July 19, 2014

Drove Through Ghosts To Get Here 30/32

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: 30/32
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 | Twenty-Three | Twenty-Four | 
Twenty-Five | Twenty-Six | Twenty-Seven | Twenty-Eight | Twenty-Nine |

Chapter 30

Michael leaned back in his seat one hand going to his stomach as Scott and Isaac worked on getting the dishes of the table and into the dishwasher. “That dinner was amazing,” he commented glancing over at Melissa who was pulling dessert out of the refrigerator. It was the first time in a few days that they were all together for dinner and Michael was planning on taking advantage of the opportunity.

His gaze shifted to his son, who sat across from him and he smiled. “You were gone for a while today, where did you go?” He asked conversationally.

Stiles glanced up, leaning back in his chair as he looked at his dad. “Oh. I was with Lydia.”

Isaac looked over at him and then at Sheriff Stilinski. “And I spent the day with Cora and Derek,” he announced.

Michael grinned and glanced between Stiles and Isaac, “And by spending the day with Cora and Derek you mean you spent time with Cora while Derek babysat you,” he said amused.

Isaac grumbled. “He’s coming to terms with our epic...uh like of each other?” He asked glancing around the kitchen.

Scott chuckled as he rinsed off another dish and loaded the dishwasher.

Michael grinned, “I’m sure he is Isaac.” He glanced at Stiles and arched a brow, “Does this mean the two of you finally worked out whatever issues you were having?” He asked knowing that his son and Lydia used to be close and hoping they would be again especially since he knew how much Stiles cared about her.

“We’re getting there,” Stiles said softly, nodding and taking a drink of his ice water. It was going to take a while. A long while, probably. But they’d get there eventually. Or at least, he was hopeful that they would.

Michael nodded, “I’m glad to hear it.”

Melissa nodded as she pulled the pudding out of the refrigerator and walked over to the table putting the small bowls down. “Me too. We miss her; we haven’t seen her in a while. You’ll have to tell her to stop by soon.” She said with a smile as she walked back to the refrigerator. “Plus the wedding planning is back on now that the crisis has been averted,” she joked squeezing Scott’s shoulder lightly as she grabbed the whip cream and walked back to the table again, sitting down beside Stiles.

“I’ll definitely let her know. I’m sure she’ll be by soon.” Again, hopefully. He drew in a breath and let it out slowly, rubbing the back of his neck and eying the pudding dessert that Melissa had made. “And that looks awesome.” He grinned.

Melissa smiled at him, reaching out and squeezing his arm. “Of course it does. I made it.” Her voice was light, teasing.

Scott chuckled again, “Nice mom, way to be humble,” he joked right back as he put the last dish in the dishwasher and wiped off his hands as Isaac grabbed spoons.

“I love pudding,” Isaac said while walking back to the table and plopping down on the other side of Scott’s mom. He reached out and rested the spoons on the table in front of him.

Michael patted him on the back, “Thanks,” he said while reaching for a spoon.

Scott made his way over to the table and sat between Stiles and the sheriff. “So, what’s going on?” He asked lightly as he reached for one of the pudding bowls, “You guys wanted to talk to us about something?” Scott asked.

Melissa smiled at her son as she began to put whip cream on the pudding bowls. “Well.” She looked over at Michael and arched her eyebrows. “There’s something we’ve been talking about for awhile and we’ve agreed it’s time to let the three of you boys in on it.”

Stiles grew still, eyes widening a little as he looked at Scott. “Are you pregnant?” he blurted out.

Melissa opened her mouth, but before she could say anything Scott spoke.

“Oh my god! We’re gonna have a baby!” He grinned at Stiles. “A baby Maclinski! We’re gonna be big brother’s dude.” He glanced over at Isaac, “You too. We’ll have another human in the family!” Scott shifted in his seat excited. “This is going to be great.”

Michael snorted trying not to laugh at Scott’s enthusiasm. “Do you want to break it to him or should I?” He asked amused.

Melissa pressed her lips together, “Honey, I’m not pregnant.” She said lightly humor on her face.

Stiles frowned at that, looking between them. Dammit, he was usually spot-on with this kind of thing. “Okay, so no new siblings. No more jumping to conclusions. What’s going on then?” He took a bite of pudding and reaching out, patting Scott’s back lightly in sympathy.

Scott deflated instantly and took a bite of his pudding.

Michael bit the inside of his cheek and glanced at Melissa briefly. When she nodded he cleared his throat. “Well Melissa and I were talking and with the wedding coming up and our whole family finally being back together, we thought it was time to make our family official.” He paused, “Legally official.” He told them all his voice calm.

Isaac looked between them uncertainly. “What does that mean?” he asked, confused. He glanced at Scott and Stiles, relieved that he wasn’t the only one who clearly had no idea what they meant.

Stiles arched his eyebrows at his dad. “Yeah, you’re gonna have to explain more because none of us had any idea what you’re talking about.”

Michael chuckled and nodded. He pushed his chair back and got up walking over to the counter. He pulled open one of the drawers and reached inside grabbing a folder from the sheriff’s station. He made his way back over to the table, sat down, and placed the folder down. “With your permission,” he glanced around the table briefly before reaching into the folder, “Melissa and I would like to officially adopt the three of you,” he said quietly as he rested the paperwork in the middle of the table before the three teens.

“We realize that you’re all seventeen and in another year you’ll be legal adults of your own,” he paused, “And if we don’t do this, we’re still a family,” Michael pointed out as he reached across the table and rested his hand on Melissa’s arm. “But we want to make sure that there’s no doubt in any of yours minds that this family, this home, and us will always be here for you. All of you.” He told them quietly.

Stiles paused at that, eyes focused on the paperwork in the middle of the table as he fell silent, growing more still than usual. His heart began to beat a little faster than usual and he swallowed heavily as realization dawned on him. What they were saying. What they wanted to do.

Isaac, however, was still just as confused. “You...want to adopt us?” His eyebrows furrowed. “All of us?”

Melissa shook her head at his confusion, but her smile was affectionate. “Well, I would like to adopt you and Stiles, since Scott’s already sort of mine,” she said with a warm laugh. “And Michael would like to adopt you and Scott.” She explained softly.

“We love all of you, and you’ll be our boys no matter what. But we’d like to do this, not just for us, but for you three as well.” She said resting a hand on Isaac’s shoulder.

“Oh. Right.” Isaac looked sheepish. He looked at Scott uncertainty, wondering how he felt about his mom and Stiles’ dad adopting him legally.

Scott was silent for several minutes, his chest tight as he reached out for the papers glancing at them briefly before looking up between his mom and Stiles’ dad. He could feel the emotion building in his chest as he swallowed hard. “You’d really do this?” he asked quietly, “Just...adopt me and Isaac because you’re marrying my mom? Even after everything,” he paused and pushed past the lump in his throat, “everything you know and all the stuff that’s happened because of who I am. What I am.” He asked quietly.

Stiles reached out wordlessly, laying his hand on Scott’s back again as he remained silent.

“Scott.” Michael’s voice was quiet. “You’ve always been a second son to me. Since the day that you and Stiles met in kindergarten and you stepped in between him and Jackson on the playground. Stiles came home that day to inform me and his mother that he had a brother and he was coming over to spend the night on Friday.” He gazed at him intently. “We took him seriously. And the things that have happened in this town...were happening long before you ever became a werewolf.” His voice was gentle. “I love you. And you, too, Isaac. So yes, we mean it.”

Scott dipped his head and brought his hand up to pinch the bridge of his nose, not quite able to hide the moisture in his eyes. He felt overwhelmed, but not in a bad way. He’d always thought of the sheriff as a second dad...or really just his dad in general. He and Stiles used to pretend that the sheriff was both of their dads when they were little. Scott just never thought that would actually happen. He cleared his throat, “Sorry,” he said quietly. “I don’t even know what to say.” He told them honestly. “If Stiles is okay with this...then I am too, more than okay really. I…” He paused and swallowed hard.

Wordlessly, Stiles shifted in his chair so he was facing Scott. “Dude. It’s more than okay with Stiles. It’s completely fine with me.” He swallowed heavily. “You’ve always been my brother. Always. You know that.”

Scott glanced up and nodded, “I know.” He reached out and wrapped an arm around his best friend, his chest constricting as he held onto him. “You’ve always been my brother too,” he said quietly.

Michael glanced over at Melissa and squeezed her arm gently, his chest tightening as he watched Scott and Stiles.

Stiles hugged him tightly, patting his back, feeling all of his emotions even as he felt his own. He drew in a breath and let it out slowly as he pulled away, looking down the table at Isaac, who had fallen silent. “Isaac? How are you feeling about this, man?” he asked quietly.

Isaac swallowed hard. “Are you sure you want me too? Cause I’m not...I don’t...I’m sort of messed up,” he said quietly as he scratched the back of his neck. “And I mean this is permanent. You can’t change your mind and I don’t want you guys to be stuck with me.” He told them quietly.

“Man. Who among us isn’t messed up?” Stiles asked quietly, giving him a look. “And I hate to tell you, but you’re stuck with us already so you might as well get used to that,” Stiles said matter-of-factly. Because he knew, instinctively, that he had to be the first to voice it, to be the one to remove any doubt in Isaac’s mind. Stiles knew he wouldn’t doubt Scott. “So yeah. We want you, too. Right, Scott?”

“Absolutely,” Scott said with a nod. “We’re going to be the most attractive family of were-humans ever. Outside of the Hale family who can be second to us.” He said with a smirk. “This is a good thing.” He told Isaac with a smile, lightening the mood a bit. “We’re all family anyway man, but it’s nice to have it down on paper.”

Stiles nodded and met Isaac’s eyes, smiling faintly. He looked at his dad, holding his breath for a moment. “Well, I think if Isaac’s on board that makes all three of us.” He glanced at Melissa, biting down hard on his lip.

Melissa glanced at Stiles and cupped his cheek, “You’re sure?” She asked softly. She and Michael had talked about this, it was his idea, but she agreed 100 percent. But she didn’t want Stiles to think she was trying to take his Mother’s place. Nothing could or would ever replace Claudia Stilinski. And Melissa wouldn’t want it too.

Stiles let out a shaky breath as he looked back at her. The woman who’d bandaged a ridiculous amounts of his skinned knees and elbows, had stabilized his arm when he’d fallen out of a tree and broken it when he and Scott were nine and racing each other, who’d held him through countless screaming nightmares and panic attacks after his mom died. She wasn’t a replacement for his own mother. He’d never thought of her that way. But if a kid could get lucky enough to have two moms in their life, Melissa had definitely been his second. His eyes were watery and he blinked quickly, casting a glance at Scott.

Scott wrapped an arm around him, “My mom has always been yours too,” he said quietly. “We’re brothers...we’ve always been brother’s.” He told him as he squeezed his shoulder gently.

Michael reached out when he saw the emotion in his son’s face. He placed a hand on Stiles’ arm and his other hand on Isaac’s. “We’re all family. We’re going to be family until the end.” He told them as he glanced at Melissa.

Stiles swallowed heavily, because he wasn’t expecting this. Not an official kind of way to include him and Scott and Isaac. It had already been enough that his dad and Melissa were getting married. That alone would have made them legally family. But this was so much more than he’d been prepared for. Wordlessly he wrapped his arms around Melissa McCall’s neck. “Yes,” he said quietly. “It’s a yes for me too.”

Melissa let out a breath she hadn’t realized she was holding and returned the hug, holding the back of Stiles’ head and pressing a light kiss to his head. “I’m so glad,” she said softly, doing her best to keep her own emotions in check. Melissa honestly couldn’t remember the last time she’d been this happy, or surrounded by love. For the first time in a long time she felt like she wasn’t alone. She had a family to love and who loved her and she had a man in her life she could count on, who she’d always been able to count on. And she couldn't be happier.


Lydia walked into the bathroom and glanced around the sink, plucking her stuff from the cold surface and then turning and walking back into the bedroom. Her small toiletry bag was sitting on the bed open and she placed her things in it carefully. Her talk with Stiles the other day had been a good one mostly and Lydia was hoping that things between them were finally going to get back on track.

Or as much on track as they could get. She had planned on grabbing her things and heading back home yesterday, but she’d decided to give it one more day. And now that she was standing there packing up her stuff she was yet again contemplating waiting another day, but Lydia knew if she kept putting it off it wouldn’t happen and she’d promised Stiles.

She sighed lightly and turned around walking back over to the bathroom. Lydia understood where he was coming from. And if they were going to be in a relationship he had every right to not want her in bed with another guy. She’d hate having him in bed with someone else and so she couldn’t be a hypocrite. But that didn’t make the situation any easier.

Logically Lydia knew that she’d basically went from being dependent on one person, to being dependent on another and that probably wasn’t exactly healthy. She should be dependent on herself. And most of the time she was. Lydia took care of herself and she was going to start training with Chris again and working on her abilities...but it was the end of the day that she hated.

Her house was big and cold and lonely. The loft had felt more like home lately than her actual home. And being in the Stilinski household never felt like home anymore. Not since Stiles had left. All it did was bring back memories that were painful even now that he was back because as much as she still loved him, he would never be that boy from before. Not again and sometimes Lydia grieved for that version of him.

She let out a short breath and picked up her toothbrush and lotion then turned and walked into Derek’s bedroom again. She placed them in the bag and then zipped it up slowly. Lydia hadn’t even gotten to clothes and shoes yet. It was odd how much stuff had amassed at Derek’s place over the year and even more so over the last couple of months. Once the bag was zipped she paused, her hands gripping the material as anxiety built inside of her. This shouldn’t be a big deal.

This would be better for everyone involved. It would make Stiles happy, it would give her, her independence back, and it would give Derek the much needed space that he probably wanted. He probably hated having her in his space constantly. Having to share his bed and closet...this was Derek Hale. He probably couldn't wait for her to go. So why was she so anxiety ridden? Why was this so difficult for her? Why did she feel like a part of her wanted to cry? That wasn’t normal was it?

Honestly Lydia had no idea what was normal anymore. She was so battered and broken down from everything that had happened over the past year and then the past few weeks on top of it. And every single one of the pack members had incredibly unhealthy attachments to certain people. Lydia lifted the small bag and placed it on the dresser before going to grab her duffle bag from the corner of the room.

She didn’t want to leave. And she knew Stiles wasn’t forcing this on her that all he wanted was for her not to share the same bed with Derek and that was incredibly reasonable for him. It was such a small thing that she could do it for him, even though she didn’t want to. Because there wasn’t much she wouldn’t do for Stiles. Plus it wasn’t like she was never going to see Derek again. Lydia was definitely being dramatic. This wasn’t a big deal.

Lydia placed her bag on the floor in front of the closet and kneeled down so she could start putting her shoes in it. But she didn’t. Lydia just sat there her butt resting on her legs as she stared inside the closet.

“You know you don’t actually have to move out, right?” Derek’s voice was quiet and he stood in the doorframe, arms folded across his chest.

Lydia blinked and tilted her head wondering how she’d missed him coming up the stairs. She shrugged and looked away from him reaching for her shoes. “It’s probably time.” She told him, keeping her voice light.

“He asked you not share my bed. He didn’t ask you to move out,” he pointed out.

Lydia glanced at Derek, “Yes, I’m aware.” She told him, “But you guys only have two bedrooms and I’m sure you want your space back.” She placed a pair of heels in her bag and paused. “Plus if I stay here...I’m going to end up right back in here. You know I will.” Lydia admitted softly before sending him half a smile, “Come on, be honest you’re totally sick of me,” she teased.

Derek rolled his eyes. “Hardly.” He frowned at her. “You know you’re always welcome here, Lydia. No matter what.” He didn’t really care if Stiles liked it.

Lydia watched him for a minute and nodded knowing what he said was true. “He has a point,” she said softly. “I probably wouldn’t be okay with things if the situation was reversed and I do strive not to be a hypocrite.” She said with a sigh. “If we’re going to be in a relationship then it’s important I take his feelings into consideration.” She admitted. “I love him. I don’t want him to be uncomfortable whenever he’s around us.”

Lydia shifted and sat back stretching her legs out in front of her. “You’ve got a comfortable couch,” she commented. “Maybe I can sleep on that,” she joked.

“Or you can have the bed and I can take the couch,” Derek suggested, serious. “Or I can buy another bed. You and Cora can share a room.”

Lydia arched an eyebrow, “I’m sure Cora would love that suggestion.” She said amused. “And I’d never make you sleep on the couch in your own home. Plus I’m not sure being in your bed without you in it is any better,” she said with short laugh as she pushed herself up from the floor.

“I feel like there’s more to his problem than what he’s actually saying because he doesn’t think he has a right to say anything at all.” Lydia admitted. “Stiles might have a big Derek shaped problem.” She said with a light chuckle.

“I think the only solution to the problem is for you and Stiles to become best friends so that I can exist happily within the confines of my mutually beneficial relationships with you both.” She told him with a grin as she sat on the edge of his bed.

Derek arched an eyebrow at that. “Stiles is going to have to learn to suck it up and deal with the fact that I’m not going anywhere.” He shrugged. “And I doubt that the two of us are ever going to be best friends, Lydia.”

“Well a girl can picture her ideal reality can’t she?” She asked. “And I think he’s sucked it up pretty well. It took him this long to say anything and it had to be bothering him for a while. I didn’t like him spending time with Braeden before I knew they slept together. Now I really don’t like it.”

Lydia pressed her lips together. “Maybe there’s another solution that hasn’t come to me yet.” She offered lightly.

“Maybe it’ll still come to you,” Derek said with faint amusement as he watched her.

Lydia arched an eyebrow, “I’m glad you find humor in my vacillation.” She said with a sigh. “If only the loft were bigger than I could have my own space, Stiles would be happy, Cora wouldn’t be put out and you’d be right here if I needed you...or vice versa.” Lydia commented.

Derek arched his eyebrow. “Cora and I have been talking about moving into another place,” he told her after a moment.

Lydia blinked, “Leaving the loft? You never mentioned it.” She said surprised.

“I’ve kind of been thinking about it since...Boyd,” Derek admitted.

Lydia’s expression softened and she got up off the bed and walked over to him rubbing his arm gently, “Yeah, I can understand that.” She said softly, “That was a while ago, what stopped you from looking?” Lydia asked softly.

“Chaos, usually,” Derek said with a faint smile. “But I have it on record there’s a nice apartment available in Chris’s building.”

Lydia perked up, “Really?” She asked, “That would be nice for you two...and close to Chris, you know I worry about him.” Lydia told him softly. “I’m sure he’d like having you there. Just think how much quicker you’d be able to get to guys night,” she teased.

Derek smirked. “It seems like it would be a good move for all involved parties. And he is the one who told me about the place,” he told her.

Lydia grinned, “Of course his did. I sort of adore him,” she said with a sigh. “What does Cora think?”

“She’s wanted to get out of this place for awhile now.”

“Nobody tells me anything,” Lydia teased with a shake of her head before smiling. “Well then you guys should absolutely do that. Make new memories in a new place, with all of its walls and such,” Lydia joked.

“There’s four bedrooms,” Derek said, watching her carefully. “Just so you know.”

Lydia hesitated, teeth sinking into her bottom lip. “Are you sure? I mean...I don’t want to,” she paused searching for the right words, “You don’t have to- I mean I’ll be okay on my own, you know?” She said softly.

“Lydia.” He gave her a look. “Everyone in this pack lives with someone else in this pack. Your mom’s never home. There’s no reason you should be the only one of us on their own. It’s not safe. And it’s not smart.”

“What does Cora think? You know she wasn’t thrilled with all the time I spend here.” She said softly. “I don’t want to make her uncomfortable.” But the truth was ever since the dance she and Cora had been getting along a lot better.

“Cora’s gotten over it,” he told her honestly, shrugging.

Lydia relaxed slightly, “I doubt my mom would even know I’m gone,” she said softly, “And it would be nice living near Chris,” she offered. “And it would give me an excuse to break in my new credit card, not that I need an excuse,” she joked.

Derek smirked involuntarily. “Of course not.” He moved away from the door, reaching out and winding his arms around her.

Lydia slid her hands down his arms before giving them a light squeeze. “Think of all the new furniture, this is going to be fun,” she teased lightly before her voice turned serious a minute later. “Thanks,” she said softly leaning into him, “For understanding that I’m not ready yet,” she told him. “And for letting me tag along.” Lydia told him softly.

“You’re very welcome,” he said quietly, hugging her. “And yes, I fully expect that you’ll be helping decorate the place. Not my strong suit.”

Lydia grinned, “Cora and I will take care of everything you can just sit there and look pretty.” She said amused. Lydia stayed where she was for a minute rubbing his back gently before shifting back. “Okay, I’m going to go make an effort and be social, check in on Stiles and let him know the new plan.” Lydia said with a half a smile. “Want me to bring food back with me later? I’m seeing some kind of movie marathon in our future.”

Derek considered that for a moment. “We haven’t done Chinese in awhile,” he said with a slight nod. “Sound good?”

“Sounds perfect I’ll pick some up on my way back and make sure I get enough for Cora and Isaac in case he shows up later,” Lydia said innocently as she stepped out of his arms.

Derek rolled his eyes. “And I’m sure he will,” he said wryly.

Lydia glanced at the closet and pulled out a pair of shoes. “Don’t crush my love for their budding romance.” She said lightly, “Get on board it will make everyone happier.” Lydia said lightly as she reached for her purse and keys before glancing around the room. “I made a satisfactory effort to pack up...I’ll do the rest tomorrow it’s lots of work.” Lydia told him with a small grin.

Derek smirked. “Text me when you get to the Stilinski-McCall-Lahey household and let me know you made it safe.”

Lydia patted his chest, “Will do my worrisome wolf, oh almost alliteration. I’ll work on that,” she commented with a grin as she moved around him and headed towards the stairs, her mood light.

Derek shook his head in amusement and watched her go.


Scott was sitting at the kitchen table working on chemistry homework when he heard familiar footsteps making their way up to the door. He cocked his head, smiling faintly and moving to the living room, pulling the front door open before Lydia could knock or ring the bell. Stiles had been asleep for most of the day, and he kind of figured the guy needed it after everything that had happened. He wasn’t sure how draining rituals were, but if Stiles’ sleep patterns were anything to go by, it definitely factored in. “Hey,” he greeted her.

Lydia blinked and then smiled realizing Scott must have heard her coming. “Hey,” she said with a small smile. She lifted the paper bag in her hand, “I brought scones,” she told him while shifting on her feet, “Mind if I come in?” she asked knowing it had been a while since the last time she’d been there.

“Not at all.” Scott smiled softly and stepped aside to let her in. “Scones, huh?” He grinned.

Lydia shrugged sheepishly. “I might have eaten the donut on the way here. No one fed me this morning,” she joked lightly as she walked into the house, her gaze darting around briefly before landing on Scott again. It had been a while since the two of them were alone together, probably since Stiles had gotten back.

Lydia smiled, “How are you?”

“Okay well that’s just rude. But if you’re hungrier than a donut, I can...uh, heat something up for you. I mean, we have a lot of leftovers. Not a lot, a lot. Isaac tends to devour everything.” He smirked.

He rubbed the back of his neck, leaning against the counter. “I’m good. I’m really glad that you’re okay.” His voice was quiet.

Lydia chuckled as she followed him into the kitchen, “I’d never say no to some of Melissa’s food, it’s good and the reason I’ve gained so much weight in the past year,” she joked lightly before her expression softened. She placed the bag down on the table and then stepped forward, reaching out and resting a hand against Scott’s arm, “Thanks,” she said softly. “I’m mostly glad too.” Lydia told him with a smile.

“Mostly?” There was more than a hint of worry in Scott’s voice as he reached out and hugged her tightly. “Just mostly?”

Lydia leaned into Scott and returned the hug. It had been a while since she had a good old McCall hug, “No, not mostly, I just meant I’m glad I’m okay too,” she paused and then shifted back while tilting her head up so she could see him, “But I worry. Lots of rituals...and the whole balance thing. I worry that Stiles might have upset it bringing me back,” she admitted. Something she hadn’t told Derek though she assumed he knew she worried. It wasn’t really something she’d talked about with Stiles either. Both of them were too glad that she was okay and too willing to do anything to bring her back. Lydia was worried Stiles might have gone too far.

Lydia shifted back from the hug and shrugged, the smile still on her face. It was probably a silly feeling, but it was almost like she was on borrowed time, like there was a ticking clock or something. And the pain she felt every so often was a reminder of that, though it was possible Lydia could be imagining it, but she didn’t think so.

Truthfully Scott was worried about the same thing. He didn’t understand how rituals worked, at the heart of the matter. He just knew that every time Stiles did some kind of ritual -- other than the one that bound him to the entire pack -- he seemed to be drained and a little bit older. It worried him. He didn’t understand the ins and outs of the whole emissary thing, but as far as he knew, Deaton didn’t do a lot of rituals. Or any, really, except the one where they’d all sacrificed themselves to save their parents.

“If there are consequences...if the balance is interrupted...we’ll figure it out,” he told her quietly, squeezing her arm lightly.

Lydia met his gaze and she could see the worry there. She hesitated, “I know,” she said softly. Lydia was silent for a minute, “I know you tried to stop him,” she reached out and squeezed his arm. “Thank you for that.” Lydia told him sincerely.

Scott winced, guilt flickering through him. “You know it wasn’t because -- because I didn’t want you here, right? I wanted you back, too.”

Lydia’s expression softened and she maintained eye contact with Scott as she rested a hand on his shoulder, “I know, I never thought that. I promise.” She paused, “Scott you’re just not that guy...you let Allison go,” she whispered, “I would never expect you to make an exception for me. You did the right thing and I told Stiles as much when he came to get me...But Allison said I should go, and Stiles said if I didn’t he’d stay and I couldn’t let him do that. You guys need him.” She said softly.

Scott’s chest tightened painfully at the mention of her having seen Allison again. It got worse when she admitted that Stiles threatened to stay dead if she didn’t come back. Was this how their lives were always going to be? Constantly in danger? One of them dying and someone else being willing to sacrifice themselves to deal or to bring that person back? He let out a breath, nodding and looking toward the fridge. “We need you, too, Lydia.” His voice was quiet. He moved over to the refrigerator, opened it and bent down, looking over the leftovers.

“We have leftover lasagna, leftover stir fry, and homemade baked macaroni and cheese.”

Lydia was quiet as she watched Scott. “Macaroni and cheese of course,” she said her tone light. She hesitated as she glanced down at her nails, picking slightly at her cuticles. “She wanted me to tell you she’s proud of you.” Lydia said softly, “And she’s watching over us.” She added.

Scott drew in a breath and let it out slowly, stilling in the middle of pulling the macaroni and cheese from the fridge. “That doesn’t surprise me,” he said very softly.

Lydia stepped forward and placed a hand against his back. “How are you?” She asked softly. “We haven’t talked much lately and...a lot has happened. How are you dealing with everything? Really.” She stated knowing Scott tended to take everything in stride without complaining.

Scott stood up once more setting the mac and cheese container on the counter before turning to face her, leaning against the stove. “It’s been a rough few weeks.” He glanced toward the stairs, a faint smile touching his mouth. “But Stiles is back for good. And we’re all okay. Maybe we’re gonna get a break now. You know? Maybe we can all just...relax for a little while.”

Lydia smiled at Scott’s optimism. “Anything is possible.” She followed his gaze to the stairs, “How’s he doing?” She asked lightly.

Scott was quiet for a moment, focusing. “He’s still sleeping right now,” he told her, arching his eyebrows. “And he’s still in some pain.” Which Scott had been draining from him periodically when he was asleep. “But I think he’s...doing better?”

Lydia frowned, “The wounds from the ritual haven’t healed yet?” She asked. “And he’s still in that much pain?” She didn’t like that. Lydia pulled out a chair and sat down, crossing her legs.

Scott paused, frowning, too, and then it dawned on him that of course she didn’t know because she’d been...out of commission at the time. “Peter sank his claws into Stiles before Stiles -- defended himself.”

Lydia pressed her lips together and then she glanced at Scott. “It needed to happen,” she said softly. “I know you don’t like it, but Peter...it had to be done.” Lydia told him softly. “Are you dealing with all of this okay?” She was worried about Stiles and she’d check on him soon, but she was worried about Scott too. She rarely saw him talk to anyone about what he was going through and she knew there had to be a lot going on inside of him with everything that had happened lately.

“I know,” he said after a moment. “And he’s -- definitely not coming back this time. Not like before.” He grimaced, rubbing a hand over his face before moving to get a bowl to dip some macaroni and cheese into to heat up for her. “But yeah. I’m all right.” His pack was all right. His mom was all right. Stiles’ dad and Chris were all right. That was all that mattered.

Lydia nodded. “Good, I’m glad.” She said before glancing towards the stairs. “I’m going to run up and check on Stiles while that’s heating up...is that okay?” She asked already standing up.

Scott smiled softly. “Yeah, of course it is. It’ll be a few minutes,” he assured her.

Lydia grinned, “Be right back,” she told him before getting up and moving to the steps. She walked up them and made her way towards Stiles’ bedroom, pausing just outside the door for a moment. Lydia pushed the door open quietly and walked into the room.

She grinned when she spotted Stiles lying face down on his bed in nothing but a pair of boxer shorts. Lydia moved close to the bed and was about to slip onto it when she got a closer look at Stiles’ back. A small gasp left her throat, her chest tightening as her gaze ignored the large tattoo for the moment and took in the scars crossing over his skin.

“Oh my god,” she whispered as she shifted forward and carefully rested her knee on the bed, dropping her hand to his back and trailing it over the scars there, a frown marring her face.

To say that he wasn’t used to waking up to hands touching him in any way was kind of an understatement. He jerked his head up sleepily, mumbling something unintelligible before opening his eyes. They were full of sleepy-eyed confusion when he turned his head to see her, relaxing almost instantly. “When did you get here?” he mumbled.

“What is this?” She asked, her voice barely a whisper, “Stiles...your back.” She said ignoring his question.

Stiles’ eyebrows furrowed for a moment until her words permeated his tired brain and he sighed, pressing his face into his pillow for a moment. Somehow he was pretty sure she wasn’t referring to his tattoos. He pressed his hands beneath him and sat up slowly, then rubbed them over his face so his vision was a little clearer. “It’s uh -- from January,” he said carefully.

Lydia swallowed hard her hand falling from his body as he sat up. “You didn’t tell me about this.” She said quietly, her brows furrowing. “It’s from the hunters isn’t it...they did this to you and she just left you there for days.” Lydia’s words trailed off anger blazing in her eyes. “I don’t care who she thinks she is, this is her fault and if she steps foot back into this town...I’m going to hurt her.” She stated matter-of-factly.

“Hey.” Stiles reached out and laid a hand on her arm as he felt the surge of anger. It was almost overwhelming. “I can’t lay this on Morrell. I went in without a Plan B.” He’d do it all over again if it meant saving Scott. “And I’m okay, Lydia. I’m fine.”

“You’re okay, now,” Lydia told him. “Three days Stiles…three. I can put anything I want on her.” Truthfully she blamed a lot more than three days on Morrell. She blamed Stiles leaving for so long on her. She blamed him losing the last of who he was witnessing the things she did, the things she made him do. Maybe it was wrong, but she didn’t care. That woman shouldn’t have been anywhere near Stiles. If he was going to be an emissary than Deaton should have been the one to train him.

Stiles cupped her cheek in one hand, gazing at her. “Listen to me,” he said softly. “We both know I rush headlong into stuff. I’ve always done it.” Like dragging his best friend into the woods one night to find a dead body. That had gone so well. He considered his next words carefully. “And I’ve been through worse than those three weeks, Lydia. A lot worse.”

Lydia pursed her lips, “Because of her,” she said as she met his gaze and curled her hand around his wrist, resting her forehead against his. “I’m not going to stop hating her, so you can stop trying,” she admitted softly.

“No. Because of the Nogitsune,” Stiles said quietly. “That was a lot worse than anything any hunter could ever do to me.” He closed his eyes.

Lydia’s chest tightened at his admission and she leaned into him and pressed a kiss to his cheek. “I’m sorry,” she said softly as she shifted closer to him ran her free hand down his side. “I wish I could have been there for you,” she said softly, brushing her thumb over his skin.

Stiles leaned his head against hers, reaching up and slowly running his hand down her hair. “It isn’t your fault.” He’d been the one who’d left. He chewed his lower lip for a minute, then paused and cocked his head to the side. “...Scott’s heating up macaroni and cheese.” His stomach growled. “What time is it?”

Lydia glanced at the clock, “Just after two,” she said lightly. “I was coming by to talk and Scott said you were asleep so he decided to make me some food,” she said with half a smile. “I’m surprised you can smell it from all the way up here.”

Stiles smirked at that, arching his eyebrows. “Never underestimate the amazing sense of smell of a hungry, growing teenage boy, Lydia.” He kissed the corner of her mouth very lightly before rising to his feet, moving to grab a t-shirt from his closet.

Lydia smiled at his words as she sat there watching him. This was the first time she was actually getting to see him sans a good portion of clothes. She admired the curve of his back and the way his muscles rippled with his movements. Her gaze was finally drawn away from his scars and to his tattoo. “It’s big,” she commented resting her hands behind her body so she was leaning back slightly on the bed.

Stiles glanced at her over his shoulder, a hint of mischief in his eyes. “There are so many ways to respond to that.”

A slow smirk spread across Lydia’s face and she arched an eyebrow. “Maybe you should pick one and come a little closer.” She told him nodding her head towards the bed.

“If only there wasn’t a super-hearing wolf downstairs fixing us food.” Yes, us. Because Stiles fully intended to weedle Scott into heating macaroni up for him, too.

Lydia rolled her eyes. “It’s just Scott, he doesn’t care,” she joked even as she pushed herself up into a standing position and walked towards him running her fingers down his arm as she moved to stand in front of him.

Stiles chuckled lightly before reaching out and tucking some hair behind her ear, his fingers skimming gently over her fair skin. “I love you,” he whispered.

Lydia’s gaze softened and she leaned into his touch. “I love you, too.” She said simply, her gaze dropping as a smirk pulled at her lips. “I’m especially starting to love you half naked. It will have to be a thing that happens more often in the future.” Lydia commented. “It’s a little unfair that you’ve seen me completely naked several times and you’ve yet to reciprocate.” She stated as her gaze found his.

Stiles’ eyes lit up at her words. “I have no problem with that happening more often in the future,” he informed her, grinning. “You know, as many times as you’d like that to happen. Whenever you want that to happen.”

“Good to know,” she said leaning into him, “Because I have a very healthy sexual appetite you know,” Lydia teased as she ran her hands down his arms.

“And I’m very glad about that, because so do I and I haven’t really gotten to indulge in it to nearly satisfactory levels,” he informed her solemnly, letting his hands rest on her hips.

Lydia arched an amused eyebrow, “Is that so?” She asked leaning into him, “Well we’re going to have to fix that,” she whispered as she leaned in and pressed her lips against his jaw as she trailed her hand passed the bandages on his chest, down the skin of his abdominal muscles, past his belly button and to the waistband of his boxers.

Lydia slipped her finger along his waistband as she trailed her warm lips across his skin. “But not now because you’ve got to eat and I’ve been informed you’re still injured,” she said as her hands disappeared from his body and she took a step back.

Stiles sighed as she pulled away, nodding reluctantly. At least it seemed like they were gaining some self-control over their hormonal sides. “Come on. Let’s go eat.” He held his hand out to her.

Lydia took his hand and threaded their fingers together as she tugged him towards the door gently. “Eating sounds good.” She said lightly as they headed for the stairs. “Oh, I wanted to talk to you about something,” Lydia said as they moved down the stairs together.

Eating sounded really good. Stiles hadn’t eaten since the previous evening. But his curiosity was immediately peaked at her comment. “Sure. What’s up?”

“An apartment just opened up in Chris’ building,” Lydia commented as they walked off the last step. “Chris told Derek about it because apparently he’s been thinking about moving from the loft for a while now.” She explained, her thumb brushing against the skin of his hand as they headed for the kitchen.

“Yeah?” That surprised him a little. “That’d be good for all of them, probably.” The loft held a lot of bad memories in its walls. It still struck him as kind of odd, the friendship that Chris and Derek had struck up. But it worked for them, and it was healthy all the way around from every angle Stiles looked at it.

“I think so,” she said softly, glancing at him sideways. “It’s a four bedroom apartment and Derek suggested I come with them.” Lydia told Stiles lightly. “It’ll be nice to be close to Chris,” she admitted as they walked into the kitchen. “And his apartment building is really nice.” Lydia added as she spotted Scott grabbing bowls from the cabinet.

“And you couldn’t really live in a safer place,” Stiles said easily. “Between Derek and Cora and Chris all being right there. It’s a good idea. Has he made the decision for sure?”

Lydia smiled, “We talked about it before I came here. I think so. Cora is ready to leave the loft, Derek too...it seems he’s not quite sick of me just yet,” she joked. “I’ll know more later when I go back to the loft, but I’m pretty sure it’s happening.” Lydia told him as she paused beside one of the chairs. “I just wanted to make sure you were okay with that.”

Stiles arched his eyebrows. “Yeah, of course. Lydia...I don’t have a problem with you spending time with Derek,” he said softly. “I don’t even have a problem with you living with him.”

Scott arched a brow at their conversation as he brought the bowls and forks over to the table and moved back over to get glasses.

Lydia watched Scott for a minute before glancing back at Stiles and smiling. “I’m glad...I just wanted to make sure. Because hopefully you’ll be visiting me often,” she said lightly with a grin, “And I wouldn’t want you to be uncomfortable,” she admitted squeezing his hand gently.

“I won’t be. I’m not,” Stiles said honestly, squeezing her hand in return as they sat down at the table. He glanced over at Scott. “Thanks, dude. You’re kind of awesome.”

Scott grinned, “So I’ve been told.” he said resting a hand on his friend’s shoulder, “Good nap? How are you feeling?”

“Yeah, really good. Slept like a rock. You know, if they actually had consciousness to have unconsciousness.” He looked up at his friend. “So I’m good.”

Scott nodded as he brought the drinks over and then sat down. “Good, you needed it.” He told his friend seriously before glancing at the clock. “I’m meeting up with Kira soon.” He admitted with a small smile.

Stiles grinned. “What are you two crazy kids up to?”

Lydia grinned as she reached for the food watching Scott as his face lit up.

“We’re going to a movie.” Scott said with a laugh, “Yeah I know, normal isn’t it?” He asked with a smile and shook his head.

“Movies are good,” Stiles assured him, patting his arm. He glanced at Lydia, soft smile on his face. “And so is normal.”

Lydia nodded, “It’s true. I like Kira,” she said softly as she brought a forkful of macaroni and cheese to her mouth chewing softly. “This is amazing.”

“Melissa is an amazing cook,” Stiles agreed, pausing and glancing at Scott, watching him intently for a moment before looking at Lydia. “So we sort of have a little bit of news of our own. Me and Scott and Isaac, I mean.”

Lydia arched an eyebrow, “Oh?” She asked glanced between them, “Well let’s have it.” She said with an arched eyebrow.

Scott smiled at Stiles and rested a hand on his friend’s shoulder. “You tell her,” he told him, his grin widening.

“My dad and Scott’s mom are...legally adopting all of us,” Stiles told her with a grin.

Lydia’s eyes widened momentarily before her expression softened and she grinned reaching out and resting a hand on Stiles’ arm. “That’s amazing guys,” her words were soft as she glanced between them. “Does this mean I’m sitting in a house of soon-to-be all Stilinski’s?” She asked with a grin.

Scott pondered her question and glanced at Stiles, “I don’t know.” He told her honestly. He wasn’t sure if that’s how it worked when people adopted you.

“Well...I think at this point, we’ll probably all be keeping our own last names,” Stiles said, uncertain. He glanced at Scott with raised eyebrows. “I mean, if you want to be Scott Stilinski, that’s cool with me.”

Scott grinned, “Aw bro,” he said nudging his arm, “Maybe I do want to be Scott Stilinski,” he joked. “And we can have Isaac Stilinski too.” He chuckled, “We’ll all be a bunch of Stilisnki’s.” He commented pausing for a minute. “My mom will be a Stilinski,” he told them, with half a grin.

Lydia chuckled at Scott’s enthusiasm. “Well now I feel left out,” she teased as she took another bite of her macaroni and cheese before pushing Stiles’ towards him so he’d eat.

Stiles smirked, patting his friend’s arm lightly before taking the bowl of macaroni and picking up his fork. He glanced at Lydia. Someday, he thought with a soft expression on his face. If things went well. Someday.

Lydia arched an eyebrow at his expression in question as she took another bite of her food.

Scott glanced between them and then patted Stiles on the back, “Alright guys, I’m gonna head out. But I’ll see you later,” he stood up and pushed in his chair his gaze drifting to Lydia. “It was nice seeing you,” he said softly, “Mom misses you, you should stop by more.” He told her.

Lydia swallowed hard and nodded. “I will,” she said lightly.

“Thanks for heating up lunch, man,” Stiles said sincerely. “Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do.” He suppressed a grin, ducking his head.

Scott snorted, “Is there anything you wouldn’t actually do?” He asked with a smirk shaking his head as he grabbed the key for his bike.

“Not much,” he admitted with a smirk of his own, watching Scott head for the door. “Drive safe. Be safe.”

Scott rolled his eyes and waved over his shoulder, “Yeah, yeah,” he said closing the door shut behind him.

Lydia grinned at their banter and shook her head good naturedly. “You two are quite adorable.”

Stiles grinned back at her. “I think so, too. I mean, I was gonna suggest we get bunk beds? But Melissa and my dad thought it might be healthier if we had our own rooms.”

Lydia arched an eyebrow, “It might also be healthier for our sex life too,” she said amused. “Unless Scott plans on getting some very strong ear plugs...or maybe listening in is your best friend’s secret kink,” Lydia joked.

Stiles choked on his bite of macaroni and cheese, coughing. “What? No. I mean, I don’t think so? I’ve never really thought to ask if that was his -- oh my god, Lydia.” He groaned and rubbed a hand over his face, shaking his head.

Lydia chuckled, “Relax, I was kidding...then again it’s not like he hasn’t already heard us…” she offered. “Most of them have.” Lydia said with a sigh, “We won’t make that a habit.” She told him with a smirk. “Unless that’s your secret kink,” she smirked jokingly enjoying the look on his face.

“You’re incorrigible,” Stiles informed her matter-of-factly.

“You don’t blush as easily as you used to,” Lydia admitted, “I need to keep you on your toes.”

“Well I’m pretty sure bringing up my best friend’s sex kinks will be a good way to do that,” he said wryly.

Lydia took another bite of her macaroni and cheese, “Well we can always discuss yours,” she told him with a grin, “Or mine.” She responded with a wink as she reached for her drink. It was nice to be having an actual normal conversation with him. Things always seemed so tense between them, but Lydia was in a good mood and right now...things didn’t seem so dire.

“Well, we do appear to have the house to ourselves, completely werewolf free.” His eyes twinkled with amusement as he took a drink as well.

Lydia arched an eyebrow, “Is that so?” She asked lightly, “No Isaac?” She asked as she shifted her chair closer to his.

“Nope. I’m not sure where he is, but he’s not in the house,” he informed her with a shrug.

“I might have to stay here for a bit then,” Lydia said with a smile. “I’m planning on dragging him back to the loft with me, well not that I’d have to drag him.” She told him amused. “Which means you’ll have to entertain me until he comes back,” Lydia added as she ate the last of her food.

“Huh.” Stiles finished off his macaroni and cheese, as well, considering her words. “I’m a very creative guy. I’m sure I can come up with a way to entertain you.”

“I know you are,” Lydia acknowledged and then glanced up and pointed a fork at him, “A way that doesn’t interfere with the healing process,” Lydia said pointedly.

Stiles just grinned.

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