July 5, 2014

Drove Through Ghosts To Get Here 23/32

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: 23/32
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 | Nine | Ten |
Eleven | Twelve | Thirteen | Fourteen | Fifteen | Sixteen | Seventeen | Eighteen | 
Nineteen |Twenty |Twenty-One |Twenty-Two |

Chapter 23

Melissa looked around as she descended the stairs. Scott and Isaac were sitting in the kitchen at the table, talking quietly with Kira, while Stiles sat in the far corner of the living room, alone, with a book in his hands. It had been a year today since Allison had died. They’d all gone to the cemetery earlier and she and Michael were fixing a nice early dinner for everyone as a sort of informal memorial service. It was the least they could do.

She’d spent the day watching the interaction between the various members of her son’s pack. It seemed to have improved since Thanksgiving a bit, though there was still obvious tension that seemed to mostly surround Stiles, Lydia and Derek. She noticed that Kira tended to hang around the background of the group, and that surprisingly, Stiles did too, unless he was interacting with Scott or occasionally Cora or Isaac.

Once upon a time, she remembered how it was just Stiles and Scott, running around, playing and getting into trouble together. Their circle had expanded a great deal since they were younger. She wanted to help because she knew there was a lot that needed to be worked through, but she didn’t really know what to do. She sighed softly, looking over her shoulder as Michael descended the stairs behind her.

Michael adjusted his shirt finally comfortable now that he was out of his fancier clothes. He stepped off the last stair and glanced at Melissa whose eyes were on the kids in the other room. He could practically see the thoughts buzzing around her head. Michael came up behind her and wrapped his arms around her waist, pressing a light kiss to her shoulder. “Tell me what’s going through that head of yours,” he requested softly as his gaze darted to his son alone in the living room, a slight frown filling his face.

“Trying to figure out how to help,” she said quietly, covering his arms with her own. She sighed softly, leaning back against him.

Michael pursed his lips. “I hate to say it, but I don’t think this is something we can help with.” He responded softly. “Don’t get me wrong, I want to help them as much as you. I want to go in there and make it like the last year didn’t happen.” He pressed his lips together tightening his hold on Melissa.

“I want to go back to the days where the only thing we had to worry about was Stiles and Scott getting into trouble while wondering around the woods or skateboarding. But we can’t,” he whispered, “We need them to figure things out on their own this time.” Michael didn’t like it, but he knew that they all needed to find their own way and in order to do that; they needed to make their own decisions and fix what they’d essentially broken.

She sighed heavily. “I know. I know you’re right. I don’t like that you’re right, but I know that you are.” She was silent for a moment. She glanced up at him momentarily. “So I suppose we just do the parental thing and fix dinner like we planned.”

Michael cocked his head to the side. “Actually before we get dinner started, which I absolutely plan to help with,” he said with half a smile, “I was hoping we could talk about something. Something that I think might help the kids and us.” He told her quietly.

“Of course.” Her eyebrows furrowed a little, but she turned to face him. “What is it?”

Michael shifted back from her and took her hand tugging her gently down the hallway and towards the laundry room. He pulled her inside and shut the door before flicking the machine on making it whirl to life. “Werewolf hearing,” he explained when he saw the look on her face.

Michael pursed his lips. “I’ve been thinking a lot lately,” he paused in front of her and took her hands in his, “and I love this family we’ve built here. But I think sometimes the kids forget they can come to us. That no matter what we’re always going to be here even though their problems won’t be the typical teenage kind.” Michael added.

He squeezed her hands gently. “How would you feel if we talked to the kids about making this family a legally binding thing? Not just for you and me, but for all of us?” He asked quietly.

Melissa’s eyes widened a little. “You mean officially adopt Isaac and…” She knew what he meant. He wanted to legally claim Scott as his son. Her eyes watered and she swallowed, wrapping her arms around him. “Yeah, I’d like that very much.”

Michael relaxed slightly and slid his arms around Melissa. He’d been a little worried about her reaction, not that he thought she’d dislike the idea or anything, but still. He’d been kind of nervous. This wasn’t his typical move, grand gestures weren’t his thing.

But Michael felt like this would go a long way in showing the kids that they were all a family and making them see that despite everything they’d gone through they were still just kids. “I don’t want to cause problems between you and Rafael,” he said softly, “So if you think he’s going to be a problem we can find another way to do it. But I want them to know that you and me are their family. I want Scott and Stiles and Isaac to know that no matter the problem they have a home to come to so that we don’t have to worry about anyone leaving again. We can tackle things together.”

“Considering the way Rafael left things when he left town the last several times he’s popped in and out of our lives…” She pursed her lips. “It won’t be an issue. And I think you’re right. That’s important. That’s what matters.” Especially now. And especially with Stiles.

Michael smiled, “Then maybe after this newest threat goes away, we can sit them down and talk to them about it,” he said softly as he stepped forward and cupped her cheek. “I think this’ll be good for all of us.”

“So do I.” She leaned in, kissing him softly.

Michael returned the kiss, pulling back a minute later. “We should get back out there.” He said quietly knowing more people would be showing up soon.

“More cooking to be done,” Melissa agreed with a nod, reaching down and taking his hand in hers before leading the way out of the laundry room.


Scott rubbed the back of his neck as he listened to Isaac talking. The early afternoon had been hard. Going to the cemetery again, seeing Allison’s headstone, somehow it made things a lot more final, not that Scott didn’t already know they were final. He cleared his throat and tried to focus on Isaac words, “It was nice getting everyone together like that, for her,” Scott agreed as he leaned back in his chair.

Kira reached out and laid her hand over his, squeezing lightly. “Yeah, it was,” she said softly. She was worried about Scott, had seen him struggling all day. She knew he needed a breather of some kind, but she wasn’t sure how to help, either.

Scott glanced over at Kira and lifted his hand resting it over hers, a soft smile pulling at his lips as he glanced at her. He knew she wanted to help him and it meant the world to him they she’d stayed by his side all day. He squeezed her hand gently.

Isaac looked between them, shifting in his chair and cocking his head right as the doorbell rang. “Cora,” he announced, rising to his feet.

Scott blinked at Isaac’s words, not able to help the grin that pulled at his lips at his friend’s immediate response to Cora getting to the house. He nodded toward the door, “Well don’t keep her waiting,” he said lightly.

Issac paused, then grinned sheepishly, ducking his head as he moved toward the front door, glancing over at Stiles for a second before unlocking and opening the door to greet Cora. “Hey.” He stepped aside to let her in.

Cora sent Isaac half a smile and stepped into the house, “Hey,” she said keeping her tone light. Once Isaac closed the door she rested a hand on his arm, squeezing gently. “How are you?” Cora wasn’t typically one for emotions, but she knew this day had to be hard for Isaac and she was determined to be there for him.

Isaac smiled faintly but it didn’t reach his eyes. “I’m okay,” he said quietly. He hesitated. “I’m glad you’re here.”

Cora swallowed hard, “Sure,” she said softly, not really sure what else to say. “Is Scott here too?” she asked letting her hand slip from his arm as she stood beside him.

“Yeah. He and Kira are in the kitchen.” He closed the door behind her, motioning her in that direction.

Cora nodded and started walking in that direction, but paused and reached out for him tugging him with her carefully. “Sorry I didn’t get here sooner,” she commented, “I was talking with my brother,” she commented.

“It’s fine,” he assured her, following her toward the kitchen. “You want something to drink? Melissa made tea and lemonade.”

Cora nodded, “Sure lemonade sounds good.” She said spotting Scott and Kira. She lifted a hand and waved at them before taking a seat in one of the empty chairs. “Hey,” she said lightly. Cora wasn’t great with this kind of stuff and she wasn’t really sure what to do or say. But she knew being there was important for morale support.

“Hi,” Kira greeted with an easy smile. She tucked some hair behind her ear and shifted slightly in her chair. She’d just seen the other girl a few hours ago but they hadn’t really talked much. Actually they never really talked much. “Ms. McCall and the sheriff are cooking a ton of food. Everything smells really good and it’s making me hungry.”

Cora blinked glancing away from Isaac who was pouring her lemonade to the small girl across from her. “It does smell good.” She added finally noticing that Scott’s Mom and Stiles’ Dad were in the kitchen near the counter. She shifted in her seat. “Hi,” she said with a slight wave suddenly feeling a bit awkward even though she knew there was no reason to.

Michael glanced over and smiled. “Hi Cora, how are you?”

She nodded, “Good,” she told him as Isaac made his way back over to the table and sat down beside her sliding her drink towards her carefully. “There you go.”

Kira ducked her head, falling silent once more for the time being. It wasn’t that she disliked anyone in the pack. Everyone had been really nice to her -- including the twins, even if Aiden still made her a little uneasy at times. She just wasn’t great at fitting in, even after over a year.

“Who wants a chilli taste test?” Melissa asked, dipping a little bit of the stuff into a small cup and glancing around.

Scott glanced over and shook his head. “I’m not too hungry just yet, maybe in a little bit.” He said lightly.

Isaac wasn’t really hungry either, but he saw the dip in Melissa’s expression and he pointed to Cora, “We’ll have some,” he said with half a smile.

Kira glanced around briefly before her eyes fell on Scott. She patted his hand, “I’ll be right back,” she squeezed his hand gently and when he nodded she got up and moved out of the kitchen heading towards the bathroom pausing when she saw Stiles sitting on the couch alone reading a book. Kira hesitated before changing course and walking into the living room.

She sat down on the same couch as Stiles resting her hands on her legs. “Hey, mind if I sit here?” Kira hadn’t exactly needed to use the bathroom, but she figured she’d give them a chance to talk and take a little break for herself.

Stiles blinked a couple of times, looking up at her and relaxing when he saw who it was. “Oh. Yeah, of course. Make yourself at home.” He smiled faintly at her, marking his place in the book. “Everything okay?” He cast a glance toward the kitchen and then back at her.

Kira nodded, “Yeah, Cora just got here and they’re talking...I just thought I’d give them some time to catch up and stuff,” she explained as she leaned back on the couch and took a deep breath. Kira glanced over at Stiles’ book. “What are you reading?” She asked curiously.

Nodding, too, Stiles closed the book so she could see the cover of the book Braeden had brought him from South America and Lydia had translated. “I’m just...going over the ritual again. Trying to get it straight in my head,” he explained. He was afraid he was going to mess it up. He was a budding emissary, but magic still scared the hell out of him in a lot of ways. There were a lot of things that could go wrong. The better prepared he was, the more likely things would go smoothly when it was time.

Kira shifted a little closer to him glancing at the front of the book. “It looks really old. And I think the fact that it’s in a different language is awesome,” she said with a grin. “I know a lot of older books about rituals and stuff are in a different language. Lydia’s good at that kind of stuff, translating and things. She’s pretty useful,” unlike her. Kira still wasn’t really sure where she fit in or what exactly it was that she offered the pack.

He could practically sense her nervousness and he shifted slightly, angling his body toward her. “Yeah, I think it’s an ancient culture thing. I mean, most aren’t in English because by the time the English language rolled around, people weren’t really following older religions as much, and they didn’t see the point of rituals and then there was the whole...witch hunting thing.” He smiled, holding the book out to her so she could look at it if she wanted.

Kira took the book and glanced over it, running her hand over the cover and then opening it up. “I like research,” she admitted, “There’s just something about being informed that I like you know? Because there’s so much information and knowledge and it’s good to have that, the information I mean.” She babbled.

Kira bit her bottom lip. “So, uh how are you doing? This is a pretty hard day for everyone.” She commented, she knew she didn’t know Allison well, but it was hard for her too. Kira didn’t like seeing her friends in pain.

Stiles watched her for a moment, wanting to say or do something that would help put her more at ease, but not entirely sure how to go about that yet. “I’m okay,” he told her with a nod, even if he was somewhere between dying for a cigarette (five days without now, he congratulated himself mentally), or a Xanax. “How are you?”

Kira blinked and glanced at Stiles. “Me?” She asked realizing that no one had actually asked her that before. Not that she blamed them. She and Allison hadn’t been close and it made sense that people didn’t really think to ask her about it. But honestly she felt sort of guilty; after all it was her mom who’d called upon the Nogitsune in the first place all those years ago. And look at all the damage it had caused.

Kira shrugged and glanced down before handing the book back to Stiles. “I’m okay, just you know taking things a day at a time.”

Stiles paused at her surprise and realized no one had thought to ask her how she was doing. Sure, maybe she and Allison hadn’t had a chance to really be friends, but she’d been there, helping that night. Helping from the get go, really, as soon as she knew what was happening. And she’d witnessed Allison’s death the same way that Scott and Isaac had. Whether she knew Allison well or not, that was bound to be traumatic.

Stiles set the book down between them as he nodded. “Yeah, that’s...really all anyone can do,” he said quietly. He looked down for a moment and then back up at her. “I haven’t really had a chance to talk to you since I got back, but...I want to say thanks. For everything you did to help...save my life.”

Kira’s cheeks warmed, “Oh, no, you don’t need to thank me for that.” She told Stiles’, “I mean the whole thing; it’s sort of my Mom’s fault you know?” She asked as she tucked some hair behind her ear, “I mean if she hadn’t called on the Nogitsune all of this wouldn’t have happened,” Kira said quietly. “I kind of owe you an apology.” she told him.

Stiles reached out and laid a hand on her arm. “No, you really don’t. And your mom…” He hesitated. “When you’re really hurting and you’re lost, sometimes you just...make some bad choices that make things worse than you thought they would.” He understood that now. He wished he didn’t, really. “Your mom was -- she went through something pretty terrible. And she made a bad choice, but...my guess is she’s paid for that in a lot of ways over the years.” His voice was quiet.

Kira was silent for a minute as she watched Stiles, “Thanks,” she said softly. “I never really looked at it that way before,” which was true, she hadn’t. But in a way she guessed that Stiles was right. Kira reached out hesitantly and rested a hand on Stiles’ leg. “I’m really glad you decided to come back.” She said lightly with a small smile.

“Just call me perspective guy,” he joked, giving her arm a squeeze before pulling his hand away. “And...me too.” He studied her. “And thanks for looking out for Scott.” His voice dropped a little. “He really likes you a lot. All this stuff…” He motioned to the book between them. “It’s...he needs normalcy in his life and you help with that. He needs that. He needs you.

Kira swallowed hard and glanced down for a minute before catching Stiles’ gaze. “Thanks. Sometimes...I kind of wonder. I mean not about Scott. I know he cares and he tries so hard...I don’t know,” she shrugged. “And I’m not exactly normal…” she told him letting her voice trail off.

“You’re exactly Scott’s kind of normal.” He smiled.

Kira chuckled and glanced down her cheeks flushing again. “That’s good to hear.” She told him before glancing up. “Ms. McCall is giving out food, well having people test it.” She said after a pause. “You should come in the kitchen and have some.” Kira commented.

Stiles hesitated, glancing toward the kitchen, and then nodding slowly. How was he going to help integrate her into the pack if he kept skirting around the edges of it himself? It could be done, but it wouldn’t be an easy feat. He rose to his feet, holding his hand out to help her up. “Melissa’s an awesome cook.”

Kira nodded, “She is,” she said while taking his hand. “She’s always really great about that, cooking for the whole pack. You guys have really cool parents and thanks for inviting mine over for Thanksgiving.” She said in a rush of words. “I know that was a little awkward, but I’m hoping...I don’t know. I thought it would help a little.” Kira explained.

Stiles helped her to her feet. “Yeah, we do,” he agreed quietly, offering her a small smile. “And it was fine, Kira. It was awkward, but it wasn’t because of your parents.” His voice was reassuring. It had been awkward because he’d been there. Not because of the presence of the Yukimura’s.

Kira paused, “Stiles,” she hesitated, “I know you’ve been kind of worried about being back and stuff, but I think it’s really great you’re here. Scott was sort of lost without you.” She told him quietly. “He seems a lot more like himself now that you’re home.” She shifted on her feet.

“I know a lot of stuff is different,” Kira tucked some hair behind her ear, “But things haven’t been the same without you and I know that sounds super weird coming from me because I haven’t even been around that long,” she rushed on, “But I can see the difference in everyone, being on the outside of the group kind of helps with that I guess.” she shrugged.

Stiles paused when she did, turning his head to study her and exhaling as she spoke. “I’m...glad that I came back, even though in a lot of ways it’s...difficult,” he said honestly. “Even though I wasn’t sure I really wanted to come back.”

Stiles met her eyes, smiling faintly at her words, and nodding to acknowledge her words. “Thanks. That’s...good to know,” he admitted.

Kira smiled softly, “Cool,” she said softly before glancing towards the kitchen, “We should probably try to grab some chilli before they eat it all,” she joked taking a few steps towards the kitchen.

“Especially considering Scott and Isaac are in there,” he responded with a smirk.

“We heard that,” Isaac said wryly.

“Meant for you to.”

Scott smiled at the sound of his best friend and Kira. “Well come on in here guys, Stiles, Cora is here.” He said lightly smiling at the youngest Hale briefly. Neither smile reached his eyes, but it was something. “We’ve got some chilli for you guys don’t worry.”

“Oh, good.” Stiles moved into the kitchen, Kira by his side and met Scott’s eyes momentarily before getting a bowl down from the cabinet and dishing himself out a little bit of chilli. He moved over and sat down beside his friend silently, reaching out and laying a hand on his back, pushing the bowl to him.

Scott arched an eyebrow, “You’re giving me your Chilli?” He asked as Kira sat on the other side of him. Scott lifted his hand and rested it on the back of her chair as he glanced at his friend. “I already had some, you eat it, it’s fine.” He said quietly.

“Hell, I’ll eat it,” said Isaac and when Cora nudged him with her foot he cleared his throat, “If no one else is gonna eat it I mean.”

Wordlessly Stiles slid the bowl across the table to Isaac.

Kira watched the exchange before shifting her gaze back to Scott. She reached out and laid a hand on his arm. “When are the others coming over?” she asked mostly to try and distract him.

Scott glanced over at Kira and he cocked his head to the side. “Chris should be here soon,” he told her keeping his tone light, “I’m not sure about the twins...I don’t know if they’re coming and I haven’t talked to Derek and Lydia since the cemetery.” He said quietly. “I’m sure they’ll be here soon though.” It had been an emotional morning for all of them starting off with Stiles and Lydia’s nightmares and then visiting the cemetery.

Kira nodded slightly, moving to stand up again. “My turn for chilli,” she announced, heading over to the stove and picking up a bowl.

Stiles rubbed a hand over his jaw, yawning involuntarily and letting his eyes close for a moment. He jumped when a hand landed on his shoulder and he looked up to see his dad standing there. He relaxed again and offered him a small smile. “Hey.”

Michael smiled, but there was worry on his face, “You alright?” He asked noticing the way his son kept yawning. He looked exhausted and it had Michael wondering exactly what all these teenagers were doing at Derek’s apartment all night long if they weren’t getting any sleep.

“Yeah. Just sleepy,” he assured his dad, patting his hand. Between being woken up from a nightmare and taking more Xanax than he was used to taking, sleep was definitely tugging at him, which meant he needed coffee.

Michael nodded. “I can see that,” he said patting his sons back before glancing at Kira and Cora. “You ladies need anything to drink?” He asked as he moved over to the refrigerator.

Cora shook her head and motioned to Isaac’s drink since she finished her lemonade, “Isaac is sharing.”

Michael’s gaze shifted to Kira. She smiled. “Sure, water would be great thanks Mr. Stilinski.”

Stiles yawned again and rose to his feet, moving over to the coffee pot and setting a fresh pot of coffee to brew. “Anyone else want coffee?” he offered as he reached up into the cabinet to grab a mug down.

“I’ll have a cup,” Melissa told him with a small smile.

“Cool.” He got down a second mug and set them on the counter as he waited wondering if this was how the entire afternoon was going to be.

Outside Lydia sat in Derek’s truck glancing at the Stilinski household and it felt like Thanksgiving all over again. She’d been quiet most of the morning since waking up the second time thankfully not because of a nightmare, but because she’d needed to get ready to go to the cemetery. Lydia swallowed hard. She didn’t understand why this was so difficult for her. Everybody else seemed to be taking things in stride, even Scott and yet she couldn’t seem to stop crying. At least she hadn’t been able to at the cemetery.

She rested her hands on her lap and pursed her lips. “Just give me another minute, please.” She said softly glancing up and out of the window when she heard another car pulling up the street.

Derek drew in a breath and reached out, laying a hand on her shoulder. “Of course,” he said quietly.

Lydia tilted her head to the side and spotted Chris getting out of his car. Lydia was pretty sure he spotted them at almost the same time because he changed directions and started walking towards the truck.

Chris paused by Derek’s window and arched an eyebrow tapping on it lightly even though they could see him clearly.

Derek rolled down the truck’s window and offered Chris a small smile. “Hey.”

Chris shifted his gaze from Derek to Lydia after returning the faint smile, worry in his eyes. “Lydia. You all right?” His voice was quite, concerned.

Lydia swallowed hard and glanced at Chris. Her chest tightening, “Yeah, I’m alright. How are you?” She asked not wanting him to waste his time worrying about her when really she should be making sure he was okay. Lydia unbuckled her seatbelt and pushed open the door.

Chris cast a glance at Derek, eyes worried before moving to meet the red-head at the front of the truck and wrapping his arms around her. “I’m okay,” he said quietly.

Lydia hesitated for a second before winding her arms around Chris’ neck and hugging him back. She could feel the moisture gathering in her eyes and she swallowed hard pushing the tears away. Lydia tightened her grip on him briefly before shifting back enough to see him.

She glanced behind her and saw Derek standing near the curb. Lydia pursed her lips and glanced back at Chris. “I was hoping we’d run into you. There’s something I needed to tell you and I was hoping to do it before we got inside.” She told him softly.

Chris studied her, eyebrows furrowing slightly. “Of course, Lydia. What is it?”

Lydia opened her mouth, but she couldn’t seem to make any words come out. What if what she was about to tell him did more harm than good? What if he didn’t believe her? Lydia bit her bottom lip. “I saw her,” she told him quietly. “I know it doesn’t make sense,” she told him rushing on with her words before he could say anything.

“She said she loves you.” Lydia whispered trying to keep her emotions under control.

Chris was silent for a moment. “You saw her in another dream,” he guessed. “Except it wasn’t really just a dream.”

Lydia shook her head, “When my heart stopped after I used my abilities to help Stiles. I saw her there...in Bardo. She’s been looking after us.” She told him quietly.

Derek winced, He’d forgotten to tell Chris about that. There had been a lot going on at the time, but he still should have made time to tell him.

Chris stared at Lydia with wide eyes and then looked at Derek. “I’m sorry, what? Your heart stopped?”

Lydia opened her mouth and then closed it. She glanced over her shoulder at Derek and he stepped forward.

“I didn’t have a chance to mention that.” Derek said apologetically. “Stiles and Lydia went out to meet Scott in the woods and Stiles was attacked.” He knew Chris knew that part because he’d stayed with Stiles and Scott’s parents for a couple of days while they were holed up in the loft.

Lydia nodded, “It was a bad reaction to using all that power,” she shrugged, “I’m okay now though.” Even though she still wasn’t 100 percent and still got tired way too easily. Lydia didn’t want to trouble Chris with that. “I was in Bardo, that’s where I saw her...Stiles too.” Lydia’s chest tightened, “She seemed...peaceful.” Lydia whispered as she lifted a hand and brushed a tear from her eyes before it could fall.

For a long moment Chris didn’t know what to say. Then he rubbed a hand over his face, shutting his eyes and exhaling slowly. Then he looked at Lydia once more, troubled. “The two of you need to get this connection straightened out,” he said quietly. He swallowed hard and looked down at the ground. “But I’m not surprised that she’s looking after us. It’s...what she did.”

“It’s what she does,” Lydia corrected. She placed a hand on Chris’ arm. “Even though she isn’t here,” she paused swallowing hard, “Allison is still protecting us...still trying to help because she’s a hero.” Lydia whispered the words, her eyes burning, but she didn’t let the tears fall. “She’s here in our hearts always...and sometimes in a place I can reach her. I told her how much we love and miss her,” Lydia glanced down briefly swallowing over the lump in her throat.

“It’s going to be okay,” she offered even though the words hurt to say. But somehow knowing Allison was there even now...it made things a little easier for her so maybe it would help Chris too.

Chris drew in a breath and let it out slowly, leaning forward and pressing a kiss against Lydia’s forehead the way he used to do his daughter’s. “I know,” he said quietly.

Lydia swallowed hard at the gesture. Chris Argent had been more of a father to her over the past year than her own father had been in a long time and she was more grateful than words could ever really express.

Derek watched them for a moment before Lydia pulled away from Chris. She stepped back and said something about ringing the doorbell. His gaze followed her for a moment as she wiped her eyes before he turned to Chris.

They fell in step beside each other just behind Lydia and he sent the other man a sideways glance. “I’m sorry I forget to tell you about Lydia the last time we spoke.”

“We’ve been pretty busy focusing on this daeva situation,” Chris said after a moment. “How’s that going on your end of things?”

“You mean am I ready for it to be over so everyone will get out of my apartment including my psychotic uncle?” Derek cocked his head to the side, “Why, yes, I am.” Derek pursed his lips briefly. “Not all that great, though Stiles thinks he might have found a solution in a book that a friend of his brought to town the other day.” He explained.

“A solution at this point would be pretty great.” Chris cocked his head to the side. “I’ve been going through the bestiary. There’s one vague mention of daevas but it just says that at the point of recording they were believed to be nothing more than myth. Obviously I’ll be altering that,” he said wryly.

Derek smirked, “Yeah, that would probably be a smart move considering.” He said pausing behind Lydia. He looked away from Chris and rested a hand against her lower back, “It’s usually helpful if you actually press the button,” he commented softly.

Lydia glanced over her shoulder and sent them both a sheepish look. “Well obviously.” she said before reaching out and ringing the bell a small hint of anxiety welling in her chest not sure who was going to answer the door. A part of her hoped it was Stiles since she hadn’t seen much of him outside the cemetery that morning since their nightmares. But the other part of her hoped it wasn’t. Lydia just couldn’t win.

A moment later, Melissa McCall appeared at the doorway and greeted them with a soft smile. “Come on in. The chilli’s ready for anyone who’s hungry, and we’re working on the rest. Everyone’s in the kitchen.”

Lydia returned her smile with a small one of her own. She stepped inside and took a deep breath. "It smells delicious," she told her softly. With everything that had been going own lately, Lydia hadn't seen much of Scott's mom. With all the supernatural monsters after them and the wedding plans on hold it was hard to stay in touch, but Lydia made a mental note to make sure she made plans with the other woman soon.

Derek and Chris followed her inside. Chris shifted away from Derek and pulled Melissa into an easy hug. "Thank you again for doing this Melissa. It was really great of you to offer." He told her as he pulled away, a warm smile pulling at his lips. Michael and Melissa had been pretty great the past year and Chris was grateful. Allison's death had brought them all closer together.

“You’re very welcome,” Melissa assured him, patting his back gently before turning to Lydia and pulling her into a hug, as well.

Lydia wrapped her arms around Scott’s mom enjoying the motherly hug. “It’s good to see you,” she replied softly.

Melissa kissed her cheek before pulling away to look at her. “Likewise, Sweetheart. Are you hungry?”

Honestly she wasn’t, but Lydia just smiled, “If you’re cooking, absolutely.” She told Melissa softly as Chris and Derek shifted forward. Derek shrugged off his jacket and hung it up near the door. Chris did the same.

“Well, Michael and I both are, actually. But I’m definitely the better cook in the house.” Her voice was light and joking.

Chris chuckled and shook his head, her words making him smile. He was glad he let them convince him to come. He placed a hand on Derek’s shoulder, “I’m going to go grab some chili while I still can,” he commented, “Coming?” He asked as he dropped his hand and walked around Melissa and Lydia.

Derek nodded and followed him into the kitchen, leaving Melissa and Lydia in the hallway.

“How are you doing?” Melissa asked quietly, tucking some hair behind Lydia’s ear. “Is there anything that I can do for you?”

Lydia swallowed hard at Melissa’s words. Scott’s mom really was one of the best women she knew. Lydia hoped that if she ever got around to the whole marriage and kid thing, that she’d be more like Melissa and less like her mom. Lydia knew the thought was harsh. She loved her mother, but she lacked a lot of the actual skills to parent.

Lydia shook her head lightly. “No, I’m alright,” she said softly, “But thank you.” Her words were sincere. “Do you need any help?” She asked, “You’re probably doing a dozen things at once and I don’t mind being useful,” she told her with half a smile.

Melissa smiled softly at that, nodding. “How do you feel about chopping vegetables for the salad?”

“I feel like you should definitely see my newly developed knife skills.” Lydia said with a grin, though it didn’t fully reach her eyes, but she was trying. “I can hit moving targets and everything,” she paused, “Not that the vegetables will be moving.” Lydia added.

Melissa laughed softly. “If they do you’re welcome to throw knives at them. Just be careful of those of us who don’t heal in minutes.”

Lydia ducked her head, “Don’t worry, I’ve got pretty good aim,” she joked though it was true. She shifted forward, “Any chance you have something I can put over my dress?” Lydia asked resting a hand against her stomach. It wasn’t anything fancy, but it was a gift from Allison, though she was sure no one probably knew that.

“I have aprons in the kitchen. I hope you don’t mind that the one you’ll be wearing says ‘Kiss the Cook.’”

Lydia smiled, “Not at all.” She said as she walked with Melissa towards the kitchen.

Melissa patted her back lightly as they walked into the kitchen together. She moved over to the hook on the wall and pulled the red apron down, handing it over to Lydia.

Lydia took the apron from Melissa and slipped it over her head tying it slowly around the back as she turned around.

Stiles looked up from where he was pouring his coffee, glancing over to where Lydia had walked in and holding his breath. “Hi,” he said softly.

Lydia paused at the sound of Stiles voice and glanced over at him, her heart suddenly pounding against her chest. She held his gaze, her chest constricting slightly at the look on Stiles face. “Hey,” she replied just as softly her hands smoothing down the apron as she stood frozen a few feet away from him.

Stiles felt his chest tighten painfully and he swallowed hard because by now he recognized it as how she felt and not his own feeling. “Coffee?” he asked, holding the cup out to her.

Lydia glanced at the cup and then back at Stiles, “No thank you,” she paused, realizing her abrupt answer had sounded rude. She could feel the eyes on them from the table, but she ignored it. Lydia slipped her finger beneath the strap and tugged lightly on the apron, “I’m going to help Melissa with dinner,” she explained. She couldn’t really do that while drinking coffee, plus she wasn’t really in the mood for any.

“Right. Okay.” Stiles diverted his eyes immediately, turning away from her and carrying his cup toward the living room, avoiding everyone else’s eyes on the way, as well.

Cora shot Lydia an annoyed look, even if she managed to stay quiet for the time being.

Guilt filled Lydia’s chest as she watched Stiles go. She stood there for a minute ignoring the look Cora was sending her way even though she knew she deserved it. He was trying and she was being a bitch. She knew Stiles loved her and she loved him. Lydia wished she could just forgive him, forget everything and just be here with him, but her nightmare from earlier had brought all of her fears to the forefront of her mind and with the day and everything, her emotions were on overload.

Maybe she was the bad guy in all of this. She was being selfish. Lydia turned away from the table and glanced down briefly. She could feel the hint of moisture in her eyes and she cleared her throat. Lydia gazed at Melissa, “I’m just going to go to the bathroom real quick...wash my hands and then I’ll get on those vegetables.” She said moving out of the kitchen and towards the hallway before anyone had a chance to say anything.

Isaac glanced up from his bowl of Chili finally noticing Chris and Derek and giving them a slight wave hello before glancing around the room. “She knows there’s a sink right here...right?” He asked nonchalantly as he pulled another spoonful of chili into his mouth.

Chris reached over and patted Isaac’s shoulder fondly. “I’m sure she knows.” He took a bite of his chili, as well, glancing at Derek with worried eyes.

Kira shifted uncomfortably in her seat and looked from Cora to Scott.

Michael leaned against the counter and shook his head. “Someone needs to throw those two in a small confined space and lock them in. I’ve never seen anything so ridiculous in my life,” he said as he tossed one of the dish towels on the counter.

The room was silent for a minute before Isaac snorted, which made Scott laugh softly.

Michael arched an eyebrow when Melissa looked at him, “What? No one else was going to say it.” He told her.

Scott shook his head, grin still on his face. “I’m not entirely sure that would solve their problems,” they’d most likely just end up having sex again, he added silently, which apparently hadn’t worked out so well for them since they were still having issues.

“Sweetheart, let’s not encourage the children to have sex,” Melissa said wryly, patting Michael’s arm.

Scott nearly choked on his drink, a loud spurting noise coming from his mouth as he coughed, drawing everyone’s attention to him. He sucked in a sharp breath and coughed again. Scott lifted a napkin and wiped his mouth before glancing up at his mom and the sheriff who were looking at him funny. “Uh, it went down the wrong pipe?”

Michael arched an eyebrow, “Is that a question or a statement?”

Scott’s brows furrowed, “Both?”

Michael sighed and shook his head before resting a hand on Melissa’s waist. “And for the record I’m encouraging no such thing. That’s the last thing either of them needs.” He said pointedly.

“What’s the last thing who needs?” Lydia asked as she made her way back into the kitchen wiping her hands on the apron as she glanced down her curls falling forward with the dip of her head.

“Agreed,” Melissa said with a soft sigh, glancing over at Lydia as she returned. “To get sick right now, before Christmas.” There was no hint of deception in her voice. The kids weren’t the only ones who’d gotten good at lying the last couple of years.

Lydia tilted her head, “Oh, I couldn’t agree more. I hate being sick, especially during holidays,” she said lightly having composed herself from her earlier moment of weakness. “I always wind up in bed.”

Isaac snorted and Cora kicked him under the table.

Lydia looked over her shoulder and glanced at them funny before her gaze found Derek’s. She arched a questioning eyebrow at him.

Derek just shrugged at her, and rolled his eyes. Teenagers.

Cora smirked. “Imagine that,” she said lightly, taking a drink.

“Actually it was a wall,” mumbled Scott as he took a sip of his water, not speaking loud enough for Lydia or his parents to hear.

Isaac made a face, “Oh god,” he pushed his chili away, “Thanks, Scott. How am I supposed to finish my chili now? That was just mean.” He said with a huff. He glanced at Cora, “Want to come inside with me and see what Stiles is up to?” He asked glancing at her.

“Ugh. Way too much information,” she grumbled, glaring at Scott momentarily before rising to her feet. “Sure after I finish throwing up.”

Kira bit down hard on her lip to keep from laughing.

Scott grinned his expression amused as he glanced at Kira briefly before looking over at Chris and Derek, “There are some seats now if you guys want to sit down,” he motioned to the empty seats that Cora and Isaac had just vacated.

Chris shook his head slightly before taking Isaac’s seat and watching as Derek sat down in Cora’s. He met Derek’s eyes for a moment, question in his gaze as he started to eat his chilli.

Derek glanced at Chris and shrugged as he took a bite of his chili also.

Scott glanced at Kira and rested his arm over her shoulders before glancing over at his Mom, the sheriff and Lydia. “Hey mom you could probably use an extra pair of hands in here, right?” He asked lightly.

“Always,” Melissa answered, arching an eyebrow as she looked at him. “Are you offering?”

Scott pointed to himself, “Me, no,” he shook his head, “We want dinner to be edible,” he told her. “But I know the perfect person.” He said before pushing his chair back and standing. He held a hand out to Kira and nodded towards the living room.

Kira slid her hand into his with a tiny, knowing smile. “We’ll be right back.”

Scott walked with Kira out of the kitchen sending her a sideways glance. “Thanks for being here today,” he said softly.

“Nowhere else I’d rather be,” she said honestly, giving his hand a squeeze.

Scott’s expression softened and he squeezed her hand gently as they walked into the living room. He spotted Stiles; coffee still in his hand, “Hey man,” his tone was light. “Mom wanted me to come tell you she needed some help in the kitchen.” He said keeping his tone steady.

Stiles glanced up from the book he was reading again and narrowed his eyes. “Is that a fact?” he asked wryly.

Scott nodded, “It is,” he said lightly. “And stop giving me that look. So untrusting,” he commented his gaze shifting briefly to Isaac and Cora.

Stiles snorted, setting his coffee cup down on a coaster and closing the book, setting it down on the opposite table so it didn’t wind up getting coffee spilled on it before rising to his feet. “Let it be known that I think this is a ruse and I’ve known you since I was five so I know what I’m talking about.”

Scott cocked his head to the side and studied his best friend, “Let it be known that I don’t care,” he joked lightly, his mood slightly less sad than earlier. “I can’t help man, you know I can’t. I’m forever adding things that shouldn’t be added and putting stuff on for too long.” Which was true.

Stiles rolled his eyes at Scott and shook his head as he moved past him. “Good thing I love you, dude,” he mumbled as he headed for the kitchen, grabbing an apron off the hanger and slipping it on.

Melissa glanced at Stiles, not missing a beat, “Oh good, Scott found you.” She said lightly and Derek found himself wondering how she did it. He’d barely registered any kind of change in her heartbeat, then again she had really only stated a fact, not outright lied. Maybe that was the key.

Lydia glanced over her shoulder briefly to see who Melissa was talking to and her heart immediately jumped in her chest when she spotted Stiles.

Stiles chewed his lower lip as he turned toward Melissa and Lydia, avoiding the latter’s eyes. “All right, put me to work. What needs to get done?”

Melissa smiled and shifted, “Why don’t you help Lydia cut the vegetables and then you can help me with the sauce when that’s done?” She asked as Michael pressed a kiss to the side of her head and then shifted back heading for the hallway.

“Yeah, I can do that.” Stiles moved over to the knife drawer, pulling one out and moving over to stand beside the strawberry blonde, their arms brushing lightly as he reached for one of the tomatoes. He held his breath, turning his head to look at her.

Lydia sucked in a sharp breath when his arm brushed against hers. It sent a spark straight through her causing her to hand to slip slightly making the knife catch her finger.

Lydia inhaled deeply, a soft noise slipping from her throat as she paused in cutting the peppers in front of her.

Stiles’ eyes widened and he quickly set his own knife down on the counter, winding his fingers around her wrist and gently tugging her over to the sink without a word, turning on the cold water and placing her finger under it. “You okay?” The alarm in his voice was obvious.

“I,” she paused her finger throbbing slightly, “No- I mean yes,” Lydia glanced at Stiles, the heat from his hand against her skin making her swallow heavily. She could feel her heart thumping wildly against her chest again and she found herself wondering briefly if she would always react to his touch this way.

“It doesn’t really hurt,” she said softly not bothering to pull away from him, her gaze never leaving his general vicinity.

As his initial panic at the sight of her blood wore off, he felt it too and he sucked in a breath, meeting her eyes momentarily and giving her a strained smile. “Good,” he murmured. “That’s good. We should...probably go get a band aid for it, though.”

Lydia bit her lower lip, “A band aid,” she nodded her head, “It’s a good idea. The amount of bacteria in an average kitchen would probably surprise you and then the types that can get inside the body,” Lydia paused as a very inappropriate thought about certain things getting inside of her body caused her entire thought process to break down. She felt her body grow warm as an overwhelming need to be closer to Stiles grew in the pit of her stomach. Lydia swallowed hard. “Rambling,” she said simply.

Stiles was having a hard time focusing on her words once she’d agreed with him and he simply nodded in agreement to whatever she’d said. “Probably needs peroxide too, first.” He kept his grip on her wrist and shut off the water, gently pulling her out of the kitchen and away from the bemused looks of everyone inside. He guided her down the hall and into the bathroom, closing the door behind them and meeting her eyes again. Wordlessly he shifted closer to her and dipped his head to kiss her.

Lydia reached up and cupped his cheeks, returning the kiss enthusiastically. She moved her lips over his, opening them beneath his giving him access to mouth and letting him deepen the kiss before he’d even tried to. Lydia shifted closer to him, her body humming with approval at his proximity. God, she’d missed him.

One of Stiles’ hands reached up and gently threaded through her hair as the kiss quickly deepened. If it weren’t for the fact that there were several super-hearing powered werewolves, plus his dad and Melissa and Chris Argent in the other room, he’d have been removing her clothes already even if he wasn’t fully healed yet. As it was, he pressed himself closer to her, letting her feel how much he already wanted her just from the brief contact.

Lydia groaned against his lips at the feel of his body responding to her. Her hand left his face and slid down his shoulder, arm and then eventually curled into his shirt. She shifted back tugging him with her so she was pressed against the bathroom counter with him against her. Lydia’s lungs burned with a need for oxygen, but she kept her mouth fused to his for another few seconds before breaking the kiss.

Lydia was breathing heavy as she brushed her thumb against his cheek and leaned forward letting her lips brush against his before nipping at his bottom lip, letting her teeth catch the skin gently as her hand unclenched from his shirt and gently rubbed against his side.

Stiles swallowed heavily, picking her up and setting her down on the counter by the sink, wincing as the movement pulled at his stitches. He cupped her face in one hand and kissed her again, but keeping it softer this time before breaking away and leaning his forehead against hers. His eyes were darker than usual as he pulled away to look at her before opening the medicine cabinet and grabbing the bottle of peroxide and a band aid, forcing himself to take a deep breath.

Lydia ran her tongue over her bottom lip as she watched him, her pulse beating frantically beneath her skin. She tried to focus on something other than him, but it was hard. She watched him open the bottle as she slid one hand beneath his shirt warmth stirring inside of her as her palm grazed his skin. “Does it hurt?” She asked her voice barely a whisper as she tried to control the urge to say the hell with it all and demand he take her right on the counter.

Stiles licked his lips as he gently poured the peroxide on her finger to clean the cut and shuddered involuntarily as he felt her hand against his bare skin. “Not like it did,” he said thickly, putting the lid back on the bottle and tearing the paper off the band aid strip before gently wrapping it around her finger. He turned his gaze to meet hers once more.

Lydia brushed her finger against his skin again enjoying the way he leaned into her touch. “That’s good,” she told him as her gaze shifting between her finger and his eyes. “Kiss it better?” She requested holding his gaze.

Stiles drew in a breath, lifting her fingertips to his mouth and kissing them softly without a word. He held her gaze as he threaded his fingers through hers and kissed the back of her hand lightly, then shut his eyes.

Lydia sucked in a sharp breath, but this time it wasn’t because of his mouth surprisingly enough. She could feel him, feel what he was feeling and the utter warmth of the love she felt pouring from him made her want to cry. Lydia pulled him closer, “I’m sorry,” she whispered her words shaky. “I don’t want to be away from you...God Stiles,” she gripped him tighter, his emotions filling her, wrapping around her and filling a space that had been empty for longer than she cared to admit.

Lydia swallowed hard, “I’m just so scared and I don’t know how to make that go away,” she whispered.

Stiles buried his face against her shoulder as he hugged her back tightly. “Shh,” he murmured. “I know. I know. It’s okay,” he whispered, pressing a kiss to her shoulder and closing his eyes again. “It isn’t your fault.”

“Please don’t leave again,” Lydia whispered, “Please,” she wrapped the arm beneath his shirt around his waist gripping his skin as the other one threaded through his hair, unable to push aside the fear curling inside of her.

The fear that surged through him was painful and he swallowed hard, turning his head and pressing his lips against her neck. “I’m not going anywhere. I swear it on my mom’s grave,” he whispered, stomach tightening. “I’m not leaving again.”

Lydia nodded as she let her nails scrape through his hair gently, holding him as close as she could get him and still it wasn’t enough. She shifted on the counter, spreading her legs slightly and tugging him into the space between them letting her eyes fall shut. “Okay,” she said finally, her words soft.

He pressed a kiss to her cheek, leaning his head against hers. “Are you okay?” he whispered.

“Right now?” Lydia asked letting her hand slip out of his shirt and cupping his other cheek, her thumbs caressing his skin, “Yes,” she murmured. “Five minutes from now...ten...twenty,” she shrugged, “Probably not. But right now, here with you,” Lydia let her hands slid down his arms, “I’m better than okay.”

She angled her head and let her lips brush against his. “You?”

Stiles let out a shaky breath, closing his eyes for a moment. “It hurts,” he admitted almost inaudibly. “Today hurts. A lot.” Tears pooled behind his lashes but he refused to let them fall. “But it’s not -- I mean you and Scott and Chris --” He shook his head. He and Allison hadn’t even been that close. But the weight of her death was something that pressed against him every day.

Lydia swallowed hard and cupped his cheeks urging him to look at her. “It does and honestly I don’t think it will ever get better.” She told him softly. “I don’t think I’ll ever stop missing her or be able to fill the void that was left when…” Lydia’s voice trailed off and she swallowed hard. “But that’s okay Stiles. It’s okay to let it hurt...to miss her. We know she’s watching over us trying to protect us and knowing that helps a little.” Lydia admitted.

“Knowing that she’s not completely gone makes me feel a little less alone. But I get it,” she rested a hand over his heart. “It aches so deep,” Lydia whispered.

A tear slid down Stiles’ cheek and he nodded, swallowing against the lump in his throat that only seemed to be growing. “It’s just -- it’s not fair. It just isn’t.” And of course she knew that. Life wasn’t fair. It had taught all of them that over and over the last three years and sometimes it just felt so overwhelming. He wanted to tell her that he was sorry again. Even now, the guilt was immense and he hated it. He knew no one wanted him to feel guilty about something he couldn’t control -- and he hadn’t been in control. He knew that intellectually. He’d just spent so much time splitting himself off from his emotions in the last year that while what he knew was the truth was in fact the truth, it still felt like a lie. Maybe it would always feel like that. There was no real controlling guilt, either.

He leaned his forehead against hers, drawing in a breath and letting it out slowly.

Lydia could feel his guilt and it made her chest tighten. She closed her eyes and her hands were on his cheeks again. “A little bit of guilt is healthy,” she said suddenly, “I read it somewhere. It marks the kind of people we are, shows that we feel compassion and remorse for others, that we feel something in general.” Lydia told him before moistening her lips.

She thought back to what Chris and Derek were always telling her. “But you don’t have to let that guilt control you. We all know what happened wasn’t your fault,” Lydia whispered, “But I also know what it’s like to do something that causes other people pain even when it’s not you doing it...and that’s not so easy to let go of.” She admitted.

“But you can’t let the guilt eat away at you, which trust me is easier said than done,” she mumbled. Lydia still hadn’t mastered that particular art yet.

Stiles laid his head against her collarbone, squeezing his eyes shut tightly. “I know.” His voice was quiet. “And I’m trying.” He was trying so hard not to let it consume him again. Being back in Beacon Hills, as much as he’d missed everyone, was still harder than he’d ever anticipated. It was so full of memories. His whole life was here. His dad. Melissa. Scott. Lydia. Everyone he loved and every place in this town held memories for him.

If only guilt wasn’t such a complex emotion. He’d take physical pain over guilt any day of the week. It was part of what had driven him to his first tattoo. He’d wanted to feel something -- anything -- other than the guilt and the terror that he’d felt for months. The guilt and the terror that he still felt on some level every single day. It was just a little less when he was with Scott or Lydia. Usually.

Stiles drew in a breath. “Maybe we can...work on that together,” he whispered.

Lydia swallowed hard not sure what to say to that. But the truth was maybe Stiles needed her as much as she needed him...“Maybe we can…” she said softly as she ran a hand down his back. Lydia was silent for a minute before turning so her mouth was near his ear. "I know it's wrong, but everything inside me wants you right now." She whispered the words.

Need curled inside of her, "When you touch me...I feel more alive than I've felt in over a year." Lydia admitted, "It doesn't just feel good...It feels right. It makes me feel...whole. I need you." She whispered against his skin. Lydia knew it sounded ridiculous, but it wasn't just sex. When they connected on a physical level it was like all the channels between them were open. She could feel all of him and being that much a part of him made her happy and made the emotions inside of her calm. It was the tether connection, she knew that much and maybe there was a way to feel that without a physical connection, but if there was they hadn’t figured it out yet. And today…today was hard. She needed to feel that, she needed to fee him.

Stiles swallowed heavily at her words, looking up to meet her eyes. “Yeah. Yeah, me too,” he admitted, reaching up and cupping her cheek in his hand. “I know exactly what you mean.” Because he did. He kissed her softly, brushing his nose against hers.

Lydia returned the kiss closing her eyes and gripping his wrist gently. She broke the kiss a minute later and bit her lower lip. “We shouldn’t keep doing this,” she whispered even as her hand trailed down his arms memorizing the feel of his muscles shifting beneath her palm. “It’s only a temporary fix,” Lydia added even as she pressed a kiss to the corner of his mouth and then leaned forward trailing her lips to his ear. She pressed a kiss beneath it and then took Stiles’ earlobe into her mouth sucking on it gently.

Stiles knew she was right about that too. But knowing she was right didn’t make it easy to pull away from her as she sucked his earlobe into her mouth. He slid a hand up to rest at her hip, pulling her closer to him as he dipped his head to kiss her neck, nibbling his way up the side of it.

Lydia moaned softly letting her head drop to the side giving him better access to her neck as she threaded her fingers through his hair. The apron she wore shifting with her movements as she attempted to move closer to him without falling off the counter, which really was easier in theory than actually attempting to do.

Stiles steadied her so she didn’t end up slipping off the counter, his body blocking her from falling. He kissed her jaw softly and then her mouth again, letting out a shuddering breath. “They’re gonna wonder where we are. The ones who aren’t listening, I mean.” He swallowed heavily.

Lydia rested her hands on his shoulders, her heart pounding in her chest. “You’re taking care of me,” she whispered gripping the back of his neck the feel of his lips moving back to her jaw making her breath hitch. “You don’t actually think they’re listening...do you?” She asked her voice breathy as she ran one of her hands down the front of his shirt.

He licked his lips. “I really hope not,” he whispered. “But I’m sure at least one of them is.” Damn nosy werewolves.

“I’m almost tempted to give them something to really listen to,” she said brushing her nose against his cheek, “It would serve them right for eavesdropping.” Lydia told Stiles matter-of-factly. “Two more minutes,” she whispered, “And then we should probably go back out there.” Lydia would rather stay with him in the bathroom though and that was probably a terrible thing. They were supposed to be remembering Allison and here she was trying not to beg Stiles to have sex with her on his parent’s bathroom counter.

A small voice in the back of her head told her that her best friend might have actually been highly amused at the situation, though.

Stiles couldn’t help but smile a little at her words. “Two minutes,” he agreed, sliding his mouth over hers again and letting one of his hands trail up the back of her dress, moving along her spine gently.

Lydia pressed herself into him, moving her mouth over his hungrily not sure when the next time she was going to be alone with him was. She slipped her tongue into his mouth deepening the kiss and tightening her hold on his neck. Her lungs burned with a need for oxygen, but she kept her mouth fused to his for another few seconds.

Lydia broke away a second later and sucked in a sharp breath. “You’ve got lipstick on you,” she mumbled as she gripped his wrist again and shifted his hand away from her waist and onto her thigh, sighing against his skin when she felt the heat of his palm against her leg. “Maybe you can drive me back to the loft after dinner,” she suggested.

Stiles groaned softly as he kissed her back, letting her shift his hand from her waist to her thigh. He nipped lightly at her lower lip, sliding his hand higher, knowing they were approaching dangerous territory the longer they stayed like this, but he also didn’t feel compelled to pull away. “I can do that,” he murmured, nibbling on her neck even as he slid a finger past the barrier of her underwear, stroking her with a barely-there touch.

Lydia arched into his touch her hips rocking forward as her body sought out his fingers. “Stiles,” she gasped his name and then bit her bottom lip hard to keep from moaning loudly as her hand gripped his shoulder, nails curling into his skin through his shirt as her heartbeat echoed in her ears. It had been too long since he’d touched her and she was seconds away from begging, so not like her. At all. Lydia should probably be worried by how much Stiles could unravel her in the matter of minutes, but she just didn’t care at the moment. “Please,” she whispered.

Stiles felt her nails digging into his shoulder even through the thin material of his shirt and he watched her intently, eyes darkening as he eased two long fingers inside of her, knowing in the back of his mind that this was so, so wrong for so many reasons right now. But he couldn’t bring himself to care that much. Not when Lydia was there biting her lip and begging him. He wanted to watch her, wanted to see her come undone because it was a sight that he was never going to get tired of seeing. Not ever.

Lydia inhaled deeply her eyes sliding shut at the feeling of his fingers sliding inside of her. She tilted her head back as need curled inside of her and warmth pooled in her lower belly. “God, we shouldn’t be doing this,” she said with a soft moan even as she braced one of her hands on the counter and rocked her hips towards him. “Don’t stop,” Lydia gasped and then bit her lip harder to keep quiet as her breathing picked up speed.

“Wasn’t planning to,” he whispered against her mouth before covering it with his own, easing a third finger into her as his thumb circled over the sensitive bundle of nerves at the junction of her thighs. She was so wet, so tight around his fingers that his hips bucked involuntarily. Don’t come in your pants, Stilinski, he thought, gritting his teeth. That would be incredibly awkward.

Lydia moaned into his mouth thankful the noise was muffled because good god the things he was doing to her. She was already so close and she wasn’t even sure how that was possible. With anyone else it took time and knowledge of her body. But Stiles, it had been natural between them since the very first time, almost like he knew her body as well as she did. It was hot.

Lydia broke the kiss, pleasure finding its way inside of her as Stiles pressed his thumb harder against her clit. She whimpered and hooked a leg around his hip trying to draw him closer. “Stiles,” her voice was barely a whisper as she did her best to keep quiet while practically writhing between him and the counter top.

Lydia felt his arousal through their connection and the need coming off of him as much as it was coming from her. She slipped her hand from his shoulder down his shirt and to the belt of his pants. She bit her lower lip and leaned forward pressing her cheek against his, “Can I have more?” she whispered, her tone breathy, “I need you, it’ll be quick I promise…” her words trailed off with a small noise as she hid her face near his neck doing her best not to make too much noise despite the desire that was rippling through her.

They were going to know. In the back of his head he knew that already. He bit down hard on his lower lip to keep himself from groaning. They already knew anyway, he reminded himself. And he was already too far gone to think sensibly about this.

Wordlessly he shifted, undoing the button on his jeans and unzipping them as her hands lingered at his belt. He lifted his fingers to his mouth, sliding them inside and tasting her as he kept his eyes locked on hers. He groaned softly. Yeah. He was going to have to have more of that later at some point. He swallowed heavily, then reached out, gently tugging her dress up and bunching it around her hips.

A strangled noise left Lydia’s mouth as she watched his mouth close around his fingers. Lydia was pretty sure she’d died and gone to some kind of dirty heaven and she was absolutely okay with that. “You’re so fucking hot,” the words fell from her lips and a hint of surprise crossed her face because she wasn’t sure she meant to say them out loud. But the surprise quickly left her face as he continued touching her.

He grinned involuntarily at her words, fairly sure no one had ever called him hot other than Lydia, and he kind of liked it even if he didn’t quite believe it.

Lydia licked her lips as he bunched her dress around her hips and she tugged at the apron pulling it off her neck so the material dropped down to her waist where it was tied. “Careful,” she said while slipping a hand into his pants, “Allison gave me this dress,” she admitted a spark of triumph filling her eyes as her hand finally curled around his bare flesh. Lydia tugged his boxers down just slightly with her free hand while lifting a leg encouraging him to help her.

He groaned when her fingers curled around his length and he bit down hard on his lower lip, pulling her closer to him, reaching down to gently pull her hand away from him. He used his other hand to wrap her thigh around his waist.

“Stiles,” she whined with a huff when he tugged her hand away from him. Lydia once again rested a hand flat against the counter as she clenched her leg around him, her heel hitting the back of his thigh. Lydia’s other hand shoved the apron out of the way before reaching for him. “Now, now,” she whispered arousal coursing through her. “God I want,” her moan cut off her words and Lydia moved her hips as a deep ache built between her thighs.

He slid inside of her and shut his eyes, winding his arms around her, and pulling her closer against him. He gripped her hips in his hands as he eased back out of her and thrust in again, ignoring the brief pain that flickered through him as his stitches pulled against his skin. He repeated the action over and over again, sliding one hand between them and stroking her clit as they moved together, enjoying the sounds of her faint whimpers and gasps. His breathing was unsteady, heart pounding hard against his chest.

Lydia gripped his midsection tightly her other hand still firmly planted on the counter keeping her balance as he thrust in and out of her. It took an immense amount of effort to control the noises he was pulling from her throat. Lydia arched her body lifting her hips in time with his, moving with him.

Her brows furrowed when she felt a hint of pain fill her and she opened her mouth breathing heavy, “Are you okay?” She asked between deep breaths even as her teeth sunk into her bottom lip again when he pressed his thumb harder against her clit.

He gritted his teeth when she gripped onto him, pressing a kiss to her forehead as he moved. “Yeah,” he whispered. “I’m okay. Are you?”

Lydia nodded, “I thought I felt...I don’t know I thought,” a soft moan tumbled from her throat, “Hurt, I thought I hurt you.” She told him breathing heavy as he slid into her again a little harder making her gasp, “Oh god, do that again,” she demanded though the words came out as more of a plea as pleasure burst inside of her.

Stiles shifted, thrusting into her harder again at the same time that he pressed down on her clit. “Come on, Lyds,” he whispered against her ear. He nipped at her earlobe lightly, ignoring the pain flickering through him as he drove them both toward the edge of completion.

Lydia could feel herself cresting over the edge and she leaned forward and pressed her face into his neck, holding on to him for dear life as her hips rocked erratically into his. The next time he thrust into her she came hard letting out a muffled cry into his neck, a soft sobbing sound as her body let go completely.

Lydia shook in his arms from the force of her orgasm as her inner muscles clamped down around his shaft squeezing and pulsating around him. Stiles continued moving inside of her drawing out her orgasm making her whimper at the sensitivity in her body that he’d created.

He dipped his head, capturing her lips against his as he thrust into her twice before, slamming his eyes shut as his own orgasm hit hard, his body shuddering against hers. He swallowed heavily. “Jesus,” he whispered, laying his forehead down against her shoulder as he tried to compose himself.

Lydia sucked in a sharp breath and lifted her hands cupping his cheeks as his head rested against hers. It took her a minute to catch her breath. “Promise me,” she whispered, “One more time,” she asked softly as she brushed her thumbs against his cheeks needing to hear the words once more. Needing the reassurance even though he’d already told her.

“I’m not leaving,” he whispered, meeting her eyes.

Lydia nodded closing her eyes and hugging him closer, running her hand up and down his back. “I don’t even want to know how long we’ve been in here,” she mumbled trying to ease some of the seriousness surrounding them.

A short chuckle escaped him and he leaned his head against hers. “A while.” He winced as he remembered it wasn’t just the wolves out there. It was his dad. And Scott’s mom. And Chris Argent.

Lydia rubbed a hand over his arm. “It’s okay.” she said softly. “Let’s get cleaned up and,” Lydia paused, “Try not to look too guilty?” She responded a hint of a smile pulling at her lips. She couldn’t help it. Lydia wasn’t really all the sorry, though she probably should be. She pressed a light kiss to his jaw. “Do you still want to drive me back to Derek’s after dinner?” she asked quietly, her hand running against the back of his neck.

He smiled faintly at that, kissing her softly before pulling away and carefully setting her down on her feet and off the sink. “Yeah, I still wanna drive you back. If that’s cool.” He moved to the closet, getting out a couple of wash cloths so they could clean themselves up.

Lydia nodded as she took one of the cloths from him. “It is,” she said softly. A couple of minutes later she faced Stiles as she tugged her dress and apron back into place. She was silent for a minute as she watched him. “Maybe you should go out first?” Lydia asked as she took a step towards him running a gentle hand down his side. “Does it hurt?” She asked with a frown.

“I’m gonna run up to the room for a minute.” He winced a little. “Yeah, but it’s fine. It’s not bad.” He gently tucked some hair behind her ear. He wanted to say the words right then, to tell her even though he knew she already knew. But he didn’t want her to feel pressured to say them back, either. Not when he knew she wasn’t ready. So he kissed her temple instead. “I’ll be back down in a minute.”

“Do you need help?” Lydia asked guilt blossoming in her chest. She shouldn’t have pushed; she should have realized he wasn’t fully healed. “I’m sorry,” she whispered brushing her knuckles along the skin of his arm.

“Hey, no. Don’t apologize,” he said with a frown. “I’m not sorry at all. Besides, I can handle a little pain, Lyds. It’s not that bad.” He kissed the tip of her nose.

Lydia sent him half a smile and leaned into him for a minute. “Okay,” she said softly. “Make sure you don’t pass the kitchen when you head upstairs,” she commented. “And I’ll...go back to helping Ms. McCall.” She told him making a mental note to wash her hands before she touched any vegetables.

Stiles flashed her a grin. “Deal. I’ll be there to help again in a couple minutes,” he assured her. He squeezed her hand briefly before heading out of the bathroom and going immediately toward the stairs, pressing a hand to his stomach as he moved. He made his way into the bedroom and slid his shirt up, wincing at the sight of the blood there. It wasn’t a lot, but it was enough to know he’d popped stitches. Awesome. He drew in a breath and let it out slowly.

“You’re an idiot,” came the snarky voice from behind him as Cora perched against his doorframe. The second she’d spotted him go upstairs she followed him quickly. While the sheriff, Scott’s mom and Chris Argent couldn’t hear what was so painfully clear to the rest of them, she had no problem calling him out on his stupidity.

Stiles winced at her sudden appearance even if he wasn’t entirely surprised by it either. “Yeah, I know,” he admitted, scratching his head.

Stiles was just lucky that she liked him enough to have Isaac distract his parents with grilling in the backyard. Cora could smell the blood and she pushed away from the doorframe and walked into the room. “Would it really have been that hard to show some restraint and wait so that you could at least heal?” She asked a hint of humor in her eyes as she shook her head.

“It’s just...something’s going on and neither of us is exactly in control of it and I don’t know how to...change that?” Every time they touched lately it seemed to result in one of them jumping the other.

Cora arched an eyebrow, “Something? Oh, you mean like teenage hormones?” She rolled her eyes. “You need some help with that?” She motioned to his wound.

“No, that’s not what I meant,” he said honestly. “I don’t...really know how to explain it.” He sighed softly. “And I can probably handle it this time. Just a couple of stitches.” He shrugged.

“This time?” Cora sighed and moved over to his bed plopping down on it, “Are you planning for this to happen often?” She asked tilting her head to the side.

He couldn’t help the tiny smile that tugged at his mouth. “I meant as opposed to when I was initially injured,” he told her winking before heading across the hall to the bathroom and grabbing a clean washcloth, wetting it with water and gently dabbing off the blood. He rummaged around in the medicine cabinet until he’d found some band aids, then ducked back across the hall and into his room, shutting the door quietly.

Cora watched him for a minute, pursing her lips. “We’re friends, and as your friend I’m allowed to tell you when you’re being reckless and stupid.” She paused, “And in case that was unclear this is me doing that.” She watched him as he looked in the mirror while placing band aids on his wound.

“She isn’t very nice to you.” Cora stated, “And she’s forever sending you mixed signals. And don’t get me started on how wrong it is for her to flaunt you in front of my brother. Not that I’m unhappy they aren’t together because I’m incredibly happy about that...except for the fact that she still stays at the apartment and stuff.” Cora paused, “That’s what I mean, mixed signals. You shouldn’t have to deal with that especially after everything.”

Cora was worried Stiles was going to wind up getting his heart broken and she didn’t want that.

Stiles glanced at her in the mirror, then sighed softly. “Things are...complicated,” he said quietly. It wasn’t his place to try and explain Lydia and Derek’s relationship to her. “Can you trust me when I say there’s a lot more to the story than you realize but it’s not really my place to elaborate and that there really aren’t mixed signals going on?” He knew she trusted him when it came to a lot of things, but he also knew she wasn’t really a fan of Lydia Martin in any way, shape or form.

“I left, Cora. And sorting things out...I knew it wasn’t going to be easy. It shouldn’t be easy.”

Cora sighed, “Well no offense but it seems pretty easy for her to run around pulling you into private corners, but she can’t be bothered to have a conversation with you?” She pushed herself up and shrugged. “Look, I know it’s none of my business, but you’re my friend and I just don’t want to see you get hurt. That’s all. As much as I’m not a fan of Lydia, I know how much you’ve always cared about her. I don’t want you to get burned.” Cora explained.

He was quiet for a moment, looking down at what he was doing as he applied the last band aid, sighing once more. “I know,” he admitted. “We love each other.” His voice was soft. “But she doesn’t trust me.” It hurt, but he understood it, too. “And until she does, things are...just gonna be rocky for awhile.”

Cora studied her friend and pursed her lips. “Are you sure?” She asked, “Are you sure she actually loves you? I mean has she said it?” Cora inquired. “And that’s not me implying you aren’t loveable,” she added.

He dropped his gaze. “It was implied. And I can feel it. We have a...connection.” He chewed his lower lip, pulling his shirt off without really thinking about it and discarding it onto the desk chair before moving to get a clean one from his duffel bag...which he still hadn’t unpacked.

Cora sighed. “A connection? Okay...if you say so.” she said not really convinced, but not wanting to upset Stiles.

“Literally,” he added after a moment. “I can feel her emotions. And she can feel mine.” He tugged the black shirt on over his head before turning to look at her. “It’s from the ritual we did to save our parents. The one that…” He looked away.

Cora winced, “Sorry,” she said not meaning to bring up so many bad memories, especially ones related to the Nogitsune.

“You don’t need to apologize,” he said honestly. “I think about it all the time already.” His voice was quiet.

Cora reached out and rested a hand on his shoulder, squeezing gently. “Oh no you don’t,” she said pointedly. “You cannot drift off into guilt land while I’m reprimanding you.”

“It’s not guilt land. It’s me being honest. But feel free to continue with the reprimand.”

Cora sighed, “Well you know I can’t now,” she joked with an exaggerated eye roll. She dropped her hand from his shoulder and shifted so she was leaning against the dresser and facing him. “Just...be careful. I worry about you...and my brother.” She admitted.

“You’re both so close to her and while I might trust her with my life, because at least she’s proven she has the packs best interest at heart, I don’t exactly trust her with the people I care about most.” Cora told him with an awkward shrug before looking away. She hated getting all sappy.

Stiles’ expression softened at her admission. “Trust takes a lot of time to build when you’ve hurt someone.” He was quiet for a moment. He knew she understood that, at least. “And I hurt her, Cora. I didn’t mean to, but I did. For what it’s worth, I don’t think she’d ever do anything to hurt Derek in any way.”

Cora was quiet for a minute before nodding. “You’re probably right...I guess,” she responded begrudgingly. She sighed and pushed away from the dresser, “We should head downstairs, your dad’s out back with Isaac, grilling food for the dinner we’re all supposed to be having.” She lifted a brow, “You remember the dinner right?”

Stiles winced, rubbing the back of his neck. “Yeah, I remember.” Allison’s memorial dinner. He drew in a breath.

Cora patted his back as she walked around him. “I wasn’t trying to make you feel bad,” she commented as she walked towards the door, “But expect a few humorous comments from Isaac,” she said amused. “Because he’ll probably never let you live that little stunt down.”

He made a face. “Yeah, well I’ll be sure and return the favor when the two of you finally get your crap together.” His voice was light and he smirked at her before ducking out the door in front of her.

Cora just rolled her eyes and followed Stiles out of his bedroom towards the stairs, watching as he hustled down them.

Stiles washed his hands quickly and made his way back into the kitchen, pointedly ignoring his bemused best friend’s look. Not a word, Scott, he thought.


Lydia stood near the patio doors as her friends said their goodbyes to Melissa and the sheriff. Dinner had been nice. They had decided to eat outside and they’d talked about Allison and everyone shared a few memories of things they’d done together or stuff they remembered. It had been a lot and a few times, Lydia had felt bursts of emotion from people when things got intense for them.

She felt Chris a few times, Scott and Isaac and of course the strongest feelings of all had come from Stiles. But she always felt him differently than the others. His was a constant connection. With other members of the pack she only sensed an emotion or emotions if they were heightened in that person, at least that’s what it seemed like.

Lydia ran her hands over her arms trying to combat the slight chill she felt at the cooling weather. It was getting late and the sun was close to setting, which meant they all needed to head back to the loft. She wondered what Peter and Malia had done all day with the rest of them gone. Aiden and Ethan had showed up with Danny not long after she, Derek and Chris got there, which she hadn’t known at the time since she’d been a little preoccupied with Stiles.

But they were already gone, something about wanting to spend some time with Danny before having to come back to the loft. Lydia didn’t blame them. She watched as Melissa hugged Chris, the sheriff by her side as they spoke softly and her chest tightened. She hated that Chris was all alone and sometimes she wished he wasn’t; that there was someone to take care of him since he spent most of his time taking care of all of them.

The sound of footsteps behind her broke through her thoughts and Lydia sighed softly, her eyes staying on the people in front of her.

“Still want me to drive you back?” Stiles asked quietly as he came up behind her, resting a hand on her shoulder.

Lydia automatically leaned back slightly before nodding, “Sure,” she said softly, “If that’s okay.” She asked glancing at him over her shoulder meeting his gaze.

“Yeah, it’s fine,” he assured her quietly, offering her a small smile. He gave her shoulder a gentle squeeze before moving over to where his dad and Melissa were standing. “Don’t forget to mountain ash the place after we leave.” Deaton had helped them rig up a supernatural alarm system of sorts.

Melissa smiled, “We know,” she said affectionately, “Scott was just saying the same thing.” She said rubbing them both on the back. “Hopefully you boys are a little closer to figuring all this out so you can come home soon.” She said with a smile. “The house is way too empty without you three.

Michael took a sip of his beer and nodded. “It really is.” He commented his hand going to Melissa’s back and resting there.

Scott sent them half a smile, “We’re working on it, trust us,” he said squeezing Kira’s hand gently, “We want to get back home too.”

Isaac shrugged, “The lofts not so bad,” Cora was there, he added silently, “but I do miss you guys,” he told them making Melissa smile.

“We’ll get this done soon,” Stiles said firmly, resting a hand on Scott’s shoulder and one on Kira’s. “And we’ll be home before you know it.” In a way having the pack all together night and day at the loft was good because he noticed that a lot of them were bonding more now, and that was definitely on the positive side of things.

His dad nodded, “Well you guys better get going,” he commented, “It’s getting late.” He didn’t want his son or any of the other kids caught outside when it was dark out.

Nodding, Stiles moved past his best friend and Kira and hugged his dad tightly, closing his eyes. “See you soon.”

Kira smiled softly at Melissa and Michael. “Thank you for the dinner and having all of us over.”

Melissa smiled and reached out squeezing Kira’s are gently, “You’re welcome sweetheart. You guys be safe out there.” She said sternly her gaze shifting as Lydia made her way over to them. She turned her gaze to the red head and smiled, “Thanks for all your help tonight.”

Lydia smiled, “Any time,” she said softly. “The food was great and the whole night was...it was really nice.” She told them softly.

“It was,” Melissa agreed quietly. “We should do this more often. Make it a regular thing.” She hugged her gently.

Lydia hugged her back and swallowed hard, “We should,” she responded quietly. Lydia pulled back and smiled softly, “Don’t forget when this is all over we still have wedding plans,” she joked lightly. She shifted back and glanced over at Chris, Derek and Cora. “I’m just going to go say goodbye to Chris,” she told them.

She paused near Stiles placing a hand on his arm, “Come get me when you’re ready?” She asked softly.

“I’m ready when you are,” he told her. “I’ll just wait in the jeep.” He gave Melissa a quick hug before heading out of the house.

Chris smiled faintly at Lydia as she approached.

She returned the smile, “I just wanted to come say goodbye before taking off.” She said lightly avoiding the glare Cora was projecting in her direction. Lydia wasn’t even going to acknowledge her judgments. She didn’t care what Cora thought.

Chris nodded, winding his arms around her in a warm hug. “When this situation is resolved, we can resume training,” he suggested.

Lydia returned the hug relaxing slightly. “I’d like that. I think a certain someone promised me an upgrade in weapons.” She joked even though she was looking forward to getting back into her training sessions. Her emotions had been running rampant lately and she had a feeling a part of that was deviating from the routine they’d helped her slip into since Allison’s death a year ago.

Lydia’s chest tightened, “If you need anything please call,” she said softly.

“I will,” he promised, kissing her forehead. “You do the same,” he said sincerely. “If there’s any way that I can help besides research, let me know.”

Lydia smiled, “You got it.” She said quietly. She dropped her hands and glanced at Derek, “I’m going to get a ride back to the loft with Stiles,” Lydia said lightly.

He smirked faintly, but nodded, biting back a remark. “All right. We’ll see you there.”

Lydia caught Cora rolling her eyes as she snorted. She glanced at Cora and her eyes turned to slits. She’d been dealing with the other girl’s grouchiness and rude comments the entire day and Lydia was over it. “You know, you probably wouldn’t be so grouchy if you didn’t use your supersonic werewolf hearing for eavesdropping,” she commented, “Either way you can keep your comments to yourself, I’m done hearing them,” Lydia added, “What I do with my time isn’t your business.” She said as she turned and started walking away.

“Don’t you mean who?” Cora called out annoyed.

Lydia glanced over her shoulder, “That too. Not even a little sorry.” She said with a smirk before turning around with a flip of her hair and heading out front to the jeep. Let Cora take that lemon and suck on it. Lydia was tired of letting the other girl make her feel like she’d done something wrong.

Cora shook her head, shooting her brother a disapproving look before heading out the door as well, tugging Isaac along with her.

Derek sighed as he watched them go, then turned to look at Chris, Melissa and Michael, all of whom looked a little confused. “Long story,” he told them with a shrug. “See you guys soon.”


Lydia sat beside Stiles silently in his jeep, her arm around his, their hands clasped together. Her chin resting lightly against his shoulder, her body as close to him as she could get while he was driving. She was calm for the moment, her thoughts drifting between Allison and the feel of Stiles’ skin beneath her hands.

Lydia knew Derek’s apartment wasn’t far and she hated that she couldn’t have any privacy with Stiles so they could talk...for real. She turned her head and pressed a kiss against his shoulder unconsciously as her thoughts shifted again. The breeze from the open window felt good on her heated skin and she closed her eyes momentarily so she could sit there and enjoy it for a little while.

Stiles glanced at her sideways before focusing on the road ahead, chewing his lower lip. “If this ritual works then it’ll at least get rid of the daevas,” he said softly. He drew in a breath and let it out slowly. “Maybe after that happens we can go somewhere. Just the two of us. To talk?”

Lydia tilted her head up and nodded, “Yeah, we should probably do that.” She agreed softly as she ran a hand over his arm again. She needed to stop touching him. It was ridiculous. Lydia hesitated before sitting up, “Sorry,” she said starting to pull her hand away despite the fact that she didn’t really want to.

“You don’t have to apologize, Lydia,” he said. “You didn’t do anything wrong.”

Lydia arched an eyebrow. “I didn’t say I did,” she responded, “But I’m sure you want your space, you don’t need me hanging all over you.” She said resting her hands in her lap. She seriously wished her head and her heart would get on the same damn page. It was annoying that she couldn’t seem to stay angry with him and yet she couldn’t seem to completely forgive him either. And Lydia had no idea how to fix it.

“You keep apologizing,” he pointed out, glancing at her briefly, fingers tightening a little around the steering wheel. “And I don’t mind the closeness. I know you have to feel that.” He sure as hell felt it.

Lydia did feel it. She felt it a lot and it only intensified her need to be closer to him. She opened her mouth to let out a snarky comment, but decided against it. Snapping at Stiles wasn’t going to help either of them. Maybe it was time she tried being a little more honest with him.

Lydia swallowed hard, “I’ve worked really hard this past year on being self-sufficient. On learning how to take care of myself and not having to lean on other people,” namely him because when he’d left she hadn’t realized just how attached to him she’d gotten and it was hard not having him there like all the time.

“And…I don’t want to go through that again,” she said softly.

Stiles could feel the spark of irritation that she repressed and braced himself for her words. He understood where she was coming from because he was dealing with the same issue, in a different way. He chewed his lower lip, nodding. “I know,” he said just as softly. “And I don’t want you to. So what do you think we should do?”

Lydia glanced at him and pursed her lips, “This is part of the problem,” she said keeping her voice calm. “You’re always asking me what I want and what I think. If I knew the answer to either of those questions I’d be doing it already.” She told him shifting in her seat and crossing her legs. “I want to know what you want. You told me you wanted to fix things...you told me you,” she paused swallowing hard, “But you haven’t said exactly what it is you want.”

Lydia took a deep breath, “Before you left things between us,” she hesitated, “they were undefined.” She glanced down at her lap and played with the hem of her dress to keep her hands from drifting to Stiles. “Things are different now though and I just think. I think we need to start over.” She told him wincing slightly at her own words.

Stiles glanced at her sideways, sighing softly and shifting in the driver’s seat. “I do want to fix things, Lydia.” His voice was quiet. “And the reason I haven’t -- it’s because what happened between us, why we’re struggling so much now, is because I left. That’s why I keep asking what you want. What you need. Because it isn’t about me. It shouldn’t be about me. What I want...is the same thing I’ve always wanted. It’s never changed,” he admitted, swallowing hard.

“But I’m not sure what you mean by starting over,” he added. “Can you explain what you mean?”

Lydia glanced at him, “I know why you keep saying it,” she said quietly, “But it works both ways. The only way we can fix things is if we both know where the other stands.” She replied simply contemplating his words.

“I know I wasn’t always the nicest person, but you and I...we’ve come a long way and,” Lydia frowned, “And before everything got bad with the Nogitsune I thought maybe things were changing between us...am I wrong about that assumption?”

Stiles shifted, lifting his hand to his mouth and chewing on his thumbnail absently. “Were they?” he asked quietly. “We’d gotten closer. You were...pretty much my closest friend after Scott.”

Lydia glanced at him her chest tightening. “I thought they were...I guess I was wrong.” She said quietly looking out her window. “Regardless,” she pushed on ignoring the hurt whirling around inside of her, “they had changed for me. The night Allison died and the night we almost lost you...it had changed for me.” Lydia repeated quietly. “But when you left,” Lydia shrugged.

Stiles felt the hurt she felt and he drew in a slow breath. “I didn’t know that,” he said honestly. “You have to know that I didn’t know that, Lydia.”

“It’s fine,” Lydia told him, “It’s not a big deal. It doesn’t matter anymore.” She said, her voice quiet. “The way we were, it isn’t the way we are now. I care about you...I want you,” Lydia closed her eyes briefly, “but I don’t trust you and that’s hard for me to reconcile with the guy who I trusted more than anyone else before all of this happened.” Lydia let out a sharp breath. “I think if we have any hope of fixing this Stiles we need to start from scratch.”

It hurt to hear that she didn’t trust him, but he’d already known that much anyway. He pulled the car into the parking lot at Derek’s and shifted the jeep into the park position, keeping his hands on the wheel. “Okay,” he said quietly, turning his head to look at her. “I’m good with that.”

Lydia swallowed hard and nodded, “Okay,” she unbuckled her seatbelt and angled her body to face him. “What are we going to do about the other thing?” Lydia asked her teeth sinking into her bottom lip. How were they supposed to control that? Lydia didn’t know if she wanted to and that was wrong on so many levels. But the urge to touch him grew stronger the longer they spent together and the more she felt what he was feeling. But if they were truly going to try to fix things, then they needed to figure that out probably.

Stiles was silent for a moment. “I have an idea about that,” he admitted. “But it’s gonna take some trial and error because I don’t know exactly how the tether works.” He exhaled slowly. “But I think there might be a way that we can shut down the more...physical aspect of the connection while we keep the other stuff open.”

Lydia’s stomach tightened, but she arched an eyebrow in response, “How?” She asked a hint of uncertainty in her voice.

“The same way I can shut my emotions down if I need to.” He pursed his lips. “It’s not the most pleasant thing in the world when you’re trying to learn how to do it, but I imagine it works the same with the physical sensations.”

Lydia’s brows furrowed. “I don’t want to put barriers between us. I don’t like how it feels when you shut yourself out from me,” she said trying not to let the anxiety that had sparked inside of her get the better of her. Logically she knew it was a good solution. It was the only solution they had at the moment. Lydia had been letting her emotions guide her recently and that wasn’t smart.

“I know you don’t,” Stiles said, reaching out and laying a hand on her arm. “And that’s why when I realized on Thanksgiving what was going on, I stopped.” He chewed his lower lip for a moment. “But there are gonna be times that we can’t just...act on our more...uh, animalistic desires, Lydia. And so far we’re really not great at resisting that.”

“So now our desires are animalistic?” Lydia asked with a frown. “Maybe we should just take a breather from this conversation for the moment, before one of us, most likely me since I can’t seem to use that larger than average brain inside of my head, gets angry.” She leaned back against the seat and shook her head.

Stiles sighed, laying his head back against the seat, trying not to feel frustrated as he stared out the windshield. It didn’t matter what he seemed to say or do unless they were having sex, she was pissed at him.

“This is ridiculous,” Lydia said breaking the silence before taking a deep breath. She needed to stop taking everything so personally. Stiles found a solution to their problem and she was being difficult. She wasn’t even sure why. “I am ridiculous. Just...do what you need to do. It’s fine. We have bigger issues to worry about than you and me right now anyway. We need to figure out this whole daevas thing because I’m sure I’m not the only one who can’t take sharing the same space with everyone anymore.”

Stiles rubbed a hand over his face tiredly. “Getting rid of the daevas has to be top priority, not because we need our own space but because they’re killing people. We’ll figure the rest out of after we deal with that.” Which would hopefully be tomorrow. He shut the engine off and pulled the keys from the ignition.

Lydia glanced at him. “I know that Stiles. I wasn’t-” Lydia sighed. She could feel his frustration though it was buried behind other emotions. She let out a soft sigh. “Look, you’re right okay? I’ve been incredibly selfish lately, but that stops now.” She pursed her lips, “If you need to block me out, then do it. I don’t know how to. So it’s better if you take care of it. Then you won’t have to waste time teaching me and there won’t be any...slips.”

Lydia pushed open the passenger side door, hesitating and glancing back at Stiles. “I’m not angry at you,” she told him quietly. “I’m...I’m trying to figure out how we got here. How we got to the point where we can’t even have a conversation with each other. And I’m coming to a very disturbing conclusion.”

Lydia was silent for a minute, “Being around you has always somehow managed to bring out a better part of me. And now, with the way I’m feeling and the way all these knew abilities are jumbling my emotions, being around you is bringing out the worst in me and that’s not a slight against you Stiles,” she was quick to reassure him honesty in her voice.

“It’s my fault. I need to focus on controlling my abilities so I don’t hurt anyone in the pack and you; you need to focus on guiding Scott and taking care of the daeva issue. I’ll finish translating that passage for you tonight.” Lydia said quietly. “Everything else,” her chest tightened, “It’s just really not important right now.” She admitted quietly.

“I don’t want to block you out,” Stiles said, feeling tired. “That was never -- I didn’t realize the two had any connection or I wouldn’t have…” It felt like he’d told her this so many times already but she didn’t trust him and he wasn’t sure even if he told her the same thing a thousand times that it was even going to matter. He rubbed a hand over the back of his neck.

The rest hurt, even if she was quick to add that it wasn’t his fault. Because regardless of what she said, he’d been the one to leave. To throw in the towel. His reasons didn’t matter at the end of the day. He’d given up. On her, on Scott, and on himself.

But she wasn’t wrong on the rest, either. As much as he wanted to argue that things between them were just as important, he knew that saving lives had to take precedence. It had to. It was just how their lives worked. “Okay,” he said after a moment, pursing his lips. “Daevas first, figuring out your abilities next, and then...the rest.” He swallowed heavily, reaching out and pulling on the door handle, then pushing the door open. “Deal?”

Lydia watched him for a minute and swallowed hard. She leaned over, cupped his cheek and pressed a light kiss against his lips, not lingering.

Stiles closed his eyes when she kissed him lightly and he didn’t attempt to deepen the kiss even though it was what he wanted to do.

“Deal,” Lydia said softly. “This isn’t us blowing this off...we’ll figure stuff out,” she hoped. “And Stiles, I know you didn’t want to block me out. I understand that now. I can feel how much it hurt you when you realized what happened.” She paused, “I’m not questioning that okay. I’m just, I’m doing the right thing and it sucks, but I’ve grown a lot in the past couple of years and I owe a lot of that to you.” Lydia told him quietly.

“I can’t be selfish now and I feel like when it comes to you, that’s all I’m doing. So when this whole thing is over, we’ll figure us out. I’m going to start working with Chris and Derek on finding a solution to my abilities. I’ll get a hang of them...I always figure stuff out eventually.” She said with half a smile.

They weren’t blowing it off. They were putting it on hold. The problem was that when you put things on hold, sometimes they stayed that way. But Stiles wasn’t going to focus on that. He couldn’t. He’d been selfish too, in more ways than one.

“Okay,” he told her quietly. “And I know you will. I’ve always believed in you.” He gave her a small faint smile before climbing out of the jeep, rubbing his hand over his chest, pained expression on his face. They would do the right thing -- for the pack, and for the town. Even if it hurt. It was just what they did.

It was what they always did.

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