Title: Never Know What Hit You
Authors: Sxymami0909 & Xtremeroswelia
Fandom: Teen Wolf
Timeline: Set after 3.18 'Riddled' AU from there.
Rating: R - for extreme violence
Pairings: Stiles/Lydia, Scott/Kira, Allison/Isaac, Eventual Sheriff Stilinski/Melissa, Derek Hale, Aiden, Ethan, Alan Deaton, Chris Argent
Summary: Stiles is in a race against time to figure out the latest mystery in Beacon Hills before he can no longer remember his friends and family. But when Stiles heads down a dark path, Scott and Lydia have to work with the pack to find a way to save their friend and save Beacon Hills. But are both possible? Or will they have to choose? Does one life outweigh the many? Or will a sacrifice be made to protect what's left of the town? Friendships will be tested, bonds broken, and lines drawn. And when all is said and done, nothing will ever be the same again.
Previous Chapters: | One |
If possible, Stiles was more wore out the next day than he had been the previous one. Even he had to admit that his color wasn’t good. He was paler than usual and considering how pale he was to start with, it made him grimace every time he saw himself in the mirror. His eyes were duller than usual, too, and he could tell that his dad had also noticed. And considering the way that Scott had been hovering around him basically all day, he knew his wolf powers were on full alert.
They were both scared. Of him or for him. He wasn’t sure there was that much different in this kind of situation.
He fell asleep in second period economics, and considering that Finnstock hadn’t so much as given him a dirty look or woken him, he knew someone had tipped off the teachers. He sighed. It was going to make keeping things normal pretty difficult if he couldn’t even get in trouble for falling asleep in class.
Lunch time rolled around and he made his way slowly toward the cafeteria, feeling kind of nauseated as he looked down at the plate of food on his tray. A burger, curly fries, an apple and a carton of milk. None of which sounded the least bit appealing. He paused in the entrance of the cafeteria when he spotted Scott and Lydia and Allison and Isaac at a table toward the back...with Aiden seated comfortably beside the pretty strawberry-blonde.
To say he wasn’t excited to be sharing eating space with the guy was a serious understatement. The guy was a douche and a half, and considering how much he hadn’t liked Jackson, for one tiny moment, he wished he was there instead of Aiden. He blinked a couple of times, startled at the thought.
“Well this is gonna be a pleasant lunch,” he mumbled, taking note that Isaac looked about as happy with the situation as Stiles felt. Annoyed, he made his way to the table, setting his tray down beside Scott and across from Lydia.
Scott did his best to keep the worry off his face as he greeted his friend; he could already see Stiles getting annoyed with all his hovering. “Hey man, I was starting to think you weren’t coming,” he said as he shifted over and made more room for Stiles.
“It was touch and go for awhile,” he said, casting a glance at Aiden and then at Scott, arching an eyebrow at him. He wasn’t really annoyed with Scott’s hovering. He was pretty sure if their situations were reversed, he’d be doing the same thing. He figured Scott would probably back off in a day or two when he realized Stiles wasn’t going to just drop dead out of the blue from his disease.
Scott’s gaze followed Stiles’. He knew his friend wasn’t exactly a fan of Aiden’s, but he couldn’t exactly tell the guy where to sit. Plus he was there with Lydia, so again it wasn’t like Scott could just make him leave. “How’s your day going?” He asked catching sight of Lydia glancing in their direction.
Stiles shrugged. “It’s a day,” he said, voice devoid of any emotion. He glanced at his best friend. “How about yours?”
Allison sat quietly on the other side of Lydia, taking a bite of her apple and looking at Isaac with an almost pained expression.
Lydia watched as Isaac reached out and placed a hand on Allison’s leg squeezing gently. She sighed and glanced away from them pushing at her food on her plate. It was too quiet. No one was really talking and it was making things incredibly tense. “How’d you guys do on the history pop quiz?” She asked glancing around the lunch table.
“I actually studied for it,” Allison informed her friend, glad for the sake of a normal subject. “So I think I did okay. What about you?” She could still hear Lydia’s voice in her mind when she’d called late the previous night to tell her that Stiles was sick. Not just sick, he was dying. Her friend was smart -- genius level smart, really -- but she wasn’t sure how well Lydia had been able to concentrate on history after the last couple of days.
Lydia scrunched her nose, “Not as well as I usually do,” she admitted, “But it’ll be fine.” She said glad that there was at least some normal conversation going on. She poked at her pasta salad again, but didn’t really have too much of an appetite.
“I bombed it,” Scott offered with half a shrug, “I’ll do better next time,” he said as he lifted the burger to his lips and took a bite.
Stiles shrugged, taking a bite of his apple and leaving the rest of the food on the tray. “Bombed it probably.”
Aiden arched an eyebrow at Lydia and then at Stiles. “Well considering your crazy sleepwalking antics I’m not surprised.” The words weren’t harsh, just matter-of-fact.
Lydia frowned, “Play nice,” she said as she met Aidan’s gaze and arched an eyebrow. She didn’t know what his problem was lately, but ever since she’d taken him to Stiles’ house he’d been snarkier than usual.
“What? Just being realistic,” Aiden said innocently.
Stiles studied him without saying a word, simply taking another bite of his apple, completely unphased by his commentary as he chewed and swallowed, a smirk pulling at the corner of his mouth. He turned his attention to Lydia. “I’m sure you did better on the test than you think you did.” He winked at her and took another bite.
Lydia’s expression softened, “You’ve got too much faith in my ability to know all the answers...though I typically do so maybe you’re right.” She said returning the smile before finally taking a bite of her pasta.
“You do typically,” Stiles agreed. Even if she wasn’t so great at picking boyfriends, he thought distantly. “Hell the teachers usually use your tests to grade everyone else’s tests, so I have a feeling you’re gonna be fine.”
Allison smiled a little at the exchange, reaching down and covering Isaac’s hand with her own.
Isaac threaded their fingers together and a slow smile spread across his face as he took in the look on Aiden’s face as he watched Lydia and Stiles interact. He tilted his head towards Allison speaking softly, but knowing any werewolves at the table would hear. “Stiles is the only one who can get her to smile like that,” he said casually his voice low.
Aiden scowled, shooting Isaac a nasty look and then turning his gaze on Stiles. The little shit wad was intentionally trying to get under his skin and he damn well knew it.
“Hey, Lyds, you think you might have a little time after school to help me out with a chemistry problem?” Stiles asked.
Lydia glanced up and nodded, “Sure,” she said pushing around her food again, “We can work on history too; I need to read the next few chapters. Your place or mine?” She asked watching Scott lean back in his seat.
Scott could feel the tension growing thicker around Aiden. He was getting better with learning how to read emotions in the air and it wasn’t looking pretty for the former alpha. He glanced over Stiles head towards Allison and Isaac.
Isaac grinned before turning back to Allison and Scott just shook his head. At least it seemed like Stiles and Isaac were finally on the same page about something.
“My house if that’s cool. My dad’s doing the day shift so he should be home. I thought I’d make some dinner for all of us and we can study and work before and after.” Stiles set his apple down on the tray, pushing it away from him a little. His stomach felt kind of unsettled just from the few bites that he’d eaten. His gaze flickered momentarily to Aiden, whose eyes were now narrowed as he glared at Stiles.
“I love when your dad is home,” Lydia said with a grin, “He always does a nice job of pretending to be impressed when I talk,” she said with a smile. The sheriff was actually incredibly nice on most occasions and Lydia often found herself wishing her parents cared about her the way Stiles’ dad cared about him.
“My dad’s pretty great,” he agreed, nodding. “But I think you actually do impress him, so there’s no real acting involved.” He grinned at her.
Scott frowned, “Why don’t I ever get invited to these dinners?” He glanced at Stiles a pout very close to forming on his lips, “You don’t cook for me anymore,” He frowned at Lydia, “Is this why you don’t eat with me and Mom anymore...and Isaac now too?” He asked trying to keep his pouting to a minimum. Being an alpha that pouted probably wasn’t all that intimidating.
Isaac called out from the other side of the table, “Personally I’m okay with him not coming for dinner, more food for me,” he said, but the joke was clear in his voice. Stiles glanced at Scott sideways. “Easy there, Scott. You can come over too. Open door policy.” He patted his friend’s shoulder.
“Actually I kinda thought you and I had plans for dinner tonight, Lydia,” Aiden spoke up, leaning forward on his seat. “You know dinner and a movie. Friday night plans?”
Lydia tilted her head, “Did we?” she asked not remembering them making those plans, but she didn’t think he’d lie. She tapped her finger against the table briefly before resting a hand on his arm, “I should probably help Stiles if he did that bad on the quiz. Can we postpone until Saturday? It’s a better date night anyway.” She told him with a smile.
His jaw tightened ever-so-slightly, but he smiled anyway. “Of course. The guy needs as much help as he can get.” He leaned over and kissed her cheek.
Stiles arched an eyebrow and glanced at Scott sideways. “I think he’s just jealous I didn’t offer to bring him home to meet my dad.”
Isaac chuckled, but stifled it when Aiden turned his glare on him. Scott didn’t like that Aiden kept taking cheap shots at Stiles, but he kept his temper in check for the moment.
Lydia glanced at Aiden and placed a hand on his leg, “You’re being rude.” She said quietly as she met his gaze.
Aiden held her gaze for a moment and pursed his lips. “I was just trying to fit in. The guy likes to make jokes.”
“Your jokes aren’t very funny,” Allison said, not looking at him.
Aiden’s gaze flickered over to Allison, “And his are?” He asked holding back the annoyance in his voice.
Isaac shrugged, “I think the problem is we don’t actually like you however we do like Stiles,” he said with a smirk.
Scott sighed, “Isaac,” he warned, though it was halfhearted. When Isaac glanced at him, Scott just shook his head.
Lydia rolled her eyes at Isaac, “How about everyone just stops talking to each other?” she said squeezing Aiden’s leg to reassure him.
Aiden covered her hand with his own, giving it a gentle squeeze.
“I should probably get an early start in study hall anyway,” Stiles announced, grimacing as he stood up, picking up his tray. “See you in a bit, Scott.” He winked at Lydia, then nodded in Allison and Isaac’s direction. “Catch you guys later.” He dumped the contents of his tray in the trash can before heading back out of the cafeteria and into the hallway.
Aiden watched Stiles walk away and he glanced at Lydia, “I’m going to start heading to class too, but I’ll see you later,” he leaned down and pressed a quick kiss to her lips before getting up and taking off down the hallway. He spotted Stiles and pursed his lips.
“Hey, jackass, wait up,” he called as he closed the distance between him and Stiles. “What the hell is your problem?”
Stiles was spinning the combination lock on his locker and he glanced up to see Aiden approaching. “What, you can fire the first shot, but you can’t handle the backlash? Interesting.” He pulled his locker open and started shifting his books from his bookbag to inside the locker, looking for the ones he’d need for his afternoon classes.
Aiden sneered, “Oh that’s rich coming from a guy who’s madly in love with a girl who doesn’t even know he exists.” He snapped. Aiden was tired of playing nice with Stiles.
He pretended that Aiden had shot him right through the heart. “You got me. That must be why she’s spending the evening with you and not me.” He paused, cocking his head and smirking. “Oh wait. She’s not.”
Stiles shifted the last of his books into his bookbag. “Let me give you a friendly piece of information that apparently hasn’t sunk in for you yet. You’re not good enough for Lydia. And you’re not good enough to be in Scott’s pack. They’re basically the exact opposite of you and everything you stand for. It’s not gonna work.” His tone was casual, but matter-of-fact.
Aiden glared at Stiles, “Oh, is that so? Let me guess, no one’s good enough for her but you right?” He asked shaking his head and laughing. “Please, it’s pathetic the way you moon after her. Let’s not forget, I’ve been inside your head,” Aiden cocked his head to the side, “Or as close as I ever want to come to being inside your head. There are traces of her all over your room. Trinkets, books, pictures of stupid trees.”
He took a step closer to Stiles, “You’re never going to be that guy. You’re always going to be the friend. So while you’re sitting there listening to her cry, I’m marking her as mine...everywhere. Here at school...in her car, on her bed.” Aiden’s voice lowered, “Lydia might have the best intentions, but she’ll always pick a guy like me over one like you.” He said with a smirk and a shrug.
“You know she told me not long ago that she didn’t want to be with a bad guy...So I helped throw that stupid black light party and I helped her when the Oni attacked her. And apparently that was good enough for her because not two days later she was writhing beneath me crying out my name. Tell me Stiles, has she ever cried out yours?” Aiden asked cocking his head to the side, “Yeah, I didn’t think so.”
Aiden pressed his hand on Stiles locker and slammed it shut nearly catching Stiles hand. “Back off. Lydia is mine.” He said the hint of a growl clear in his voice.
Stiles’ jaw tightened when the guy slammed his locker shut, nearly catching his hand inside.
Stiles chuckled but it was a sound devoid of humor. “You’re making all the wrong assumptions, which doesn’t surprise me because your brother’s the one that actually has a functioning brain.” He arched an eyebrow. “I’ve never believed I was going to be that guy. I’m okay with being her friend. Because I actually respect her.”
He looked at Aiden, his expression darkening a little. “You say you’re marking her as yours, but let’s be real here, Aidan. The only person Lydia will ever belong to is herself.”
“I’m gonna make it my personal mission in life to get all of them to see what kind of guy you really are,” Stiles informed him. “Lydia, Scott...I mean it won’t be that hard because Isaac hates your guts and Allison doesn’t trust you. How long do you really think this little game is gonna last?” He smirked. “And if Scott doesn’t trust you -- and believe me, he really doesn’t -- you won’t last with Lydia either, because Lydia is part of his pack. So enjoy it all while you can, because this isn’t permanent.”
Aiden’s jaw clenched, his hands balling into fists at his sides, “You can have whatever idiotic mission you want to have. I’m not the same guy I was when I came to this damn town. I care about Lydia, and you’re just throwing your little man tantrum because you don’t like that she has me in her life.” He said pointedly.
“You’re not nearly as important to her as you think,” Aiden said with a smirk.
Stiles’ smirk widened. “Really? You must disagree or you wouldn’t be so threatened by me, would you?”
Fury filled Aiden’s eyes as he stared at Stiles.
Lydia was walking with Allison, books in hand as they made their way down the hallway heading to their next class. She had been in the process of asking Allison something about Isaac when they turned and Lydia paused frowning. She got an odd feeling in the pit of her stomach and as she opened her mouth to call out to Stiles, Aiden reared back his arm and slammed it forward.
“STOP!” Lydia’s scream echoed in the hallway, but Aiden’s fist had already connected with the side of Stiles’ face. It was like everything happened in slow motion. Lydia dropped her books beside Allison and closed the distance between her Aiden, and Stiles faster than anyone would have thought possible in her heels.
Stiles hit the ground, wind knocked out of him and he lay on his back for a second, brain not processing the fact that Lydia and Allison were approaching.
Allison’s own eyes widened as she saw Stiles hit the floor from the force of the blow and her jaw tightened as she followed her best friend down the hallway, reaching into her purse for her taser just in case. “Back up,” she ordered Aiden, glaring at him. “Now.”
Stiles hadn’t really seen it coming but in retrospect he probably should have. He was the one goading a werewolf with serious anger management issues. But better him than someone else finding it out later, like Lydia. “Well that was just uncalled for,” he mumbled, struggling to sit up.
Lydia was on her knees beside Stiles before he was halfway sitting, “Are you okay?” She asked her tone breathless as she reached out gently touching his face ignoring her best friend and Aiden for the moment. She would deal with him next.
He winced, cheek already beginning to bruise. Damn werewolves. “Yeah. Yeah, I’m all right. It’s nothing.” He resisted the urge to say that Aiden hit like a girl, because that was insulting to girls and pissing the angry wolf off even more probably wasn’t the best plan, especially considering Lydia and Allison were there now.
Lydia swallowed hard and shifted slowly pushing herself to her feet as she turned to Aiden, anger clear on her face. Her eyes narrowed, “What the hell was that? Are you out of your mind?” She snapped.
“Don’t take his side without knowing the whole story,” Aiden said defensively, shaking his head. “You didn’t hear the things that --”
“I don’t care,” Lydia cut him off. “Nothing he could possibly say would have deserved that. You’re not just some guy getting angry Aiden. You could have hurt him, badly.” She said one of her fists clenching at her side. “And there’s no excuse for that.”
“Lydia’s right.” Allison stepped beside Lydia, glaring at him, too. “You need to walk away now.” There was no room for joking in her voice.
Stiles looked up at the girls, and then over at Aiden, slowly rising to his feet and picking up his bookbag. He arched his eyebrows, suppressing the tiny smirk that was trying to creep onto his face. He just gave Aiden a knowing look.
Aiden glared, this couldn’t have gone better if Stiles had planned it. “You little shit,” he growled and took a step forward only pausing when Lydia was suddenly in front of him.
“Back off.” Lydia said her voice hard. “I don’t know how I ever thought you could change.” She leaned forward, “This thing, this distraction we had going on, it’s over. We’re done.” She said holding his gaze, her hand stretched behind her resting lightly against Stiles arm.
“Don’t make me use my taser,” Allison warned.
It really couldn’t have gotten any easier even if Stiles had actually planned it out. Give an idiot enough rope and they’ll eventually hang themselves with it, he heard his dad say once. Apparently that was accurate in Aiden’s case. “I’m okay, Lyds,” he murmured when she touched his arm. “It’s fine.”
Aiden pursed his lips, “I’ll go for now, but we need to talk about this,” he said to Lydia, but before she could answer a new voice sounded from behind them.
Scott stood arms crossed over his chest the crowd around them growing. “No, you don’t. Leave now, before I get angrier.” He said, his eyes flashing red. He and Isaac had been on the other side of the school when they heard Lydia scream and he’d gotten there for the end of the Lydia’s words.
The only reason Aiden was still standing was because there were too many people around for him to knock Aiden around. “I’ve tolerated you because Lydia liked you and because it seemed like you were trying to change. But if I see you come within ten feet of Lydia, there won’t be a place in Beacon Hills you can hide.” He said his voice low and hard.
Aiden looked from Scott back to Lydia and then finally at Stiles. He pursed his lips and turned on his heel heading down the hallway to the double doors. Lydia watched as he slammed them open so hard they shook and then he was gone. She let out a breath and leaned back into Stiles slightly.
Allison watched him go, too, and shook her head, tension radiating from her in waves. She turned to look at Stiles. “Are you okay?” There was worry in her voice.
Stiles nodded in answer to Allison's question. And when Lydia leaned back into him, he reached out and put a hand on her arm, squeezing it gently. “I’m fine,” he said, despite the fact his cheek was throbbing painfully. He was just glad that Aiden hadn’t broken his nose or knocked out any teeth. That would’ve sucked. He pursed his lips, looking at Scott silently.
Scott stepped forward and Lydia shifted the tiniest amount to give him some room. “You really okay?” He asked some of the anger dissipating from his face and replaced with worry. He knew how hard Aiden could hit and he knew it most likely wasn’t pleasant.
Stiles nodded, exhaling slowly and shifting his bookbag so that it was on his back. “Yeah. I’m okay. Seriously. I’m fine.” He didn’t like the way they were all looking at him, like they were waiting for him to keel over any second.
Isaac’s eyes were on the doors where Aiden had vanished. He looked back over at everyone else and grinned, “This means he’s definitely not joining the pack right? You can’t hit Stiles and stay...that’s like a deal breaker, right?” He asked.
Scott opened his mouth to say something, but he just laughed and shook his head. “You have absolutely no verbal filter...do you?” He asked with a smile as he reached over and patted Stiles on the back.
Lydia huffed and rolled her eyes finally loosening her grip on Stiles and shifted to his side.
Stiles suppressed a smile. “I should head to study hall.” He glanced to the doors ahead, looking unsettled.
“You should probably get some ice first,” Allison advised. “Your cheek’s already bruised.”
He could feel that much was true and he gave her a faint smile, nodding. “I’ll swing by the nurse’s office first.” He let out a breath, a wave of exhaustion suddenly washing over him. He did his best to ignore it, glancing at Lydia for a moment before leaning in and whispering into her ear, even though he knew Scott and Isaac could hear him. “You can do so much better.” He squeezed her arm before heading off, patting Scott on the arm on his way past.
Lydia watched him go and she felt her eyes starting to burn, the pressure in her chest growing heavier. She turned away from her three friends quickly dabbing at her eyes and took a deep breath trying to calm her rapidly beating heart. “I should go too, class.” She said softly as she went to walk away, not even realizing she didn’t have her books.
Allison glanced back to where Lydia had dropped her books, quickly moving to retrieve them and then following her friend down the hall. “I’ll walk with you,” she said as she caught up with her, waving at Scott and Isaac.
“You don’t have to, I’m fine,” Lydia said trying to brighten up her voice, but she felt like any minute the dam was going to break and that couldn’t happen. Not here, not again. She hadn’t allowed herself to get so emotionally worked up since Stiles told her about being sick.
Sure you are, Allison thought as she followed her friend. “You forgot your books, Lydia,” she said softly. She put a hand on her friend’s arm and steered them into the girl’s restroom.
Lydia went willingly, not like she had another choice. When they were inside she turned to face Allison, “Thanks, I’ll take them.” She said holding out her hands as she glanced around the bathroom looking anywhere, but at Allison.
“Lydia.” Allison’s voice was full of worry. “Are you okay? I mean, really?” Lydia had referred to Aiden more than once as a distraction, but she wasn’t sure there wasn’t more to it than that.
Lydia finally looked at Allison, “Am I okay? Of course I’m not okay.” She sucked in a sharp breath and pressed her lips together hard.
Her eyes were sad, chest tightening at the look on her best friend’s face. “Right, of course not. It’s been a really bad few days.” She looked down for a moment. “None of this is your fault. You know that right?”
“I’m sorry,” Lydia said quietly. She knew Allison was just trying to help and yes, there was a part of her that was upset that Aiden couldn't be the guy she thought he could be. But mostly her heart just hurt at the thought that someday Stiles might not be around. It was silly because there was no way they weren’t going to find a way to help him, but still. Just the thought that there would come a day where he wouldn’t be there...well Lydia didn’t like to think about that.
“Of course it’s my fault. None of you liked Aiden and I should have...I should have respected that and hung out with him on my own time. He’s been acting funny for a couple of days and I don’t know why. Ever since the night we thought Stiles was kidnapped,” she admitted with a shrug. “I don’t know what was going through his crazy werewolf head today.”
“You try to see the good in people, Lydia. There’s nothing wrong with that.” She pursed her lips, leaning against one of the bathroom sinks. She was quiet for a moment. “It sort of seems to me that...Aiden feels like Stiles is a threat to your relationship.” She watched Lydia closely to try and gauge her reaction. “Is there any grain of truth to that?”
Lydia tightened her grip on her books, but rolled her eyes and sent her friend a bored look. “Aiden is an idiot; I don’t know where he’d get an idea like that.” She said matter-of-factly, which didn’t exactly answer the question.
“Well, you and Stiles have been spending a lot of time together lately,” Allison pointed out, taking note of her friend’s tension despite her eye roll and bored tone.
“Stiles and I always spend a lot of time together.” Lydia said, “A lot of men and women spend time together.” She added, “Look at you and Isaac,” she paused, “Bad example.”
A smile tried to tug its way onto Allison’s mouth, but she didn’t allow it. Of all times for Lydia to start falling for Stiles, she thought sadly. It really wasn’t fair. But life wasn’t fair. It never had been. “Okay.”
Lydia arched an eyebrow, “Okay,” she said. She hadn’t expected Allison to give up on her little questioning spree so soon, but she was glad she had. “Okay...Can we go to class now?” She asked.
“We can. The bell’s probably about to ring and I really don’t want detention.” She smiled faintly, deciding to let her best friend off the hook for now. She didn’t want to be the cause of Lydia crying at school.
Stiles stood in the kitchen, trying to remember what had brought him down there from his room, but it was like there was a blank space in his mind. He rubbed his hands over his face, wincing as his fingers brushed over the bruise there. “Why did I come down here?” he mumbled, looking around in hopes that something would jog his memory, but to no avail. He sighed heavily, leaning back against the counter.
He heard the front door open, realizing his dad was finally home. He’d called earlier to say he was going to be late and not to hold dinner. He moved to the fridge and opened it, pulling out the chicken and noodles he’d made for dinner earlier and setting the container on the counter. He got out a smaller container to heat the food up in for his dad, keeping his back to the kitchen entrance for the time being. “Hey. How was work?”
The Sheriff shrugged off his jacket slinging it over one of the backs of the chairs and then unholstered his gun with a grunt. “Long,” he said as he glanced in his son’s direction. He stood there watching him and his chest grew tight. He pushed it away though not wanting to bring the mood down knowing Stiles wanted to keep things as normal as possible. It was hard, but he could indulge his son.
“How was school? Anything interesting happen?” He asked while pulling out the chair and sitting down.
He almost snorted. Interesting was one word for how school had been that day, but he didn’t say that. “It was okay,” he said instead, even though he wasn’t going to be able to hide what happened from his dad for long. “I made chicken and noodles. Lydia’s upstairs studying. We have a chemistry test on Monday. Kinda been struggling with that class.”
The Sheriff pursed his lips together at his son’s words. Lydia Martin had been spending quite a bit of her time in the Stilinski household lately and he wasn’t sure what to make of that. So he decided to broach the subject with his son. “Lydia’s been spending a lot of time here lately.” He commented leaving the statement open.
“Not like that,” he said without hesitation. He couldn’t exactly explain it. He didn’t think that telling his dad, Well, Dad, I think it’s because she was my anchor in an ancient druid ritual that I died in to make sure you stayed alive and we’ve become close friends since then would go over very well. “She’s trying to figure out things with her abilities and...I don’t know, I guess she needs someone to listen sometimes.” He sighed softly.
The Sheriff heard something in his son’s voice that he couldn’t quite place. “It seems like if she needed someone to talk to she’s got other friends too,” he observed. “She comes to you though, maybe there’s more to it than you think.” The Sheriff had spent many nights with the two teenagers and he was hardly blind, though he was starting to think his son was. Unless...unless there was a reason Stiles refused to acknowledge there might be something there, like the fact that he might not be around long enough to explore it. The Sheriff shut his eyes briefly trying to force back the emotion that was pestering him.
“She has a boyfriend, Dad, so I don’t think that’s really…” He shrugged a shoulder, turning to glance at him without really thinking about it as he heated up the food in the microwave. Granted, she may have broken up with earlier after Aiden had decided to plow his fist into Stiles’ face, but whether it would stick or not, he really didn’t know. As much as he loved Lydia, both as a friend and more than a friend, he knew she had a bad habit of letting people who were unworthy of her time and attention back into her life. Exhibit A: Jackson Whittemore.
The Sheriff was up and out of his seat in a matter of seconds. “What the hell happened to your face?” He asked gripping his son’s chin and turning his head carefully to get a better look.
He grimaced. “Got into a fight in the school hallway.” He was lucky he hadn’t ended up getting detention again. Fortunately no teachers had been around at the time.
“A fight?” He frowned, “About what, what could you possibly be fighting about?” He sighed as he let go of his face and shook his head. “I take it you didn’t get in trouble since I didn’t get any calls today.” He said as he pinched the bridge of his nose.
Stiles winced at that, guilt washing over him. He tended to do a lot of stupid, impulsive things and he forgot sometimes how hard it was for his dad to deal with his son’s stupidity. “No, no trouble,” he promised. “I’m sorry.” He turned back to the microwave and pulled out the heated up dinner, carrying it over to the table and setting it down for his dad. “What do you want to drink?”
The Sheriff saw Stiles wince and he immediately felt bad. “It’s not a big deal,” he said quietly. “I just worry. That looks like it hurt. Have you iced it?” He asked as he walked over to the refrigerator to get a drink not wanting Stiles to have to wait on him.
“I know you do. That’s why I’m sorry,” Stiles said quietly, tired in ways that weren’t just physical anymore. “I had some ice on it earlier at school, yeah.” He sat down in the chair across from where he’d out his dad’s food, foot bouncing on the floor almost immediately. “I’m okay.”
The Sheriff arched an eyebrow as he walked back over to the table with his water and sat down. “You keep saying that and yet...you seem a bit jittery. Is something wrong? You know you can tell me if there is,” he commented lightly as he took a sip of his water. “This looks good, thanks son.”
“I’m always jittery,” he pointed out, shrugging and looking down at the table. Then, “I may have started the fight.” His voice was hushed.
Stiles dad lifted some of the noodles on his fork, “That doesn’t seem like you,” he said giving his son a chance to talk. They used to talk more often, but things get in the way. He was hoping that could change now though.
Stiles wondered if that was really true. Maybe once upon a time he’d been a good kid, the kind of kid that while was hyper, didn’t actually tend to cause trouble. All he did these days though was cause trouble and maybe he felt a twinge of bittersweet sadness and relief at the thought that his dad wouldn’t have to deal with that forever. “It was with Lydia’s boyfriend.” He ran his fingers over the smooth tabletop, tracing nonsensical patterns there and not able to meet his dad’s eyes. “He’s kind of an asshole.”
The Sheriff frowned, “An asshole how?” Lydia was opinionated and sarcastic, but she was a good girl at heart and he saw the way she was with his son. They cared about each other and if someone was hurting her or being mean to her, he wanted to know about it.
“Just in general.” His jaw tightened as he remembered the day that Boyd had died. The way that it hadn’t affected Aiden at all, like he hadn’t just helped brutally murder another kid. He wanted to tell his dad about that, but his fear that his dad would wind up hurt going after a werewolf, which even though he knew about werewolves now, he wasn’t really prepared to deal with, kept him from filling in a lot of the blanks. “He reminds me a lot of Jackson, only I think I liked Jackson more.” And that should actually tell his dad a lot about his feelings toward Tweedle-Dumb.
The Sheriff winced, “Jackson was an ass,” he said gruffly as he scratched the back of his head. He took a bite of his dinner and swallowed contemplating his son’s words. “Does Lydia know about the fight?” He asked.
Stiles nodded silently, then sighed, leaning back in his chair, desperately needing to explain why he’d goaded Aidan into a fight, but not wanting to burden his dad with that. “I guess I just wanted her to see what an asshole he really is.”
Realization hit the Sheriff, “You antagonized him on purpose,” he responded, shaking his head. Sometimes his son was too smart for his own good...and incredibly protective of the people he loved. “And...did she?”
“I think so. I just don’t know if it’ll last,” he admitted quietly.
The Sheriff was quiet for several minutes, his arms leaning on the table as he watched his son struggling with things he probably didn’t even know about. But he was glad Stiles was opening up to him. “Have you told her?” He asked quietly, trying not to let the pain show on his face, though that was pretty much impossible.
He didn’t have to ask what his dad meant by that. He gave a short nod of his head, pursing his lips. “She knows. She didn’t...take it very well.” He chewed his thumbnail.
The Sheriff let out a short laugh though there wasn’t much humor in it. He glanced at his son arched an eyebrow confusion on his face, “Did you expect her to?” He asked not sure why his son was stating such an obvious thing. Of course she wouldn’t take it well. He can’t imagine anyone who cared about Stiles taking it well.
Stiles was silent for a long time, staring down at the table. “What if...there was a way that…” He waved his hand between him and his dad. “That this could all go away?” He went back to chewing his thumbnail.
The Sheriff’s head popped up, “What do you mean?” He asked realizing that his heart was suddenly pumping heavily in his chest. “There’s no cure son...you do know that, I mean there are treatments, but” The Sheriff swallowed hard, “But there hasn’t been much success.” He said quietly his chest tightening.
Stiles almost wished he hadn’t brought it up at all, because it isn’t a great solution, but it might be a solution. He swallowed hard at the hope that he watched flicker over his dad’s face and that was all it took for Stiles to realize that he was going to have to let Scott try. Or maybe not Scott. But someone. If it didn’t work, he wasn’t sure Scott could deal with that kind of guilt. “A bite from an alpha werewolf,” he said uncomfortably.
The Sheriff opened his mouth and then shut it promptly. Scott. He was the only alpha in town as far as they’d told him. “You want to be like Scott?” He asked quietly, but didn’t give Stiles a chance to answer. “I don’t understand that world. I know you’ve tried to explain it to me, but it’s hard for me.” he paused and then reached out placing his hand over Stiles’.
“That being said, if this alpha bite...if it can save your life and that’s what you want. I will support you all the way. No matter what you are, you will always be my son.” He moved his hand and gripped the back of Stiles head. “I will always love you, werewolf or human.” At this point the Sheriff was willing to move heaven and hell to keep his son from suffering the same way his wife had.
“Want is kind of an overstatement if I’m being honest.” And apparently he was being more honest than he’d initially intended. “And it’s...not a sure thing. It doesn’t work for everyone, Dad.” His voice was quiet. And if it didn’t work, he’d die a lot sooner than three years, depending on when he took the bite. “But I am considering it.” Tears flooded his eyes when his dad spoke and wordlessly he hugged him, burying his face in his dad’s neck. He hadn’t ever, before, really.
He knew there were plenty of advantages of being a werewolf, of course. Super strength and hearing and sight and smell. Super speed. Like a furry Superman, in a way. It just came back with all those drawbacks like having hunters on your ass all the time, and dealing with things like alpha packs. And then of course there was the fact he’d have ties to an alpha and if he was being honest, the only alpha he would ever actually listen to at all would be Scott. He just wasn’t sure that he could ask that kind of thing of his best friend. It was a lot, even if Scott had been the one to bring it up initially.
But at least he knew now where his dad stood on the issue.
The Sheriff rubbed his hand over Stiles back not sure he understood that the bite might not work and what that meant, but they could talk about it another time. “It’ll be okay Stiles,” it had to be. He wasn’t sure he could go through losing Stiles the way he lost Claudia.
He pursed his lips, nodding tiredly and letting his eyes close for a moment. “Yeah,” he said quietly, reluctantly pulling away. He hesitated. “I should...probably check on Lydia. She’s probably wondering where I went.”
The Sheriff nodded wiping his eyes slightly, “Good idea,” he said and as if she had known they’d been talking about her Lydia’s voice echoed in the hallway.
“Stiles Stilinski, I send you downstairs for some water and you think you can dawdle just so you don’t have to study?” She called out stepping into the kitchen and pausing at the sight of Stiles and his Dad. “Oh, I’m sorry.” She said immediately anxiety gripping her when she saw their faces. “I didn’t mean to interrupt. Hi, Sheriff.”
Stiles’ dad waved her off, “It’s fine, we were just talking. But we’re done.” He said with half a smile as he brought his hands back to his fork and moved it around in his pasta before taking another bite.
Lydia glanced at Stiles and hesitated, “You alright?”
Water. Right. That was the thing he couldn’t remember he’d come downstairs for. He offered her a small smile. “Yeah, everything’s fine,” he assured her. “I just got sidetracked when my old man got home.” His voice was joking and he patted his dad’s shoulder, giving it a squeeze before moving away and pulling down a couple of glasses from the cabinet.
Lydia walked over to Stiles and placed a hand over his before he could fill up the glasses. She shifted, reached up and cupped his chin in her hand turning his head slightly so she could see the angry bruise on his face. “We should ice this again,” she said softly as she carefully brushed her thumb over the purpling skin. “I’ll grab some.”
“Thanks, Lyds,” he said softly, managing not to wince even from the light touch. He glanced over to where his dad was watching them with a faint smirk. He could practically hear his dad’s thoughts. Just friends. Yeah, right.
Lydia went to one of the drawers, pulled it open and grabbed a ziplock baggy, “I still cannot believe he hit you.” She shook her head as she walked over to the freezer her heels clicking loudly. “He’s lucky I didn’t take my heel and shove it right up,” Lydia paused peeking over at the Sheriff, “Um places…” she turned back to the freezer and pulled out some ice putting it in the bag. When it was halfway full she closed the freezer and then the bag before grabbing a paper towel and walking back over to Stiles.
Lydia paused in front of him and tilted her head. “I’m sorry,” she said softly. She wasn’t sure she’d apologize for Aiden’s behavior earlier, but with the evidence right in front of her it was hard not to. This was just another thing to add to the list of stuff that was her fault.
Stiles tried to ignore the guilt that swept over him. He’d manipulated Aiden like a pro, and sure, he’d gotten a giant bruise as the result, and Lydia had broken things off with him like he was hoping. But had his reasons really been as simple as protecting her from someone who wasn’t good enough for her? Or were they more selfish than that? He rubbed the back of his neck, then reached out and caught her arm. “Don’t. It isn’t your fault,” he said sincerely.
“I shouldn’t have forced you guys to spend time with him...especially after what he did to Boyd.” Lydia said quietly. She wrapped the paper towel around the bag and carefully held it up to his cheek. “You’re right...I do deserve better.”
The Sheriff watched their interactions out of the corner of his eye and something tightened in his chest.
Stiles winced slightly, but exhaled softly. “Yeah. You really do.” Even if it would never be with him, Stiles wanted her to find someone who would treat her the way she deserved to be treated. “But no one’s upset with you, Lydia. For the record.” Actually Isaac might have been upset with her, but he’d get over it. Even if Stiles had to talk to him about it.
Lydia held Stiles’ gaze for a couple of minutes, silence surrounding them as she held the ice to his face. But when she felt the familiar burning sensation in her eyes, Lydia broke their gaze and looked away. “We should probably finish studying.”
Stiles' chest tightened at the look in her eyes, gently taking the bag of ice from her. “Yeah, you’re right. Chemistry test Monday. Gotta get on that.” He wanted to reach out and put a hand on her shoulder, but he was afraid that it would be too much and she’d breakdown again.
Lydia nodded, “And we certainly can’t have you failing, not that you ever do.” Stiles was smart, a lot smarter than people gave him credit for. “I’ll just-” Lydia frowned, “Did you hear that?” She asked. But then she heard it again a little louder this time. A fork dropped and Lydia winced. Oh god, they were back.
“Lydia?” When she faltered, he reached out, resting a hand on her shoulder with a troubled frown, shooting a worried glance at his dad before focusing on her, setting the bag of ice on the counter. “Lydia, hey. What do you hear?” His heart began to pound harder in his chest.
Lydia closed her eyes when the voices grew louder all whispering at the same time. She lifted her hands covering her ears like that would somehow make a difference.
The Sheriff scraped his chair back concern on his face and Lydia winced jerking back at the sound. “Stop,” her voice held a frantic note to it. “I don’t understand...I don’t understand,” she said again, but the voices just got louder.
Lydia pressed herself back against the counter her face screwing up in pain. “Please stop,” she whispered not even able to find Stiles voice through the massive cranium attack she was currently having. The riddle was back, the one voice deeper, harder. And then something new, flashes. Darkness, flashes of faces, but nothing distinct. Whoever it was felt familiar, but Lydia couldn’t concentrate as the voices continued to whisper sounding like white noise in her head.
Her legs felt weak as a scream built in her throat. It was like something was trying to overwhelm all of her senses at once. Lydia continued pleading for them to stop, slow down, she didn’t understand as her legs shook, her hands still pressed hard against her ears, eyes screwed shut.
Stiles didn’t know what to do other than wrap his arms around her tightly when he saw her knees start to buckle, like she was going to fall. His eyes were wide. He shot a frightened look at his dad, not sure if he was more worried about his dad witnessing what was happening or more worried about what it meant that she was having another episode so soon.
“Lydia, Lydia,” he whispered, mouth close to her ear. “It’s okay. Let it out. Scream, Lydia.” He swallowed hard, looking at his dad. “Cover your ears.”
The Sheriff’s eyes were wide as he watched Lydia; she looked almost identical to Stiles when he had nightmares. He stood off to the side not sure what to do. It was a truly frightening sight. Confusion crossed his face but he did as his son said and placed his hands over his ears.
When warm arms came around her Lydia released one of her ears and clutched at Stiles shirt, and then his voice was warm by her ear, comforting and she grabbed on to the sound trying to block out everything else. Her mouth opened and a shrill scream sounded, louder and longer than any before it. The glasses on the counter beside them shattered and then everything was silent and Lydia felt herself slipping, mentally and physically exhausted.
Since his arms were busy holding her up, Stiles couldn’t cover his own ears and he winced as the sound reverberated loudly in his eardrums. He held onto her more tightly burying his face against the back of her shoulder and squeezing his eyes shut until she stopped screaming. He hadn’t even heard the glass breaking but it was the first thing he saw when he lifted his head up to look around. He exhaled slowly, pretty sure he was the only reason she was still upright considering how limp she was in his arms.
Stiles carefully eased her down onto the floor, but away from the glass that had splintered and gone everywhere. He moved quickly, grabbing a wet washcloth from the bathroom and bringing it back to her, pressing it to her face. “Can you hear me?” he asked anxiously.
The cool cloth made Lydia wince. Her eyes fluttered open a hint of confusion in them when she glanced to her left and noticed she was on the floor. “What happened?” She asked voice hoarse. “Why am I on the floor?”
The Sheriff came over to help bending down and resting an arm behind Lydia to help her sit up. “Does this happen a lot?” He asked his son.
“Ugh, my head,” Lydia winced while reaching for Stiles.
Stiles sat beside her on his knees, looking from Lydia to his dad. “Too much,” he murmured. Especially lately. He drew in a breath and let it out slowly. “You screamed, Lydia,” he told her, brushing some hair out of her face. “Do you uh, do you hear anything now?”
Lydia leaned into the light touch. “No,” she said relieved. She glanced over at the Sheriff who was squatting near her and Stiles. “Sorry about that Sheriff.” Lydia’s voice was soft as she glanced down self-consciously.
He wasn’t sure if it was good or not that she wasn’t hearing anything now. The last time she’d screamed it had clarified things to the point she’d been able to direct them to the building where Kira was when she was in trouble.
A phone ringing sounded in the quiet room, and then another from farther away. Lydia’s brows drew together and she sighed, “Do you think they heard?” She asked.
It took him a moment to realize she meant the ringing phone from upstairs. Hers. He grimaced. “Yeah. Probably so. Sensitive werewolf ears and everything. I’ll go get your phone.” He rose to his feet, patting his dad’s shoulder on his way out of the room.
Lydia watched Stiles go before glancing at the Sheriff. He sent her a warm smile and offered her his hand. She took it gratefully and he helped her up. “I’m sorry about the glasses, I...that’s never happened before.” She said swallowing hard.
The Sheriff watched her as she spoke and he could see the trepidation on her face. He placed a hand on her shoulder. “It’s okay, we can get new ones, but my son only has one of you,” he joked, “So try to stay in one piece will you.” He said concerned.
Lydia’s heart warmed at the concern she saw on his face and before she could stop herself she reached out and pulled the Sheriff into an impulsive hug. Not sure what had come over her. “Thank you,” she said softly.
Stiles was heading back into the kitchen just in time to see Lydia hugging his dad and he held his breath, swallowing hard. He hung back, not wanting to intrude on the moment. He couldn’t help but wonder how many more like it he’d actually get to see.
Lydia released the Sheriff and stepped back looking sheepish. She brushed a piece of hair back from her face. “Sorry,” she said quickly.
The Sheriff smiled, “Don’t be. I haven’t mentioned this before, but I’m glad you and my son are friends. He needs someone like you.” He said quietly.
Lydia’s expression wavered and she shook her head, “I think you have that wrong. It’s me who needs someone like him.” She admitted quietly before clearing her throat. “I should clean up this glass,” she said her voice a little too bright as she shifted away from the Sheriff to find a broom.
Stiles’ chest tightened at the exchange, feeling guilty for having witnessed it. He hesitantly stepped into the room. “It was Scott,” he said softly, holding the phone out to her.
Lydia took the phone from him with a smile, “Thanks.” She watched as the Sheriff excused himself and went upstairs to change before going to grab the broom, but she froze halfway there. “I saw something,” she told him turning back around. “There were the same voices again and the riddle, but then, there were images,” she told him her eyes wide as it came back to her. “Stiles, I think I saw the asylum...the one Barrow was at. And I saw someone here, someone familiar, but-” she frowned and shrugged helplessly, “I don’t know. I didn’t understand.”
The asylum again. “Someone here? Like here, here?” His eyebrows furrowed, glancing at his dad with worried eyes, his heart skipping a beat.
Lydia shook her head, “No, sorry, there. He was there. I don’t know who...But it felt like I knew him,” she said even though her tone held a hint of question to it.
“We’ll figure it out,” he assured her with a small smile, relieved that no one was going to be invading his house and going after his dad. “We always figure it out, remember?” He reached out and squeezed her shoulder gently.
Lydia nodded. She glanced around. “Where is your broom?” She asked realizing she didn’t know.
He rolled his eyes. “You just had one of your moments. Go sit down, Lydia.” He gave her a look before moving to get the broom out of the closet so he could clean up the mess.
It was sometime around one in the morning that found Stiles shimmying through one of the basement windows of the asylum. As plans went, he knew it wasn’t his best, really, and he knew it. But he knew that Scott thought that Lydia didn’t know what she was doing, and that Stiles was just hallucinating things, and he needed to find evidence that would prove to his best friend that neither of those things was true. He needed his best friend to believe in him, and so did Lydia.
He’d taken Lydia home hours earlier after Scott and the others had made a half-hearted attempt to see if anything had happened around town, but had come up empty-handed. Lydia had been incredibly upset and he’d spent over an hour reassuring her that they were just overlooking something. That’s all it was. It had to be.
He shone his flashlight around the dark basement, heart beating fast in his chest. The place was cold, damp, like a basement right out of a bad dream. “Come on,” he whispered. “What am I looking for?” he mumbled, creeping farther into the room. He moved slowly, his eyebrows furrowing at the vaguely familiar surroundings. He’d been here. He had been. He was sure of it.
The hair on the back of his neck stood on end as he spotted something familiar on one of the walls, behind some kind of large machine. He’d seen that symbol before, the backwards five, except it wasn’t really a backwards five. It was a Japanese letter. It was what the pack was marked with behind their ears.
Everyone except for him.
He moved forward, placing his hand against it as he stared, putting the pieces together in his mind. He had been there before. It was Lydia had thought it was where he was. And something terrible had happened here, in this room.
What was it? Before he could think anything else, a voice across the room sent chills down his spine.
“You’re back,” the figure moved out of the darkness, a scraping sound moving with it. “We were hoping you wouldn’t come back here…but we knew you would,” the voice hissed, the sound reverberating through the empty room. “Tell us Stiles, do you like riddles?”
And that definitely felt familiar. He turned toward the sound, backing away and trying to see the figure in the dark. “Not really, no. I’ve always been more a fan of the Joker and not the Riddler,” he said uneasily.
The figure stepped out into the light, his bandaged face covering everything but his mouth full of sharp silver teeth. “You got away from us before, and we let you go...Not this time.” The voice was raspy when it spoke and he closed the distance between him and Stiles slowly. “Tell us, what does everyone have, but no one can lose?” His head tilted to the side making his bandaged face look even more hideous. He wasn’t far from Stiles now, just a few feet.
Stiles backed away as much as he could, reaching into his pocket and fumbling with his phone. If he could just press his speed dial button, he’d have Scott on the phone and he’d be there in no time. But his hand was shaking too badly and his phone fell from his pocket and onto the ground. “Just stay away from me,” he ordered, voice stronger than he felt.
He tilted his head, “You shouldn’t have come back here Stiles, this time you’re staying with us.” He said before rushing forward and knocking Stiles into the wall. “We’re going to destroy everything you love,” his face was beside Stiles’, rancid breath filling the air. “And you’re going to help us.” Bandaged hands come up to Stiles head gripping it tightly. “You should have never come back,” he repeated before the lights flickered around them and a surge of power went from his hands into Stiles.
And then the world went black.