called and told me they found her blood on the nemeton.” He explained. “Which really just can’t be good. So...we’ll see what happens.” He said with a one armed shrug.

Chris blinked slowly at that, straightening up. “Daevas?” he echoed. “Are you certain?” He frowned deeply. “Is Lydia okay?” There was nothing about what Derek had just told him that made Chris feel reassured about whatever was going on.

Derek arched a brow at Chris’ tone. “Stiles certainly seems to think so and Lydia’s seen them.” Derek opened his mouth and paused. “For now yeah, the wounds weren’t too deep. I got the bleeding to stop pretty quick and Melissa stopped by this morning to check on her. No stitches.” He took another sip of his beer, “In the long run, I don’t know. I don’t know how it happened or why and that means I can’t fix it. So, I don’t know.” Derek held in a sigh. He didn’t particularly like not being able to fix things.

When Scott was upset he helped by giving him something to occupy his time. When some new pack or hunter made their way to town, he and the rest of the pack took care of it. But how do you fight something that can’t be seen? Or that Derek didn’t even really understand.

Chris watched him with concern for a long moment. “I’ll start searching the bestiary for information. I don’t know a lot about them. I just know they’re very rare. It takes a lot to summon one, let alone multiples.” His frown deepened and he took a drink of beer, moving back to the grill and flattening the burgers with the spatula and flipping them again. “So the dream that Lydia had that manifested was actually about the daevas?”

Whether it was connected or two separate things, it wasn’t good by any means.

Derek shook his head, “I can’t believe we didn’t ask you to check the bestiary,” he said slightly amused before focusing on his question. “It was. It’s not the first time either. The night of the earthquake she woke up violently from a similar dream.” Derek hesitated not sure if he should mention what else was in Lydia’s dream. “Lydia...she said,” he paused his grip tightened on his beer because he was afraid of upsetting Chris.

Chris' lips turned upwards just a little at the tone of Derek’s voice. “Violently how?” he asked, troubled by the fact that Lydia was having nightmares that were turning out to be real. Of course it wasn’t a surprise, really, because she was a banshee. But it still troubled him. Lydia had become like a second daughter in the last couple of years.

Derek rubbed his finger over his beer. “Violently like she almost got me in the face with an elbow,” he said before nodding. The last thing he wanted was to cause the man more pain. But it could be an important fact. She was in the first dream and it was because of her Lydia woke up. She wasn’t in the second dream and Lydia got hurt. Maybe that meant something. “She said Allison was in her first dream, that she was trying to save her and that’s when she woke up.” He told his friend quietly.

Chris turned to look at Derek at the mention of Allison, though. He searched the werewolf’s face, chest tightening. “But she wasn’t in the dream she had last night.” It wasn’t a question, really. If she had been, Derek would have mentioned that, too. He looked back down at the grill.

Derek nodded, “Correct. She was not in the second one. What if,” he closed his mouth, “This is going to sound crazy, but what if she did help her in the first nightmare? What if her presence in Lydia’s mind helped?”

Chris drew in a deep breath and let it out slowly as he considered that possibility. “I’d say we’ve both seen enough in our lives to know that very little actually sounds crazy, especially in a place like Beacon Hills. And especially not when Lydia’s a banshee.”

“I told Scott. Not about my theory, but about her being there. I wasn’t sure if it meant anything. They both hold onto that day still. And I thought because the anniversary was coming up...it wasn’t until her second nightmare that I thought of this. I’m not going to lie she scared the shit out of me,” he said before taking another swig of beer not even wondering why he admitted that. Over the past year Derek had told Chris about things that practically no one knew about him and vice versa. They confided in each other and it wasn’t even really that hard to trust the other man, which should have been weird. But it wasn’t.

Chris turned to look at him, leaning back against the railing and looking as calm as ever. “If anyone was going to play the role of a protector in the afterlife for Lydia, it would be Allison.” He knew how much his daughter loved the redhead. Like they’d been sisters. They may as well have been for as much time as they’d spent together in the entirely too short time they’d known each other. They’d been virtually inseparable. “And I’m sure it was frightening.” His voice was grim. “What are the plans for keeping her as safe as possible the next time she’s asleep?”

Derek glanced over the balcony again, “I dropped her off at Scott’s on my way here. She’s going to stay at the Stilinski’s.” He said not quite hiding the wince still remembering her not so favorable response to his words. She hadn’t exactly been thrilled about it, but she also didn’t seem too mad when he got her all set up there so that was something. “She’ll be safer there and if anything happens Melissa is a nurse.” Derek didn’t have the best record keeping people safe no matter how hard he tried.

Chris raised his eyebrows at that information. “I see.” He saw Derek’s reaction and reached out, patting his shoulder lightly before taking a pull from his beer. “Melissa and Michael will take good care of her. And Scott and Isaac of course.” He paused for a moment. “Has Stiles decided if he’s staying?” he asked quietly, thinking back to the painful conversation he’d had with the younger man two days before at the cemetery.

“I know they will, she’s a little...peeved with me though.” He explained. “I suppose I’m not used to her ire being directed at me,” he said with a grin and took a sip of his beer. “He’ll stay. He’s not going to leave again. He hasn’t said anything, but I’m sure he’s staying.” Derek said as he straightened up. “He’s actually back at his house, which is why she didn’t want to go there.” He explained.

Chris nodded at that, not really surprised. Lydia had rarely spoken to him about Stiles, but it wasn’t hard to see that she flinched anytime someone around mentioned the young man’s name. But he was relieved to hear Derek’s assessment about Stiles staying. He’d lost his daughter to death because of the Nogitsune, but Michael Stilinski had lost his son to his own burden of guilt. Guilt that wasn’t even his, really. Everything about the situation had been a tragedy. “I ran into Stiles Friday morning,” he admitted quietly. “He’d just gotten back into town.”

It was Derek’s turn to look over at Chris. “I didn’t realize,” he said his brows drawing together. “Where did you see him?” He asked curiously trying to figure out where they might have crossed paths.

Chris was silent for a brief moment before turning his head to meet Derek’s gaze. “At the cemetery. At Allison’s grave.” He pursed his lips before looking away once more.

Derek could sense Chris’ pain and he reached out and rested a hand on the older man’s shoulder. “I know I didn’t know Allison as well as everyone else and we didn't exactly get along, but I know she’d be incredibly proud of what you’re trying to do with the hunters and in general. That was always the kind of person she was, leaping into danger for the people she loved. For Scott, for you, Lydia.” He paused squeezing his arm gently.

Chris nodded. “It’s what she did,” he agreed quietly. “It’s what all of us do.” It was instinct at this point. The urge to protect. To defend, whether it be one another or to keep anyone from becoming a form of collateral damage.

Derek gave him another squeeze before dropping his hand and taking a sip of his beer. “Did you two talk?” He asked quietly.

Chris nodded, taking a drink, as well. “Briefly, yes. He didn’t look like he was doing very well.” He glanced at Derek sideways and moved back to the grill to check on the burgers.

“That’s because he’s not.” Derek said matter-of-factly, “It’s his own fault,” he paused, “I didn’t mean that,” he amended with a sigh. “I just meant he doesn’t understand how important he is. He left to protect the people he cared about, but all it did was make things worse for them and he doesn’t see that. He doesn’t get he needs them to heal as much as they need him.” He explained.

Derek didn’t have a problem with Stiles...okay Derek did have a problem with Stiles. His problem stemmed from not wanting Scott and Lydia to get hurt again. He was pretty sure that Stiles wasn’t going to bail again and that was a start. But if he was going to stick around then he needed to start righting wrongs starting with Lydia. Scott had all but welcomed him back, but Lydia wasn’t going to be so easy to win over.

Chris flipped the burgers for the last time before turning to look at the former alpha werewolf. “I’m worried about him.” He looked down for a moment. “Did you know that there’ve been flowers on Allison’s grave every single day since she was buried? Ones that none of us put there.” He glanced at Derek again. “I don’t think his sense of guilt has lessened since the day she died.”

That kind of guilt was all-consuming. He couldn’t help but wonder what the kid had done for the last year, even if he had his own theories. He was sure there was a hell of a lot he didn’t know. He wondered what Stiles had put himself through in an attempt to deal with the burdens he carried. He knew it wasn’t all about Allison. A lot of people had died. A lot of people had been hurt. Too many. “At the end of the day, he’s still just a kid.” His voice was quiet.

Derek sighed, “I know. And he isn’t a bad person.” He was silent for a minute, “And if I’m being honest, maybe that’s one of the reasons I thought it would be a good idea for Lydia to stay there.” He told Chris quietly. “Something happened the other night at the pack meeting. Something I can’t explain, but I think I might have felt it, or sensed it.” He frowned not even really sure himself.

“Their connection, I think it could help him heal. I think it might be one of the only things that can help him heal,” He told Chris sincerely.

Chris cocked his head to the side at that, curious. “What happened at the pack meeting?”

Derek chuckled. “Lydia got herself a new power, that I pray I never piss her off enough to use on me again and Stiles...I don’t know what he did, but Aiden was being Aiden,” he’d told Chris in the past how the other former alpha was behaving, “And he grabbed Lydia, he hurt her and before Scott and I could do anything Stiles was there and he got Aiden to back off. If I had to compare it to something it was like an alpha roar, but...not.” Derek stated while shaking his head. “It was both amusing and disturbing to watch. I still don’t fully understand why Aiden listened, but the shift in energy in the room was massive,” he admitted still not sure what had happened.

Realization flickered over Chris’s face at Derek’s words. “Of course,” he murmured, wondering how he hadn’t put things together sooner with what little he did know about where Stiles had been over the last year. He moved to the grill, taking the burgers off and piling them onto the plate he’d set aside for that purpose. He should have figured it out sooner. “How much has he said about where he’s been and what he’s been doing? Anything?”

Derek straightened up and walked towards the table as he watched Chris, who had obviously figured something out. “To me? Nothing we haven’t talked much. And the last time I spoke to Scott he didn’t know much either, but that could have changed by now.” He answered.

“He’s been traveling with Marrin Morrell. Or at least he was the last time I managed to track him down, which was in August. Japan.” He glanced at Derek sideways, raising his eyebrows. “A local wolf pack there was having trouble with some out of town hunters. No one I knew.”

“Are you telling me Stiles has been...hunting?” Derek paused, “No...Morrell worked with the alpha pack. She’s an emissary.” Derek was quiet for a minute. “You think Stiles is an emissary.” He said quietly, surprise on his face.

Chris inclined his head ever-so-slightly as he strode inside the apartment with the plate of burgers. “If he was able to get Aiden to retreat with nothing more than appearing to talk to him after less than a year of training...I’d say he’s a pretty powerful one at that.”

Derek pursed his lips as he followed Chris inside. “Morell is bad news,” he said carefully. “If he spent a year with her…” Derek scratched the back of his head, “I wonder if he’s told Scott.” He said while pulling out one of the chairs inside and sitting down.

Chris didn’t disagree. “Morrell is a lot more ruthless than her brother,” he said as he sat down, as well, putting one of the burgers on a bun and adding ketchup and mustard, scooting them across the table to Derek. “She subscribes to a lot different moral code than he does. She’s good at what she does.” Even if he didn’t like or agree with a lot of her methods. They were echoes of his father’s in a lot of ways.

Derek reached for the a burger, “Do you ever get a headache thinking about all the twisted shit happening at once, because I’m starting to feel like there’s one that lives in the back of my head and never plans on disappearing,” he admitted with a sigh.

“On a daily basis,” Chris admitted. “And it does feel like things are beginning to converge around here again.” Whether that was because of all the new things happening, or something else, he wasn’t sure.

Derek put his beer down and added a few things to his burger silently. “I’m wary of Stiles.” He admitted. “I know I shouldn’t be. He got the really short end of the stick and everything he went through...that’s got to change a person. I’m no stranger to guilt,” he added, “And believe it or not I want him to stay. But I can’t help that I feel so protective of the people I’ve gotten close to.”

Chris was quiet for a moment. “No, you should be. At least to some degree,” because it was always better to be safe than sorry. He took a bite of his burger, chewing and looking troubled. “That’s an absolutely normal reaction, Derek. I don’t think that Stiles would hurt any of you, but that doesn’t mean he’s not different enough to be dangerous on a new level now. Even if the danger is from outside forces or to himself.” Danger was danger and at the end of the day someone usually ended up dead. “Particularly if he’s personally subscribed to Morrell’s methods.” And he was fairly certain that he had, at least in the past.

Derek took a bite of his burger and nodded. He chewed and swallowed, hesitating before speaking again. “I know he wouldn’t hurt anyone,” he knew how much Stiles cared about Scott and Lydia. “But if he has been working with her, like you said...then you're right. It doesn’t hurt to be safe.” He said before taking another bite of his burger.

Chris thought about that for a moment. “An emissary’s main job is to help guide and protect the pack’s alpha,” he said, taking a drink of his beer. “But we have a double unique situation that as far as I’m aware, is virtually unheard of. On one hand, we have an alpha who is a true alpha.” He looked at Derek, “Which means of course, that Scott is more powerful than most alphas, even if he hasn’t learned the extent of his abilities at this point.” He knew that Scott had been working on just that over the past several months.

“On the other hand, we have an emissary who not only is younger than usual, but is also a longtime friend of said true alpha.” He raised his eyebrows. “A true alpha who will undoubtedly require more time and attention than a normal alpha. Who will need extra protection against enemies and possibly pack members who go rogue.” He paused. “Not that anyone in your pack will, but there’s always the possibility.”

“I’ve seen pack members go rogue before. It’s not pretty.” Derk said quietly his thoughts drifting to Aiden. “I’d rather be safe than sorry,” he agreed. “I worry,” he said with a shake of the head.

Chris hesitated a moment, leaning forward in his chair. “If anything, I think Stiles will be inclined to be more defensive of Scott than a normal emissary is of their pack.”

Derek arched an eyebrow, “Is that a good thing?” he asked not really sure one way or the other. He had never known Deaton was his families’ emissary until a couple of years ago, so he didn’t know much about them.

“I think that depends on what kind of trouble Scott will be facing.” He pursed his lips. “I don’t think that Stiles will be as laid back about things as Deaton.”

Derek tilted his head, “You think he wouldn’t be averse to killing people.” He stated, worry coloring his features.

Chris met his eyes. “The hunters in Japan were killed. The killers were never caught.”

Derek tensed, “Hunters are human.” He said dumbly. “Are you telling me he and Morell killed humans.” And just like that the uncertainty was back.

“I’m telling you I think that it’s possible, yes. Whether Stiles was an active and willing participant, I don’t know.” He picked up his beer and took a drink. “But to put into perspective...they’d killed three wolves in the pack for no discernible reason other than the fact they were wolves. They ambushed them. Kidnapped them. Tortured them for days before finishing them off.” He paused. “One of them was fourteen.”

Derek sat back in his seat and ran a hand over his face. He shook his head. “There’s just no easy answer,” he admitted as he lifted his beer and took a long pull from it. “We’ll have to keep an eye on him...and maybe being back here with Scott and Lydia will help.” he offered before taking another bite of his burger.

Chris nodded, taking a drink again as well. “We can hope.”

“If anyone can pull him back, it’s them.” At least Derek hoped they could because if not...Scott and Lydia might not like the person Stiles had become.


Lydia glanced down at her phone and debated texting Derek, but she knew he was with Chris and she didn’t want to disturb their one dinner a week just because she was bored. Plus he’d just dropped her off a little over an hour ago. Scott was out she assumed with Stiles, the sheriff was at the station and Melissa had told her that Isaac was out with Cora.

Melissa had made sure she had everything she needed before heading downstairs to make dinner and leaving Lydia in Stiles’ bedroom by herself. Lydia glanced around; her chest tightening as she realized everything in his room was exactly how he’d left it. Even his bed felt the same. She closed her eyes and pressed her lips together. This was a terrible idea. There were way too many memories in this house, in this room. What was she supposed to do if she felt overwhelmed by things? How was she supposed to deal with it if Scott and Stiles were there?

Lydia sighed. She glanced down at herself, shoved the covers away from her body and took a deep breath. Slowly she shifted one leg over the bed, her stomach muscles tightening making her wince. But she kept going. Lydia moved her other leg over the edge of the bed. A soft noise leaving her throat as pain shot through her abdomen.

She took several deep breaths and then pushed herself up into a standing position. It took a couple of minutes but she was finally standing. Prada lifted her head off of Stiles’ video game chair and glanced at her. She smiled and waved at her dog before carefully shifting forward towards the window.

It was hot despite the fact that she was only wearing a pair of cotton shorts and one of Derek’s old t-shirts, that swallowed her frame whole. The front part was tucked into her shorts at the waist, but the back hung low to her mid thighs. Lydia reached forward and unlocked the window before attempting to tug it up.

It took a few tries and on the third one it opened. But by then she was breathing a little heavier and her stomach was throbbing. “Oh, so that’s why I’m supposed to take it easy,” she mumbled before turning and heading back over to the bed. She reached carefully for her bag and pulled out her AP Physics book. Lydia winced as she moved back to the bed and carefully sat back down, biting her lip so she didn’t make a noise.

She pushed herself back so she was leaning against the headboard , legs stretched out in front of her. Lydia took a few short breaths and then opened her book and did her best to focus on reading as she tried to enjoy the quiet.

The quiet didn’t last very long.

Shortly after she got settled, there were footsteps on the stairs, along with two familiar voices.

“Any kind of blood ritual is bad news. It doesn’t really matter if it’s animal or human. Essentially they have the same effect. And if no other bodies turned up before the earthquake it may have just been some kind of animal. Maybe to initially summon the daevas, whoever it was able to use animal blood, but after that, they needed something more powerful to keep them summoned. They’re not easy to control. They have to be -- well, fed, essentially, on a regular basis. And they’re fed by blood magic. The flower is what worries me. It’s used specifically for manifesting things. Like say, nightmares.” Stiles opened the door to his bedroom, but his eyes were on Scott.

“And I’m sure the two things are connected, but something feels really, really off about the whole -- “ He turned, freezing in place when he spotted Lydia in his bed. Scott’s bed. Whichever. He blinked, momentarily wondering if he was hallucinating.

Scott smacked right into him when he stopped walking, “Owe, jeez dude. What are you doing?” He asked.

Lydia had heard them coming and the second Stiles’ voice reached her ears her heartbeat had started beating heavily in her chest.

Prada let out a bark drawing Scott’s attention to the chair on the floor and realization hit him. Something he should have sensed before he even got into the room. He rested his hand on Stiles’ shoulder as Prada jumped off the chair and started running around Stiles’ feet barking.

Scott scratched the back of his neck with his free hand, “I forgot to mention Derek was bringing Lydia over...Hey Stiles Lydia’s going to be staying here for a few days.” He said before glancing over at her and sending her a reassuring smile even though he could hear how fast her heart was beating.

He blinked a couple more times, staring at her for a long moment before looking down at the dog that was trying desperately to get his attention. Lydia’s heart wasn’t the only one beating fast. He swallowed heavily. “Oh.” He reached down and scooped Prada up in his arms, surprised the dog seemed to remember who he was and was happy to see him. Happier than Lydia looked, that was for sure.

He cast a glance back at his best friend, giving him a wry look as if to say thanks for the head’s up there, buddy. But to be fair, they had been out looking at bloodstains for the better part of the afternoon, and trying to figure out what was going on with the nemeton, with the daevas, and now with Lydia’s new banshee powers and dream manifestations. He glanced back at Lydia, offering her a hesitant smile. “How are you feeling?”

Lydia closed her book. “I’m alright.” she said simply turning her head when Scott made his way over to the bed and sat down beside her.

“Hey,” he said leaning in and pressing a kiss to the side of her head. Scott glanced between his best friend and Lydia. “How long have you been here?”

Lydia shrug and stretched over to toss her book down momentarily forgetting her wound though she wasn’t sure how. The book left her hand and she inhaled deeply. “Not long,” she said her voice strained. “Maybe about an hour. Where were you two?” She asked glancing between them her gaze catching Stiles’. Her chest tightened almost painfully when she saw him standing there holding Prada.

Scott hesitated for a moment, glancing back at Stiles and then at Lydia. “The preserve,” he admitted, reaching out and resting his hand on her arm, drawing away some of her pain with a little bit of focus. As his powers had begun to get stronger he found he was able to take more of the pain without feeling as tired as he used to.

Stiles’ gaze shifted from Lydia to what Scott was doing, and he quickly looked away, remembering how he’d convinced Scott to take pain from multiple people in one day so that he could take it from Scott. No. So the Nogitsune could. He swallowed heavily, leaning back against the wall and not moving any closer.

Lydia felt the tug of an unfamiliar emotion in her chest and her gaze once again shifted to Stiles, watching him as he looked away from her and Scott. Her heart clenched not able to read the look on his face. She sighed and glanced at Scott. “Thank you,” she said softly as she rested a hand on his arm. “But I told you. You don’t have to constantly do it. A little pain never hurt anyone,” she said with half a smile.

“Hey it’s not been constant,” Scott pointed out. “I haven’t seen you since this morning.” He smiled at her, glancing back and over at Stiles where her gaze was directed and seeing his friend studiously avoiding looking at them for some reason. That was kind of weird. Then again a lot of things didn’t make sense still.

Lydia leaned back against the headboard again, “What were you two doing out in the preserve alone and without telling the rest of the pack?” She asked sternly. Lydia and Scott had agreed a long time ago after losing Allison that they wouldn’t jump into danger anymore without having backup and or telling the pack what was happening.

Stiles chewed his lower lip and finally looked back at them, forcing himself to release the anxiety in his chest and glancing down at Prada when the dog nuzzled against his neck, as if sensing something was off. “There were more bodies found last night,” he admitted reluctantly, knowing there was no sense in keeping it from her.

Lydia swallowed hard. That wasn’t good. “How many more?” She asked glancing between them. “And do we know anything more about how to kill them or who brought them here?” She asked.

Scott sighed and shook his head, “Not yet.” He shifted and his Mom called out for him. He squeezed Lydia’s arm gently, “I’ll be right back.” He got up and before she could even say anything he was moving out the door calling out for her asking what she wanted.

Lydia pursed her lips. She couldn’t remember the last time she was in a room alone with Stiles. Okay, maybe that wasn’t entirely true, but still. Lydia could feel her heartbeat picking up speed and she needed to do something to stop herself from freaking out. She shifted in bed and started to try and get off again. Maybe there was somewhere else she could sleep like the couch.

“Maybe you shouldn’t try and get up,” he said uncertainly, worry in his voice when she winced. “Should I get Melissa? Do you need pain pills or something?” Prada whined in his arms and he stroked the dog behind her ears.

“No, I just,” she paused. “I want to get up. I hate just laying here plus I’m sure you guys need to sleep later and you know,” Lydia’s voice trailed off and she pursed her lips.

“Scott can bunk with Isaac. Or he can stay here with you.” The latter was probably the best idea, really. And he and Scott hadn’t talked that much about it, but Stiles could see how close the two of them had gotten. Could see how much they cared about one another. Scott wasn’t going to want to be far from her when she slept. “It’s fine.”

“Where are you going to sleep?” The question came out before she could stop herself. “I don’t want to take over your room or anything. This wasn’t my idea,” she stated.

It was easy to hear the faintest hint of defensiveness in her tone and he shook his head. “I know. I didn’t think it was.” He moved over to the bed and carefully set Prada down on it before moving to sit down in the computer chair. “I’ll take the couch. It’s not a big deal.”

Lydia tapped her fingers against her knee. “That doesn’t really seem fair,” she said while gently pulling Prada into her lap and running her hand over her fur. “Scott’s Mom insisted I stay. And the two traitors backed her up...plus you know how hard it is to say no to Melissa,” she said not looking at him and instead looking at her dog. This was the most she’d spoken to Stiles in close to a year and she had no idea what to say. She could feel anxiety stirring inside of her and she did her best to push it aside and just focus on something else.

It wasn’t fair that she’d been hurt to begin with, but Stiles didn’t say anything. “I don’t mind,” he said quietly. The downstairs sofa was far from the worst place he’d ever slept. He watched her for a long moment, then leaned over, resting his arms on his knees. “Yeah, I do know she’s a difficult woman to say no to.” Like, basically impossible to say no to really.

Lydia hesitated before finally looking up catching him already watching her. She swallowed hard. “Did you guys find anything out there?” She asked softly.

Stiles met her eyes and drew in a breath, letting it out slowly. “Bloodstains. And...a flower called Dittany of Crete,” he said quietly. He was quiet for a moment. “It was next to the nemeton and…” He hesitated. “Your blood was on it.”

Lydia frowned, “Dittany of Crete...they don’t grow here...do they? I thought they were from Greece.” She said her curiosity getting the better of her. Lydia leaned forward and then sucked in a sharp breath and placed a hand flat on the bed, pain. “I keep forgetting about that...Wait my blood?” She asked surprised.

“Careful,” he murmured instinctively, leaning forward just a bit. “And no, they don’t grow here. You’re right. They’re from Greece. Which means either someone was recently there or had a plant shipped in.” He was hoping they’d catch a break by the latter being the case. He was going to talk to Danny, see if there was a way to track international packages that had come into Beacon Hills in the last couple of months. It would considerably narrow down the list of suspects, to which there were too many at this point to begin clearing people off it.

He nodded slightly at her question. “Dittany of Crete is used in manifestation. My guess is whoever summoned the daevas…” He hesitated again, then sat up a little straighter in the chair. “Is using it to keep them happy.” As happy as formless demons could be anyway.

“So that they don’t attack the person that brought them here? Or so they don’t go on random rampages all day and night? And what does this have to do with my blood?” She asked as Prada nudge her hand. Lydia pet her and then Prada moved to the edge of the bed and barked at Stiles before moving around in circles.

Stiles drew in a breath. “I’m guessing the first. I don’t think they care very much about the second.” He leaned back against the back of the chair. “And banshee blood is...powerful. Powerful in ways that most people’s blood isn’t.” His gaze drifted to Prada momentarily.

“How do you know that?” She asked quietly, studying his face.

He licked his lips as he considered her question, knowing she wanted answers but not sure if this was really the best time to start trying to explain things. But Scott hadn’t come back yet, he owed her an explanation. He owed her a lot more than that, really. Derek had been right. “I’ve been studying with Deaton’s sister,” he admitted, looking up at her once more.

Lydia frowned. “Deaton’s sister, but,” she paused, “She worked with the alpha pack.” She said uncertainly. Aiden had told her and she was pretty sure Scott had mentioned it at some point too. What exactly was he studying and why? Lydia didn’t know if she wanted to ask or not. “What were you doing with her?” She lifted Prada up and held her closer to her body.

Stiles held her gaze. He was all too aware of Morrell’s association with the alpha pack. She’d also been the school guidance counselor before she’d virtually vanished off the planet for months, only to show back up at Eichen House while he was possessed by the Nogitsune. She’d known, somehow, that he was going to turn up there. He didn’t ask how. He wasn’t sure he wanted to know, and Stiles usually always wanted to know everything. “She showed up and told me it was time, basically.” She hadn’t really given him much of a choice but he wouldn’t have said no if she had. He’d long since had suspicions which direction his life was supposed to take, even if it hadn’t evolved the way he’d hoped. Not even close.

Lydia opened her mouth to ask what exactly it was time for, but decided against it. Really, it wasn’t any of her business and whatever it was couldn’t have been more important than being there with her and Scott, especially not if he was with Deaton’s sister. “I see.” She said keeping her tone light.

He wondered if she did, really. Scott hadn’t really understood at first and he wasn’t even sure that Lydia knew the first thing about emissaries. Her tone of voice was what threw him off guard, though and he wasn’t sure what to say then. “Do you need anything? Tylenol or something?” he asked after a moment.

Lydia caught his gaze and watched him for a minute. “No Stiles, I don’t need anything.” She told him, “I’m fine.” She was always fine. Lydia didn’t care that she was sitting in Stiles room with him. She didn’t care that she barely recognized the person in front of her. She didn’t care that she could barely feel the connection that had once been so strong between them, that she’d felt only the other night so strongly for a few brief moments. She just didn’t care and maybe if she kept repeating that to herself it would be true.

Stiles believed that as much as he believed that the last three years had just been a nightmare. It wasn’t true but he wanted desperately for it to be true. But he didn’t have the right to call her on it. Not now. Maybe not ever again. They were strangers now, the way they’d been strangers for years before werewolves and kanimas and nemeton sacrifices. He’d done that. He rubbed a hand over his face, nodding. “Okay.”

Lydia’s heart clenched at his words. Her Stiles wouldn’t have given up so easily. Pain built in her chest and she desperately tried to push it down. She was never going to last staying at the Stilinski house. She’d barely been there a few hours and already she felt like an emotional wreck.

The pang in his heart he felt wasn’t his and he shut his eyes for a moment, swallowing hard. The tether was still there. It might have been weak, and just barely there, but it was there nonetheless. He looked up at her. “I don’t know what to do,” he admitted quietly.

Lydia shook her head. “I don’t know what you can do,” she said honestly, her eyes burning. She kept her head tilted down so she wasn’t facing him. “I don’t know how to fix this...I don’t even know if you want to fix this.” She admitted her tone as steady as it was going to get at the moment.

“Do you?” he asked hesitantly. He swallowed hard, clasping his hands together and looking down at them. “Because it all kind of...hinges on that for me. If you want me to stay away from you, I can do that. If you don’t, I won’t.”

Lydia swallowed hard, “Sometimes,” she said quietly, “Sometimes not so much,” she responded her chest constricting. She hated that it was so hard to figure out what she wanted. No, that wasn’t the problem. She knew what she wanted, she just didn’t know if that would ever be possible considering the one person she used to trust more than anyone, she no longer trusted. At least not with her heart.

“That’s fair,” he said softly. He still wasn’t sure how to proceed, really, if there was anything to even try and proceed with. He wasn’t Jackson Whittemore. Wasn’t the love of her life that she’d been able to forgive on sight. Or maybe she hadn’t forgiven him at all. Maybe she’d just needed him then, because the loss of Allison was too harsh. Too much for her to deal with. Because if something happened to Scott, Stiles didn’t know how he’d end up coping. It probably wouldn’t be any way that was good.

Lydia let out a frustrated noise, “God, you don’t know me at all anymore, do you?” The words were an accusation and though she wasn’t yelling they were louder than before. How could he not see what she needed? What she’d needed since he left? “Just get out Stiles.” The words were out of her mouth before she could take them back. “I’d leave myself but it’s a little difficult at the moment I just want to be by myself.” She told him reaching up and brushing angrily at her eyes before any tears could fall.

Stiles wanted to argue, wanted to point out that of course he didn’t. How could he? A year had passed. She wasn’t the same person she’d been, and he wasn’t either. Both cases were his own fault. He rose to his feet slowly, picking up the book he’d abandoned earlier that day on his desk and started toward the door. “For what it’s worth...I am sorry,” he said, pausing in the entrance of the room. “If you need something just -- let someone know.”

Lydia just nodded. She watched him hesitate and then walk out of the room. As soon as he was out of sight she let the tears spill. She lifted her hands and covered her face, her body shaking which only irritated her wound. Tears slid down her cheeks fast as she tried to cry as silently as possible. Prada shifted walking onto her lap and licking her arm. Lydia reached out with one hand petting her even as she continued to cry.

Staying at the Stilinski house was a bad idea. She missed the quiet calm of the loft, she missed Derek...things were easier with him, less complicated she didn’t have to worry about getting her heart broken when she was with him or being overly emotional and erratic. He was safe. Stiles...Stiles did things to her that made him completely unsafe. She was in love with him, it wasn’t a secret at least not from the two people who knew her best. And that made things harder especially since half of her constantly wanted him to just hold her while the other half wanted to scream at him for leaving her, disappearing into the middle of the night and making her mourn for not one, but two people she loved very much. So, Lydia sat there and cried, sadness enveloping her senses and wrapping around her, pain seeping from her skin. Loss; she felt it deeply. She missed Stiles more than words could ever get across.


Stiles made his way downstairs, rubbing a hand over his face as he descended the stairs, hearing Scott and Melissa talking quietly in the kitchen. He could smell lasagna cooking and his stomach growled as he realized he hadn’t eaten anything that day. He was kind of used to going hours without food when he was out working with Morrell and it wasn’t that big of a deal. Still, the smell of food was just enough to almost counter the guilt he felt after talking with Lydia.


He headed into the living room, flipping on a lamp by the sofa and dropping down into the corner of it with a soft sigh as he opened the book, pausing when his cell rang in his pocket. He quickly shifted and pulled it out, looking at the caller ID, a faint smile touching his mouth at the name that came up.

“It’s like you somehow know exactly when I need to hear your voice,” Stiles said by way of greeting as he answered the phone, setting his book aside for the time being.

Braeden smirked as she shifted the phone to rest between her shoulder and ear as her hand continued cutting through the material in front of her. “Must be that psychic part of me,” she joked. The truth was when she’d heard that he’d taken off for Beacon Hills she’d been worried, but she hadn’t had a chance to get into touch with him until just now. She was in the middle of a mission, but she’d felt something off coming from him even from as far away as she was and Braeden knew it was time to give him a call and check in.

“Must be,” he agreed, relaxing a little into the sofa cushions. “How are you? Everything going okay?”

Braedan let out a low grunt as she jerked a large box out of the covered fabric, “Yup, everything’s good, how about you? How’s Beacon Hills?” She asked casually as she stood up and headed to the mouth of the cave.

He cocked his head to the side, listening to the sounds on the other end and hearing her voice echo in the phone. “About as expected...where are you?” he asked, curiosity getting the best of him. “Your voice is echoing.”

“I might be at Cueva de las Manos, or just working my way out of it,” She said, the grin clear in her voice. “I’m on a job,” she explained, “And what about you...why’d you go back?” She asked making her way out into the heat, wincing slightly at the temperature and contemplating going back in the cave.

“You’re in Argentina without me? I’m hurt,” he informed her, arching his eyebrows, wondering what job she was on there. He rose to his feet at her next question, shooting a glance toward the kitchen. “The nemeton’s sort of...causing some issues.” He sighed and headed for the front door. It wasn’t that he thought that Scott was deliberately listening in, but there was a hell of a lot about his life that Braeden knew about that Scott didn’t, and while he did want Scott to know more about it, he wanted it to be because he’d told him himself. Not because of an accidentally overheard phone conversation.

“And by issues I mean someone’s using it to summon daevas using blood magic and I can’t get Morrell to call me back.”

Braeden’s eyebrows shot up, “Well that’s unpleasant. Daevas, those things give me the heeby jeebies,” she said as she tucked the box in her bag and carefully made her way down towards the river. “And yes I’m in Argentina without you, I could have used you on this one too,” she said with a sigh, “But someone took off and was not with Morell when I called,” she joked. “Daevas are a good excuse though, we’ll have to do Argentina again sometime soon,” she commented.

“Incredibly unpleasant. We’re swimming in shredded bodies,” he admitted grimly, unlocking the front door. “And I’ll be happy to go to Argentina with you again anytime, as long as there are no stops in Colombia again. Ever.” Not that she had initiated that venture. He stepped outside and pulled the door shut behind him, walking out into the front yard. “So Morrell’s answering your calls then?”

Braeden smirked, “When you finish with your little daevas problem we’ll go,” she commented, “And you know Morell. She’s pissed you took off in the middle of training to head back to Beacon Hills. She said they have people there to protect the town, what you’re doing is important.” She told him with an eyeroll. Braeden didn’t exactly see eye-to-eye with Morell on a lot of things.

Stiles sighed, rubbing his hand over his face. “Yeah, I figured that’s what it was.” Still, he was glad she was just pissed off and not hurt or worse. At least he knew that much for sure now. “But Deaton doesn’t know much about daevas and…” He hesitated. “I can’t really explain it, but I had to come back and it had to be now.” He chewed the inside of his cheek, moving to sit on the porch steps. “I was dreaming about the nemeton again.” His voice was hushed.

Braeden frowned pausing near the river now that she’d finally found her way down from the caves incline. She plopped down on the ground and took a deep breath. “How long has it been since that happened?” She asked quietly knowing Stiles had, had many nightmares since leaving Beacon Hills and the nemeton had featured in a good bunch of them.

“A few weeks,” he admitted. “But this one was different.” He swallowed heavily. “She was there, too, Braeden. And she told me I had to come back. It was...I don’t know, it felt like more than a dream. I felt the pull.” He’d felt the pull many times over the year to return to Beacon Hills, like the nemeton was beckoning him back, but he’d resisted it. But he couldn’t resist it with Allison urging him back, too. It had been too much.

Braeden frowned, resting her arm on one leg as she held the phone with the other. “She’s never made an appearance in your other nightmares,” she stated. “I wonder what made this one different.” She commented her head already formulating a number of different theories. “You know...after this job I’m probably free for a while if you need an extra pair of hands in Beacon Hills.” Braeden knew it had to be hard for him to be back, especially if he was working with Scott.

Stiles looked down at the ground. Allison hadn’t ever appeared in his nightmares about the nemeton. Just the ones where he’d seen her lying dead in Scott’s arms. Where he’d seen the devastation on Lydia’s face. “I’m not sure. But whoever’s summoning the daevas is using blood magic.” He raised his eyebrows. “Yeah? Yeah, that’d be good. That’d be really good, actually.”

Half a smile pulled at Braeden’s lips. “Then I’ll be there.” She said matter-of-factly. “Blood magic is dangerous,” she warned even though she knew she didn’t need to. “That means whoever has control of them can make them come out anytime they want even during the day as long as there’s a sufficient amount of shadow in the area. Make sure you’re careful.” She said while moving the phone between her shoulder and ear again so she could wash her hands in the river.

He grimaced, not needing to be told twice. “Yeah, I know. I’ll be careful. You, too, okay? Let me know when you’re back somewhere safe?”

“Will do, if I haven’t called by the end of the week I’m either dead or rotting in a prison made up of Argentinian drug lords,” she joked as she pushed herself back up. “I’ll see you soon-ish,” she told him while lifting her bag back up off the floor.

“Yeah, please...don’t die or get stuck rotting in a prison of Argentinian drug lords. That will kill my impression of Argentina as a place of fun.” He smirked, knowing full well she was more than capable of handling herself. “See you soon.”

Braeden sorted. “Please you know the real reason is you’d miss me, stop your lying. Now I’ve gotta go do my thing. See you soon Stilinski,” she repeated before disconnecting the call, shoving the phone in her pocket and heading back to civilization.

He couldn’t help but grin as the call ended, and he shook his head as he tucked his phone back into his pocket, raking a hand through his hair. He paused, stilling but not turning around.

Scott leaned against the doorway noticing the way Stiles was suddenly still. “I just came out to tell you dinner is ready.” He said keeping his tone light as he glanced at his friends back.

Stiles glanced over his shoulder and then pushed himself to his feet. “Thank god. It smells awesome. I can’t even remember the last time I had lasagna much less homemade lasagna.” He patted Scott on the shoulder, wondering how much of that conversation Scott had heard.

Scott smiled, “Mom’s lasagna is the best,” he commented watching his friend for a minute before looking away, “The tables already set, I’m just going to grab some and bring it up to Lydia then I’ll be back down with you and Mom okay?” He asked making note to ask Stiles about who he was talking to and what he’d overheard at a later time. Scott didn’t want more unanswered questions. He already had enough of those.

“Yeah, all right.” He nodded, sensing Scott’s uncertainty before watching him head away. Stiles sighed inaudibly and headed into the kitchen, giving Melissa a genuine smile. “Smells amazing.”

Melissa glanced over her shoulder and grinned, “I’m glad you think so.” She said as she brought the tray over to the table, a piece of it already cut. She glanced at Stiles, “What kind of piece would you like? End or middle?” She asked spatula ready.

“End piece is fine,” he told her, rubbing the back of his neck. “Is Dad still at work?” There was a flicker of worry in his eyes.

Melissa’s eyebrows drew together and she nodded as she scooped up an end piece for Stiles and put in on his plate. “He’s working late tonight because of the murders, but he shouldn’t be home too late,” she added.

He made a mental note to text his dad and find out what time he was leaving so he wasn’t leaving alone, Braeden’s warning ringing in a clear echo in his mind. Whoever has control of them can make them come out anytime they want even during the day as long as there’s a sufficient amount of shadow in the area. Make sure you’re careful.

Things just kept on getting better.

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