June 7, 2014

Drove Through Ghosts To Get Here 9/32

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: 9/32
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 | Eight |

Chapter Nine

Lydia made her way up the stairs to Stiles’ bedroom glass of water in hand. It was the day before Thanksgiving and Scott and Kira were at school. It had been three days since Derek dropped her off to stay with Scott and she wasn’t cleared to go back to school until tomorrow, but because of the holiday there was no school tomorrow, which meant she wouldn’t be going back until next week.

She took a sip of her water and sighed walking into the bedroom and placing the glass on the desk. She was bored and getting an extreme case of cabin fever. She didn’t even have her car with her so it wasn’t like she could go anywhere though Lydia had a feeling that was done on purpose.

Stupid overprotective werewolves. Lydia was at least thankfully back on her feet. The scratches across her stomach were almost fully healed, but she was still supposed to be taking it easy. She glanced at Scott’s book shelf and figured she might as well see if there was anything good to read since she had finished all of her books.

Lydia walked across the room and was almost there when the toe of her heel caught on something almost making her fall forward, but she caught herself definitely wincing at the sharp movement. She grunted and then glanced down frowning when she saw what she’d tripped on.

She glanced down curiously at the duffle bag and pursed her lips. Lydia looked over her shoulder at the doorway. She knew she was home alone. Melissa and the sheriff were at work and Stiles...Stiles was somewhere. He’d been keeping his distance for the past couple of days, which hurt then again she wasn’t really surprised. It seemed like he didn’t really want to fix things between them anyway.

Lydia pushed aside the thought and bent down carefully getting on her knees in front of the duffle bag. The zipper was open so she parted the top and her brows drew together. What the hell is this? she thought as she dipped her hand into the bag pulling out different books. She glanced over them realizing they were books on different mythical beings...bestiaries and other books like them.

She placed them on the floor and used both hands to rummage through more of the bag knowing she probably shouldn’t but not able to help herself. It was obviously Stiles’ stuff and since she couldn’t seem to get any answers out of him by asking maybe this would tell her a little bit about the person who came back after a year of being gone.

Lydia lifted up several strange looking crystals and frowned. “What in the world,” she mumbled as she started pushing stuff out of the way. She spotted one of the protection necklaces that Scott had given the pack and she glared. She didn’t always wear it and now she was partially glad. “Of course, figures.” She said annoyed before searching the bag further. Her hand came in contact with something sharp and she let out a startled yelp pulling her hand back. She glanced at her palm and saw a small spot of blood.

Lydia’s frowned deepened and she opened the bag wider carefully and spotted a small set of throwing knives kind of like the ones Chris had taught her to throw last week. She sat back on her knees and glanced around, her eyes landing on the closet. She smirked, put everything back in the duffle bag and then pushed herself up carefully and moved over to the closet.

Fifteen minutes later different sized weapons of all kinds were scattered across the floor and she was sitting in the desk chair a leather bound book in her hands. Lydia’s chest was tight as she read through what could only be described as some kind of journal or Stiles’ personal bestiary. She swallowed hard as her eyes scanned the pages. He talked about different supernatural creatures and what their habits were like, what their weaknesses were and how to kill them.

Lydia paused in her reading. Did that mean Stiles killed them? That he was going around the world and killing people like Scott and Derek? Or people like Aiden and the alpha pack, bad people? Did it matter if they were bad? Did they really deserve to die? Lydia sucked in a sharp breath and kept reading, turning page after page quickly.

She was about to flip the page again when she caught sight of the date on the page. Lydia’s heart clenched and she read through the entry carefully, every last word and by the time she was done her eyes burned with tears. She felt sick. Lydia slammed the book shut glancing around the room full of weapons and her heart ached. It ached for Stiles, for Scott, for herself, and for everything they lost.

Lydia could feel her breathing picking up speed and she closed her eyes. She needed to get out of there. She quickly picked everything up putting it all back where she found it. Lydia moved to the closet and as she was putting the bags away she spotted something buried in the corner, a small box she’d missed. She hesitated before pulling the flap back and spotting dozens of white envelopes. She reached for one and froze when she saw her name and address on it.

She took a few seconds to shuffle through them and every single last one was for her. She felt the familiar tightening of her stomach and pushed them back before jerking her body out of the closet. Lydia winced at the movement and pressed a hand to her stomach. She glanced around the room making sure everything was back where it should be before grabbing her cell phone from the desk and heading for the bedroom door.

Lydia moved as fast as she could in her heels, her heart beating immeasurably fast as she rushed out the front door slamming it behind her. She couldn't deal with this, it was too much information. She glanced around for a minute feeling like any second she was going to be caught in the middle of a panic attack and so car or not she was leaving.

Lydia starting walking quickening her pace as she went. The loft wasn’t far...okay it was, but she didn’t care. She needed something familiar and she needed it before she lost her cool entirely.


Stiles hadn’t been back a full week yet, but he’d finally managed to send Danny a message and the other teen had agreed to meet him for coffee. He hadn’t seen the guy in person for a year, and while technically school was in session, Danny hated his American history class and had immediately suggested meeting during that time period. It didn’t hurt that it was Danny’s last class of the day and the last one before the holiday weekend since the next day was Thanksgiving.

He couldn’t believe it was Thanksgiving. He couldn’t believe that almost a year had passed since Allison had died. He leaned back in his chair at the coffee shop, staring out the window as he waited for Danny to arrive, thinking about that night.

Danny parked his car, shut it off and pushed the door open in the span of a few seconds. When Stiles’ had text him letting him know he was in town he’d been surprised, but not unhappy about it. If he was being honest he was glad Stiles was back. Scott and Lydia just didn’t seem the same without him, especially with Allison gone.

He pulled open the door to the small cafe in the middle of town and spotted Stiles almost immediately though he had to do a bit of a double take. He looked different, older, definitely bulkier, but not in a bad way. He made his way over to the table and sat down pulling the strap to his bag over his head. “Hey man, it’s good to see you.” He said with a smile.

Stiles returned the smile with ease. “Hey,” he greeted. “Good to see you, too. Live and in person, I mean.” They’d skyped a couple of times over the last year. “How’ve you been?” He lifted his hand in a wave to signal the barista, who came over to take Danny’s order.

When Danny finished ordering and the barista left the table he glanced back at Stiles. “Same. Pretty decent, can’t really complain. Things have been fairly quiet though I doubt they’ll stay that way especially if you’re back,” he said with an arched brow, his dimple showing on one cheek. “You get the last batch of updated data from me?”

“Ouch. That cuts deep, Danny,” Stiles said wryly. “Yeah, no outgoing or incoming orders from Greece in the last few months. Thanks for looking into that, by the way. Your check is in the mail.”

He nodded as he hung his bag on the back of his chair, “No problem,” he said leaning his arms on the table. “You going to tell me why you’re looking into things being brought into Beacon Hills from Greece? Or is this one of those need to know things?” He asked without judgment. Danny didn’t mind keeping an eye on things for Stiles especially since the other guy had filled him in on the not so light stuff that goes on in Beacon Hills.

Stiles considered the question for a moment and glanced around before leaning forward a little. “I came back to town because as expected, trouble’s brewing.” He was quiet for a few seconds. “Someone’s doing blood magic at the nemeton, summoning these demons called daevas. They’re what killed those people last week. The ones that are officially filed under ‘investigation -- probably animal attacks.’”

Danny winced, “Well, it’s always something right?” He shook his head, “I swear sometimes I wonder why people stay in Beacon Hills, I mean even before you filled me in on what was going on, I knew weird stuff happened here.” He shrugged.

Stiles nodded, looking down at the table and wrapping his hands around his cup of coffee. The decision to tell Danny what really went on around their town had been one he’d struggled to make. But Danny was human, and he was running with wolves and he had no idea. He’d deserved to know the truth, to know what kind of danger he was in. To be able to make the decision for himself of whether or not he should be involved in it.

He was glad he’d made the choice to fill him in because Danny had done him a lot of huge favors while he’d been away. One of them had saved Scott’s life. The rest just made it easier for him to keep his fingers on the pulse of Beacon Hills, to make sure that everyone was okay, not in any immediate danger that he didn’t know about. He and Danny had never been close friends before, but he felt like they’d developed an actual friendship even if most of it had consisted of of emails, skype calls, and the occasional text message.

“Yeah, it’s always something,” Stiles agreed quietly. “But you’ll need to be careful especially after dark. These demons travel through shadows. They’re not fond of sunlight or any kind of bright light. So be safe.”

“So basically hang out with the lights on until they’re gone, got it.” He smiled and the barista brought over his coffee a minute later. When she walked away again he glanced at Stiles. “So I guess you don’t need the data from everyone’s phones and stuff for the past week since you’re here.” He said while wrapping his hands around the mug.

Stiles smiled faintly at that. “No, I’m good with that. I know where everyone is. I’ve now seen everyone since I got back.” He leaned forward a little. “I want to say thank you for helping me. For everything, man.” His voice was sincere.

Danny watched Stiles for a minute before nodding. “No problem. I know how close you and Scott are,” he said quietly, “And I know how hard it must have been for you to leave.” He scratched the back of his neck, “Jackson actually asked me for the same thing when he left, well not in as much detail, but you know for updates on things, people.” He shrugged. “So honestly I don’t mind doing it. It’s hard to leave behind the people you care about even when sometimes it’s the right thing to do.” He brought the coffee to his lips and took a small sip.

“And speaking of Jackson, how is our werewolf in London?” Stiles asked curiously. Jackson Whittemore had never been and would never be his favorite person in the world. Not by far. But he was concerned about the fact that Jackson was on his own in London without a pack of his own to help look after him. Not that the guy had ever been a team player, really. He just wanted to be the star of the show.

Danny hesitated, “He’s okay.” He said his brows furrowing. “He said he ran into some hunters not long ago, which wasn’t pleasant he wound up traveling out of London for a bit laying low until they left England. But he’s fine now, back home doing okay.” Danny wasn’t sure how much to tell Stiles, not that he didn’t trust him because he did. They’d developed a really good friendship over the past year. But he wasn’t sure Jackson would appreciate the breach in friendship.

“He was contemplating coming out here for the anniversary,” he said carefully, “I think he wanted to pay his respects and check in on Lydia.”

Stiles frowned at that, troubled at the idea that Jackson was hiding from hunters. He’d have to talk to him if he came back, and if he didn’t, he’d have to make an effort to call him and try to talk some sense into him. As much as he didn’t really like Jackson, he didn’t want to see him end up dead, either. It would devastate Lydia and she’d already lost too many people.

His stomach tightened just a little and he nodded. “I think that’s a nice idea.” His voice was quiet. “And I’m sure you’re dying to see him again.”

Danny smiled and nodded. “Yeah, it’s been about a year. I mean we Skype and talk on the phone, but it’s not the same. I think it would be nice to have him back for a few days.” He missed his best friend. It would probably be nice to have him back for good, but Danny knew Jackson didn’t really want to fall back into the mess that was Beacon Hills. Not for just any old reason anyway.

“No, it isn’t,” Stiles agreed quietly. It wasn’t the same thing at all. He’d skyped with his dad at least once a week since he’d left, and it wasn’t even close to the same thing. He sat back in his chair, deciding it was time for a change of topic. “Any plans for Thanksgiving?”

Danny tapped his hand against his coffee mug, “My Mom is on this new no meat kick to be healthier so she’s making something called a tofurkey...I’m not looking forward to it.” He said with a sigh. “So I’ll probably just watch the game and eat some yams?” He said with a short laugh. “How about you?”

Stiles made a face at that, even if he’d made his dad eat a lot of that kind of stuff in the past because...well it was healthier. Didn’t mean he wanted to eat it himself. Besides, turkey was poultry and poultry was healthier than most things. “Big dinner thing at the house.” He paused, cocking his head. “You should come. Invite Ethan, even.”

Danny arched an eyebrow, “Really? Your family wouldn’t mind?” He asked curiously. Thanksgiving was in two days and he knew his Mom hated having last minute guests. It always made her feel unprepared.

“Melissa is cooking a massive amount of food. I’m helping out.” He shrugged. “So yeah, it’s fine. The whole pack’s gonna be there.” He knew that none of the others really considered Ethan and Aiden pack, but he was going to work on remedying that, even if it took time.

Danny smiled, “It’s nice of you to include me...and Ethan. He’ll want to bring Aiden...I know he’s been a little,” he paused, “Difficult lately. Is it okay if he comes too?”

“Yep. Let Ethan know I’m fine with it,” he said honestly. He didn’t really like Aiden, but he was going to make the effort. Besides, it was the holidays and the twins basically only had one another. Cora and Isaac wouldn’t be happy, but he’d intervene if and when he had to. The rest of them would probably understand, even if they were surprised. He smiled at Danny.

Danny returned the smile, “Cool, I’ll let him know and if I can convince him, which I’m sure I can, we’ll be there.” He said simply.

“Great. We’re supposed to eat at 2,” Which was a strange time to eat lunch, but hell sometimes Stiles didn’t even eat lunch at all.

Danny nodded, “I’ll let him know.” He said before taking another sip of his coffee, “So what else is going on? Glad to be back?” He asked trying to read his friends expression, but it wasn’t as easy as it once was.

Stiles considered the question for a moment. “Trying to readjust to being back,” he admitted, taking a sip of his coffee and shifting in his chair. He didn’t fidget and move around as much as he once had, but he hadn’t been able to completely rid himself of the annoying habit either. At least not as thoroughly as he would’ve liked. “It’s...a lot.” He looked down.

Danny tilted his head to the side, “Well if you ever need to talk to anyone about it,” he motioned to himself a smiled, “I’ve got ears willing to listen,” he added.

Stiles smiled at that, nodding. “Appreciated. And I’ll probably end up taking you up on the offer at some point.”

Danny nodded, “Sounds good to me.” He lifted his coffee and took a long sip. He liked Stiles, respected the decisions he’d made in the last year and been glad to help him when he asked. He knew how hard it was to make the decisions that nobody wanted to make and Stiles had done a lot of that over the past year.

“So things with you are good? Nothing new going on since last time we talked?” he asked curiously.

Danny shook his head, “Not really. Ethan and I are still sort of trying to find our way. Having Aiden around makes it a little difficult,” he shrugged, “But he’s Ethan’s brother and I guess he doesn’t have many friends since he and Lydia broke up. So I don’t really mind.”

Just one more reason to get the twins more integrated in with the pack. It would help Danny, too. And maybe they could even bring Danny more into the fold if he was interested. Make sure he was safe and okay. He nodded. “Is he nice to you? Aiden, I mean.”

Danny smirked, “He’s gotten nicer. At first not so much, but now,” he nodded, “Yeah. I mean he sort of just...mopes around. It’s odd. He’ll play video games with us or watch movies. But mostly he just scowls and stuff. I’m not sure what’s wrong and when I ask Ethan just shakes his head and says it’s complicated.” Danny tapped his thumb over the mug.

Sounded about right to Stiles. He nodded, considering and taking a drink before speaking again. “He misses Lydia. He’s jealous of Derek,” he explained. That was one he understood. But Stiles maintained very tight control over his own emotions. Besides, he’d accepted a long time ago that he and Lydia weren’t destined for anything more than friendship. Now he wasn’t even sure that was going to work out. He didn’t want to think about it.

Danny arched an eyebrow, “Jealous of Derek, why- wait Lydia and Derek are together?” He asked wondering how he hadn’t realized that. He’d seen them together on more than one occasion, but it had just never occurred to him that they were a couple. “You know I guess that makes sense, I just assumed they were just friends, but I guess she does spend as much time with him as Scott,” he added.

Stiles nodded slightly in agreement. “Yeah, they’re together,” he confirmed. “But they’re not real into PDA so that’s probably why you didn’t figure it out.” He took another drink and set down the empty cup. “I don’t know how long they’ve been together, but I think it’s been for awhile.”

Danny cocked his head to the side, “Why do you say that?” He asked curiously.

“Gut feeling?” He shrugged. “I don’t know how to explain it really. Just a feeling I get.”

Danny studied Stiles as he nodded. “How are you handling that?” He asked while taking another sip of coffee.

Stiles smiled, but it was faint. “If she’s happy, that’s all that matters,” he said quietly, looking down at the table.

Danny sighed softly. It was obvious Stiles was hurting. He genuinely felt bad for the guy and all the crap he’d had to deal with over the past year. “That’s always been your motto when concerning Lydia,” he paused, “I kind of thought things were changing between the two of you though...from what I’d observed in the past.” He explained.

Stiles drew in a breath and exhaled slowly, dropping his guard for a moment. Truthfully it was always going to be his motto when it came to Lydia. He loved her, he’d always loved her, and all he wanted was for her to be happy. If Derek did that, if he made her happy and kept her safe, then he wasn’t going to try and stand in the way. “We were friends. Good friends,” he admitted quietly. “Kind of shot that all to hell when I left town.” He felt the swell of hurt in his chest. “I don’t think it’s...I don’t think we’re gonna get back to that place.”

Danny was quiet for a minute. “Don’t count yourself out just yet. You said you love her and Lydia,” he paused, “Through all her bitchiness and her attitude, her ability to forgive...it goes pretty deep even if she does talk a big game.” He added. “I love Jackson, he’s my best friend, but he was kind of terrible to Lydia and yet, she still managed to forgive him over and over again. And you...you’re nothing like Jackson when it comes to Lydia. So, don’t give up.” He said again.

Stiles watched Danny as he spoke and resisted the urge to bite his thumbnail, an old familiar habit that he’d dropped months ago. Instead he picked the coffee cup up again. He knew Lydia could be very forgiving, but his offense had gone even deeper than Jackson’s, even if he hadn’t realized it at the time. He hadn’t realized that he was her tether the same way she was his. He hadn’t known that it worked both ways. “I hope you’re right,” he said softly. Because he didn’t want to not have Lydia in his life. He’d never wanted that, even if he was sure it was what she thought.


Lydia made her way up the last flight of stairs and she had to pause at the top. She was tired. No, exhausted. She had absolutely no clue how long it took to walk to the loft from the Stilinski house, but it was not her brightest move. Half way there she’d gotten herself so worked up she started crying, which is just not something to be done in public. She’d ruined her makeup and since she left the house without her purse the best she’d been able to do to fix it was wipe away the crazy mascara raccoon eyes.

She sighed, her heart beating fast most likely from the walk and not her erratic emotional state, which was really starting to get on her nerves. Lydia stepped forward and knocked on the loft door. She probably looked a mess, but it was only Derek and he’d seen her at her worst, which surprisingly wasn’t this.

Derek heard the footsteps before they reached the door and he opened it as soon as she knocked. But he wasn’t really prepared to see her looking exhausted and a little paler than usual. She’d obviously been crying. Not good signs. “Did you walk all the way here?” he asked in concern, stepping back to let her in.

Lydia nodded, “Yeah, I didn’t have a car,” she said as she walked passed him into the loft, toeing off her heels almost immediately. “I can’t go back there; I don’t think it’s a good idea. I was,” she paused and took a deep breath before turning to face Derek. “I was snooping. I was alone and bored and angry and I just-” Lydia swallowed hard and closed her eyes, “I found all this stuff and I don’t even know who he is anymore, and I’m suffocating.” Lydia brought her hands to her face. “It’s finally happened I’m losing my damn mind.” She stated dramatically.

Derek blinked, watching as she spoke animatedly. Stiles. Of course. But her dramatics were kind of amusing, even if he didn’t dare smile right now. “You’re not losing your mind,” he assured her, reaching out and putting his hands on her shoulders. “Come sit down and tell me what happened. What did you find that’s got you so rattled?”

She didn’t let him move her just yet. She glanced up and held his gaze, “Are we alone?” She asked quietly.

“Yeah, Cora’s in school. It’s just the two of us.” Derek frowned, growing more worried. “Lydia, what is it?”

Lydia nodded, “Right school. It absolutely would have been better for me to just go back today.” She paused, “I went through Stiles’ stuff. It was just sitting there on the floor and I,” she made a face, “I was angry and upset and I just wanted to see what kept him away for close to a year, what was so important.” She swallowed hard.

“You know he told me that he’s been doing something with Morell. That she came to him and told him it was time whatever the hell that means.” Lydia took a deep breath and let it out slowly trying to calm herself down. “I found weapons, tons of weapons. Books about magic and different creatures and just bestiaries I guess.” She pursed her lips. “The pendants Scott gave us they were from Stiles. And-” she paused finally looking up at Derek again, moisture prickling at the corner of her eyes.

“He’s been hunting Derek,” she whispered the words, “He has his own journal, actually I think it’s more of a bestiary. I read the beginning, but I stopped I couldn’t keep going.” Lydia was silent for a minute, “I know why he decided not to come back or at least what happened the night that if felt like our connection severed.” She told him quietly.

Derek paused, letting all of that sink in, but honestly he wasn’t terribly surprised by any of it given his conversation with Chris, except the part about the pendants. He reached up to the chain around his neck where his hung under his shirt. He gently pulled her over to the sofa and guided her to sit down, laying a hand on her arm and taking away some of the physical pain she was feeling. He wished he could take away the other kind, too. “What happened that night?” he asked quietly.

Lydia glanced up at him and swallowed hard, “He killed someone,” she whispered, “A werewolf,” she felt the tears start to fall. “Stiles, our Stiles, my Stiles. Not some possessed spirit or Nogitsune or whatever. Oh god do you think he’s been doing that this whole time? Do you think?” She stopped talking and pressed a hand to her mouth as more tears spilled from her eyes. “I can’t stay there, I feel sick.”

Lydia didn’t know the circumstances, she didn’t know if the werewolf was attacking people or what. Maybe he had the best reason in the world to do it. But all she kept thinking about was Scott’s pack. Or the way Stiles had yelled at Aiden the other night. At the time it had made her feel protected, but now...he seemed almost dangerous and that killed a part of her inside. What if he was like Morell now, what if she’d corrupted everything good inside of him? What if she’d never be able to get him back?

Derek couldn’t help the unease he felt at her words and he thought back to his conversation with Chris, trying to work out why Stiles was killing werewolves and hunters. He paused, then shook his head. “No, I don’t think he’s technically a hunter.” He hesitated. “Do you know what Morrell is, Lydia?” He wasn’t sure really how much she knew about emissaries. He still felt overwhelmingly under-schooled in the subject.

Lydia shrugged as she shifted towards Derek, “Some crazy bitch who goes around hurting my friends and giving them ultimatums?” She asked annoyed as she wiped away some of the tears.

Her opinion wasn’t too far off from his own. “She’s an emissary, like Deaton,” he told her. He hesitated. “Like Jennifer was. A druid.” He pursed his lips. “If he’s been with Morrell this whole time, she’s probably been training him.”

Lydia paused tucking a piece of hair behind her ear. “To...to be an emissary?” She asked, “I don’t understand. Why Stiles? And Deaton is here, why wouldn’t Deaton do it? Why Morell? And why kill anyone?” She asked softly not understanding, which was slightly annoying since she understood most things. Lydia didn’t know if she was intentionally being dumb or if she just didn’t have enough information.

“Apparently every pack has an emissary. I don’t know exactly how they’re chosen. I don’t really have a great understanding of how it all works. Deaton was my mom’s. I didn’t even know about him until a couple years ago,” he admitted. “I really don’t know why Morrell chose Stiles. I do know from my limited information --” Mostly thanks to Chris Argent, really. “-- that emissaries are big on balance. Did this journal of Stiles’ say why he killed this werewolf? Was he or she killing people or…” He didn’t really understand either, but it was unsettling to think that Stiles had been out there killing wolves and hunters. Then again, he remembered what Chris had said about the hunters in Japan. And if Stiles really was training to be an emissary, with Morrell of all people...it was hard telling what all he’d done.

“I don’t know…” Lydia looked down, “I couldn’t keep reading. I was scared that if I did,” she hesitated, “I would see something I couldn’t unsee. Something that might change the way I see him. I was scared,” she repeated. “Don’t make me go back okay?” She said as she glanced up at him. “And god Scott...he can’t know about any of this. It would kill him.” Lydia shook her head. “How am I supposed to keep this from him? I should have never looked I should have just minded my own business.”

“Hasn’t it already?” Derek asked gently. He shifted on the sofa, pulling her into his arms and stroking her hair. “You can stay here tonight, okay?” But there was Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow to think about. He wasn’t going to remind her of that yet, though. “I think part of the problem is that he’s keeping so many secrets. That’s not your fault.” He frowned deeply. “And we can’t keep things from Scott. He needs to know.”

“Scott would be devastated knowing that Stiles was out there possibly killing more than one werewolf...You know how he feels about that. Even the people who’ve threatened this pack are still alive Derek.” Lydia sighed and wrapped an arm around his midsection.

“And hasn’t he changed the way I see him?” She was silent for a minute letting herself relax into Derek. “Yes...But,” Lydia moistened her lips, “But I still hold out some kind of hope that he’ll fight for me, for us. I think I might just be an idiot though,” she whispered. “I spent three days there and he doesn’t seem to want to fix things at all. I asked if he did you know,” her voice was quiet as she spoke, her thumb moving back and forth against his shirt where her hand lay.

“He asked if I wanted to and told me if I didn’t then he’d leave me alone.” Lydia closed her eyes. “It seems like such a stupid and inconsequential comment. But it’s not. The Stiles who loved me would have known deep down that I needed him and would have done whatever he could to get me to see he cared.” Lydia felt a few tears slip from her eyes silently.

“But maybe the problem is he just doesn’t love me anymore. I waited too long and messed everything up and then this whole thing happened and Allison and a year of doing...god knows what. Maybe I just need to be prepared for the reality that this is never going to work,” she whispered.

Derek was silent for a moment. “Stiles is different,” he admitted quietly. “He’s changed. A lot. We all have.” He rubbed her back without really thinking about it. “But I do know that he’s always loved you. I think he still does.” He leaned his head against hers. He wasn’t sure how he felt about it, really. He didn’t want to think that Stiles was so far gone that Derek needed to worry about Lydia’s safety around him being an issue. Or Scott and Isaac’s for that matter. But he hadn’t spent much time with Stiles since he’d returned because he hadn’t been back for long.

“And I know he’s working on trying to figure out whatever’s going on with the nemeton and these daevas. If he didn’t care, he wouldn’t be here, right?” He looked down at her. “I think maybe he’s just...trying to give you space. Maybe he’s afraid that if he pushes you too much at this point he’ll push you away for good. Does that make sense?” He tucked some hair behind her ear.

Lydia shrugged. “Maybe, I guess. I don’t know. I...I’ve never really had a healthy relationship with anyone, so it’s hard for me to always understand why Stiles does things.” She admitted. “Jackson was a trainwreck, I loved him, but he was terrible to me. I still loved him,” she said her body relaxing further. “Aiden...that was just a mess. It only started because he needed to keep close for the alpha pack, and then even after everything he did, I gave him another chance.” Lydia shook her head.

“Stiles, well that wasn’t really a relationship, but I think it might have been the closest to anything healthy in my life at least before the Nogitsune,” she told him quietly. “And now...I have Scott and you. Both of which seem marginally healthy I suppose,” she joked, though she didn’t smile.

Jackson had been a trainwreck. He’d been pretty far removed from the whole situation but even he’d seen it from his vantage point. But it had also been her love for Jackson that had saved the guy’s life, ultimately. Aiden had been worse in some ways and better in others. He suspected that she was right, though. Her relationship, her friendship with Stiles had been solid once they actually connected. Until the Nogitsune had taken him over and wrecked Stiles so badly the guy’d left town because he couldn’t deal with it all. It had been a stupid decision.

“Marginally,” he teased, pressing a kiss to her temple.

Lydia rested her head against him. “Thanks for being here. I know I don’t say it lot and I can be abrasive and sort of like a steamroller sometimes,” she joked, “But you’re also here so thanks. I don’t know what I’d do without you or Scott.” She admitted. They made her feel safe and they took care of her even when she gave them a hard time and that meant a lot.

“You’re welcome. I’m always here,” he said quietly. He was silent for a moment. “Let me pose a question to you, though.”

“Hmm,” she said tilting her head slightly so she could catch a glimpse of his face.

“If it turns out that Stiles killed that werewolf because he or she was killing people...like Peter did when he came out of his catatonia. Would you be able to handle that?” he asked, voice hushed.

Lydia hesitated, contemplating the questions and all the things Peter had done to her. A slight shiver went up her spine. “Yes...I think I’d be able to handle that.” She was quiet for a minute, “Do you think that’s what happened?” She asked trying not to sound too hopeful.

“I have a hard time imagining Stiles killing anyone, werewolf or otherwise, without a damn good reason for it,” he admitted. “I hope that’s all it was.” He hesitated. “But I don’t know. He’s been gone a long time.”

Lydia nodding liking that version a lot better, but not enough to go through the journal again. “Derek,” she tapped her fingers against his chest gently, “What happens if it’s not that reason...what happens if it’s something else?” She whispered not wanting to think it, but knowing they needed to at least consider the possibility, even if she really didn’t want to.

Derek drew in a deep breath. “Then we figure that out. And we’ll talk to Scott. We won’t be able to leave him out of it at that point.” He didn’t feel right about leaving him out of it now. His loyalty to the pack’s alpha ran deep. “And then I guess...we’ll have to decide as a pack what happens next.” And it might all be a moot point if Stiles decided not to stay in town anyway.

“It doesn’t feel right keeping this from Scott, but god. I’ve had to feel his pain every day since Stiles has left. I don’t want to be the one to cause him more pain,” she said quietly, “And what if there’s a good reason like you said and I just didn’t get there because I was too scared to keep reading.” Lydia pursed her lips.

“I’m so tired of feeling everything, of all this pain that just sits there and never goes away. For once, I’d just like to be happy, just something positive. I feel like it’s just a never-ending cycle,” Lydia explained softly.

“It went away for awhile the other night.” Derek’s voice was quiet as he stroked her hair. “When Stiles was here.” He exhaled. “Want me to talk to him?”

“It did. It’s because I felt him again. I felt our connection and it was like something inside me righted itself. That piece that’s been missing since he left was back.” Lydia told him softly leaning into the calming touch. “But it’s gone again and the reminder of what it felt like makes not having it now even worse.” She admitted before shaking her head. “Somehow I don’t think that conversation would help. But thanks for the offer. You’re always looking out for me.” She patted his stomach lightly.

Derek wondered exactly why it was she could feel the tether bond with him sometimes, but not always, and why it wavered back and forth even now that he had returned to Beacon Hills. “I’ll always try,” he said quietly.

“It’s because you’re a good guy.” Lydia told him simply. She glanced at the clock on his wall and scrunched her nose. “School’s going to be getting out soon,” she commented, “Would you mind if I took a shower to wash the disgusting sweat off myself from my lovely walk over. I don’t even know how you're touching me right now.” She said with a short laugh, because if she didn’t laugh she might cry.

He chuckled softly. “Yeah, of course. You know where everything is.” He paused as he let her pull away and stand up. “Lydia.” He gazed up at her. “Whatever happens or...doesn’t happen with Stiles. You’re gonna be okay.”

She stood there angling her head to the side as she studied his face, “How could you possibly know that?” She asked softly.

Derek smiled faintly. “Because I know you.

Lydia sent him half a smiled and nodded. “You do.” she responded reaching out to squeeze his arm lightly. She turned and started heading for the stairs glancing over her shoulder, “Oh, and I left all of my stuff at Scott’s, so I hope my favorite t-shirt is clean because I can’t put these clothes back on. Ick.”

He chuckled. “It’s hanging back up in the closet. I did laundry yesterday.”

“God, I like you so much right now. Top of the friend list.” She motioned with her hand not like he wasn’t already there. She stepped up the first stair, “Now all I need is ice cream and the Notebook,” she commented with a grin making her way up the stairs.

Derek simply shook his head in amusement. Of course that’s what she wanted. Except it wasn’t. Not really. She wanted Stiles.

And Stiles was completely oblivious.

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