September 2, 2014

Never Too Late 3/17

Title: Never Too Late
Authors: Sxymami0909 & Xtremeroswelia
Fandom: Teen Wolf
Timeline: Set after 3.18 ‘Riddled’ AU from there.
Rating: R
Sequel To: Never Know What Hit You
Word Count: 155, 704
Pairings: Stiles/Lydia, Scott/Kira, Allison/Isaac, Sheriff Stilinski/Melissa McCall, Derek Hale, Cora Hale, Peter Hale
Parts: 3/17
Summary: In the wake of the Nogitsune's distruction Stiles is attempting to put his life back together, but things are never as easy as they seem. Meanwhile Scott attemps to mend his fractured pack but is it too late to fix what's been broken? Or will the past few months strengthen the bond between them? Lydia's link with Stiles has only grown stronger since the death of the Nogitsune and now she can feel Scott too leading Lydia to seek out information about her banshee origins from an unlikely source. While new relationships form, others are tested. Can our favorite trio fix what's been broken or will Scott's pack be broken forever?
Previous Chapters: | One | Two |

Chapter Three

Isaac paced the length of the Stilinski living room, his long fingers tapping lightly against his side. Two hours. It had been two hours since he dragged Allison out of the house following the sound of Lydia’s scream. He was anxious and not just because Lydia and Stiles were apparently in some kind of comatose state. But because this was the first time he and Allison had been around the whole group since the Nogitsune possessed Stiles.

Derek’s eyes followed Isaac’s movements and finally he couldn’t take it anymore. “Can you stop?” He said breaking the silence in the room. “We’re all anxious, just sit.” He pointed to the open spot on the couch near Allison.

Isaac sighed and walked over to the couch letting his body drop beside Allison shaking the whole couch.

And then the room was silent again. The sound of a key outside drew everyone’s attention to the door. Sheriff Stilinski pushed open the door, came inside and closed the door behind him. He shrugged off his jacket, hung it up and then turned around to head to the kitchen, freezing when he saw his living room full of people. Michael cocked his head to the side, “Do I want to know?”

Melissa picked that moment to come down the stairs, worried expression on her face as she met the worried expressions on everyone else’s faces as she looked around. Then she realized they were all looking at the front door where Michael Stilinski had just walked in. She exhaled, relieved to see him, but also worried because she knew how much stress he’d been under for so many weeks now. Longer than that, really. “Why don’t I make coffee?” she suggested with a faint, tired smile.

Michael glanced between the kids and Melissa. He nodded as he walked over to her. “Not that I’m complaining, but is there a reason my house is full of werewolves?” He asked curiously placing his hand on the small of Melissa’s back and guiding her into the kitchen. “Where’s Stiles?” He asked concern coloring his features.

She turned to face him as soon as they were in the kitchen and put a comforting hand on his arm. “First of all, I truly think that he’s going to be fine.” She moved over to the coffee pot and began to set it up before moving back to his side once more. “Secondly...Stiles spoke with Dr. Deaton on the phone earlier today. Lydia woke up last night. And she woke up screaming at the same time that he did.” She was quiet for a moment. “Apparently she has all of Stiles’ memories from when he wasn’t...himself.”

Michael’s eyes widened, his hands reaching out and resting on the back of the chair. “That poor girl,” he said quietly. “I’m glad she woke up for Stiles’ sake though. I know he was really upset that she got hurt saving his life.” He was quiet for a second and he shook his head as a humorless laugh left his throat. “A seventeen year old girl, a banshee, whatever that is, saved my sons life.” He sighed and rubbed his forehead.

Michael glanced at Melissa watching her for a minute before clearing his throat, “I didn’t see them when I came in, where are they?” He asked her as he moved to the cabinet to grab a few mugs.

“They’re upstairs in Stiles’ room,” she said gently. “And they’re unconscious. That’s the other part. The reason Stiles called Deaton was because he wanted to fix it so that Lydia doesn’t have those memories anymore. He gave them a very simple meditative ritual to do, which they did. But they’ve both been unconscious since. Both of their vitals are normal,” she added, not wanting him to worry any more than what was necessary. “I’ve been monitoring them regularly. Right now Scott is sitting with them, listening to both of their heartbeats.”

Michael opened his mouth, but shut it before saying anything. The tension in his shoulders was back in full force. He turned and placed his hands flat on the small circular table and leaned forward. “Is there ever going to be a day where my son isn’t getting knocked unconscious or being possessed by a...whatever,” he sighed. “You’re sure they’re okay?” He asked quietly, his chest tight.

Melissa reached out and placed a hand on his back, rubbing gently. “I know, believe me,” she murmured. “This is not the same world that you and I grew up in. And I’m terrified for our boys...and all of these kids... every day.” She sighed softly. “But yes, physically they appear to be fine.”

Michael reached up and over his shoulder resting his hand on Melissa’s. “Me too,” he said quietly staying silent for a minute before speaking again. “I know I haven’t said it lately, but it means a lot that you’ve been here. I know you’ve got your own stuff...But,” he paused, “Stiles really loves you. So, it’s been good that he’s had you and Scott here. Thanks for taking care of us.” He told her squeezing her hand gently without turning around.

Her eyes were sad as she gazed at him. “You don’t have to say it, Michael. I know you’d be doing the same for Scott and I if the situation was reversed. And Stiles…” She was quiet for a moment. “I know he’s not my son, but I love him like he is and there’s nothing that I wouldn’t do for either of you.” She’d watched Stiles grow up alongside Scott, had been frustrated with him multiple times the same way she had been frustrated with her own son for things. Been proud of him for his grades and achievements, amused by his jokes. And the boys had been inseparable from the first time they’d met.

There had been so many sleepovers and parties and movie fests, marathon video game sessions, family dinners, birthdays, holidays they’d spent together. Stiles wasn’t her own son, but sometimes she felt like he was. She knew now, of course, that he also thought of her that way. He’d called her mom not all that long ago. He was on the verge of passing out and no doubt he didn’t remember it, but he’d uttered it. It had brought tears to her eyes.

Michael shifted, turning around so he was facing Melissa, “You’re the closest thing he has to a mother,” he admitted honestly, “I swear most days I feel like I’ve got two kids,” he said with half a smile. “They’ll always be our boys,” he commented. “And I’ll always be here for you and Scott...even now that Rafael is back in town.” He told her quietly.

“You have been more of a father to Scott than Rafael ever has been, even before he actually left town to begin with,” Melissa said truthfully. “You’re the one who taught him how to drive. You were the one who showed up at his first day of Little League. Sometimes family isn’t just blood, Michael.”

Michael’s chest tightened. He studied Melissa for a minute before leaning in and pressing a kiss to the side of her head. “No, sometimes family is a lot more than that.” He said quietly against her hair. Michael pulled back, rubbing her arm gently. “I’m going to go see if the kids have eaten and maybe order some pizza before I go upstairs to check on the boys.”

She smiled softly at his gesture. “All right. I’ll go up and check on them again myself.” So she was a hoverer. She had reasons to be. She squeezed his arm as she moved past him and out of the kitchen toward the stairs.

Michael watched her go, a small smile on his face before turning and heading back out into the other room. He stepped into the living room and Isaac and Derek immediately straightened up. He arched an eyebrow. “Pizza, or Chinese?” he inquired despite the fact that he had smelled the hint of food the second he walked into the house. Even if Melissa did cook he doubted it would be enough for all of them.


Scott sat in Stiles’ computer desk chair -- the one he’d bought him as an apology gift shortly after he was first turned since he’d wrecked his last one -- and stared at his best friend’s bed where his best friend and Lydia Martin, his banshee, lay unconscious. They’d been unconscious for hours now and while his mom kept reassuring him that all of their vitals were completely normal, he was scared.

He’d come so close to losing Stiles so many different times lately that as much as he knew he needed to be pulling the entire pack back together, the desire to stay right beside Stiles at all times was almost overwhelming. He’d had Stiles long before he’d had anyone else. Stiles was the first person he considered pack. Allison shortly after. He’d be lying if he said his closest connection wasn’t Stiles. They’d been brothers long before Scott had been a werewolf. And Stiles was always there for him, through everything. Every step of the way. It was Stiles who’d helped him figure out how to keep his emotions in check when he was angry or upset. It was Stiles who’d chained him up on his first full moon to keep him safe. It was Stiles who had stepped into a puddle of gas when he’d been about to light himself on fire so many weeks ago.

Tears blurred Scott’s eyes and he rubbed his hands over his face. “I’m a crappy alpha,” he whispered. “I don’t know how to keep any of you safe. I don’t know what I’m doing.” He swallowed hard. “I can’t lose any of you.”

Lydia shifted a soft groan leaving her throat, the sound of Scott’s voice stirring her consciousness. Her body felt heavy and a dull throb pounded rhythmically through her head. It took her a minute, but she was finally able to flutter her lashes open, the bright light in the room forcing her to blink several time quickly, letting her eyes adjust.

Lydia’s brows drew together at the sight of the unfamiliar ceiling, but when she turned her head to the side slowly and caught sight of a sleeping Stiles, she sucked in a sharp breath. Stiles was sleeping beside her...he was there. Her heartbeat picked up speed as Lydia reached out hesitantly and ran her hand down Stiles arm even as she pushed herself up into a sitting position very slowly, pushing aside the wave of nausea that hit her. “You’re not a terrible alpha,” she said her voice hoarse.

Scott’s head jerked up at the sound of her voice. He hadn’t caught the slight increase in her pulse when she’d began waking up. He quickly slid his chair closer to the bed. “Easy, Lydia. You’ve been out for a while,” he said, concern in his tone. Stiles’ heartbeat remained unchanged and his chest tightened with worry. But for now he’d focus on the fact that Lydia was awake and talking.

She winced not shifting her gaze from Stiles just yet, “Why isn’t he awake?” She asked before glancing at Scott. “I’m pretty sure whatever Stiles did worked.” She bit her bottom lip as she studied Scott’s face.

Seeing the wince on Lydia’s face, he reached out, gently laying a hand on her arm and concentrating he closed his eyes, drawing out the nausea and feeling of malaise that she was feeling. After a moment, he sat back, more tired now, but he knew it was worth it.

“I’m not sure. Mom says his vitals are okay,” he offered her a small smile.

Lydia felt the pain inside her head ease and her expression softened as she pulled her hand back from Stiles and returned Scott’s smile with a small one of her, “Thanks for that,” she told him softly.

Scott nodded slightly in acknowledgment. “You’re welcome.”

Lydia could see how tired Scott look and her chest tightened. “How are you holding up?” She asked softly.

“I’m all right. Or I will be soon.” His gaze shifted to Stiles again. “How are you feeling? No more bad memories?” Scott asked.

Lydia took a moment to close her eyes and listen, but everything was quiet. When she opened her eyes again Scott was watching her. “I’m feeling good. Tired, but good.” She didn’t attempt to get off the bed just yet. Instead she glanced down and sighed. “I’m sorry I didn’t tell you.” Her words were quiet, but she knew Scott could hear them.

He was silent for a moment. “You mean that night?”

Lydia inclined her head. “Yes,” she pursed her lips. “I just, I know how much you care about Stiles, but I also like to think by now I know a bit about your personality,” she responded. “You never would have risked someone else’s life to save him, not unless it was your own and I couldn’t take the chance that you would try and stop me,” Lydia admitted. “It was the only way to save him.”

He was quiet for a long moment. “You’re not wrong,” he said softly. “But I’m glad you didn’t tell me. As selfish as that might be.” Scott looked down at his hands. “I love him. I’d do anything for him. But I know him, and he wouldn’t have been able to --” He paused. “If something had happened to you because of that thing that took him over - he never would have forgiven himself even if it had saved his life. It would’ve killed him.” He looked up at her again, eyes full of sadness. “You know that right? That you mean that much to him, too.”

Lydia glanced down. No, she didn’t know that. Sure Stiles had a crush on her since third grade and yes, she used to think that it was weird, but lately she didn’t mind it so much. But Stiles had also changed, he wasn’t intimidated by her anymore and Lydia recently started feeling like maybe that was because his feelings for her had changed...lessoned even. Her chest tightened, “I think what Stiles and I mean to each other is becoming clearer,” Lydia said diplomatically.

“It all worked out in the end though,” she said softly, “I’m okay and so is he. We should focus on that.” She told him before swallowing heavily. “And it’s not selfish...Loving someone so much you can’t bear to let them go will never be selfish.” She whispered as she stretched slightly her gaze drifting to Stiles once again. “Does he remember?”

What she and Stiles meant to each other was becoming very clear to Scott, and he couldn’t help but wonder if she was really prepared for it. He hoped so. Scott reached out and squeezed her arm lightly. He looked at Stiles for a moment, then closed his eyes against the burn of tears there. She pretty much described his relationship with Stiles to a T. “I don’t know. He says he doesn’t.” He pursed his lips. “Do you remember any of it?”

Lydia’s face scrunched with a look of concentration. “Honestly, it’s all a bit foggy.” She admitted as she shifted on the bed carefully not wanting to stir Stiles from sleep. She drew her legs up so she was resting her head on her knees, a very unLydia like action. Curling in on herself wasn’t really her thing. She faced things head on, but Stiles and Scott were the only people in the room.

She didn’t need to be strong and defensive at the moment. Scott had seen her at her weakest points a lot the past few weeks and he never once made her feel bad about them. “I remember feeling like I needed Stiles and I remember what happened before I used Kira’s foxfire to electrocute us, but everything after’s almost like it was a bad dream that’s fading the longer I stay awake,” She admitted.

“You had his memories,” he said softly. “Of what happened. You woke up in the hospital screaming according to Derek.” He hesitated. “And Stiles woke up from a nightmare at the same time, also screaming.” He drew in a breath and let it out slowly. “I’m glad it’s fading. I can’t imagine that was pleasant.” He sincerely hoped Stiles never remembered what the Nogitsune had done because he wasn’t sure his soft-hearted best friend could handle that kind of guilt.

Lydia frowned. “I had that creepy wanna be Stiles in my head?” She let her legs slide out as she shivered, “Lovely.” She sighed not able to help the way her eyes moved to Stiles again. “How is Derek? He’s been surprisingly social lately, with all the help.” Lydia couldn’t stop herself from reaching out and brushing Stiles’ hair back from his forehead, doing her best not to let the anxiety already building in her chest get any larger.

He smiled faintly at her description. “Yeah, you did,” he said softly. “It’s why you guys did the ritual. Stiles didn’t want it in your head any longer than it had to be.” He swallowed hard, looking at his too-still best friend. “Derek’s okay. He’s downstairs, actually...with the rest of the pack.”

Surprise crossed Lydia’s face as she glanced at Scott her body tensing slightly, “Why?” The words came out harsher than intended and she winced, “Sorry.” She mumbled. “I just,” she hesitated, “It’s been a while since we’ve seen them.” It had been a while since they’d seen Stiles too. Lydia knew they needed to get past what happened, but a part of her was still feeling incredibly protective of Stiles.

“You don’t remember.” Scott sat up a little, arching his eyebrows. “You screamed. That was part of the ritual. It’s what was supposed to rid your mind of the memories. It was the loudest I’ve heard you scream. I was literally across town. I heard it. Isaac and Derek both heard it too. And I felt them. They were terrified,” he said quietly. “Everyone just showed up here.”

Lydia’s chest warmed, “I screamed that loud?” She asked blinking, “I guess that’s why my voice is so sore,” she said before shaking her head. “No...I mean yes,” Lydia rolled her eyes at herself, “I do remember screaming I just...I didn’t know everyone heard it. I screamed because he was there in my head just standing in this creepy white room smirking at me.”

“Yeah, it was that loud. I mean I usually hear you anyway, but this was...something else.” Scott rubbed the back of his neck.

Lydia shivered involuntarily. “Well it’s over now...everyone can finally start to heal.” She shifted forward pulling her hand back from Stiles and reaching out to Scott resting a hand on his arm, “That means you too,” she told him softly. “You’re not a bad alpha,” she repeated her earlier words.

Scott nodded his thanks at her words and swallowed hard. “I’m not really...used to feeling connected to all of you guys yet. It’s different.” His voice was hushed. “I mean alpha-connected. Not connected in general. Obviously I was connected in general because we’re all friends.” He let out a breath, realizing he was starting to ramble.

Lydia nodded understanding what he meant. “I get it and I’m going to tell you something that once it leaves my lips will never be repeated again,” she said arching an eyebrow at him in warning. “These past few’ve been my rock. I wouldn’t have been able to help Stiles if you weren’t there helping me. You kept your cool for the most part, you protected everyone that you could and you didn’t give up on Stiles.” Lydia caught Scott’s gaze. “You worked with Derek, kept things from going too far when Isaac and Allison left us, and you made sure we were all safe. You’re a different kind of alpha’re what other alphas should emulate.” Lydia paused, “Don’t be so down on yourself.”

He felt a pang of guilt that wasn’t his own and he sighed inwardly as he recognized it as Isaac. “Thanks, Lydia.” He reached out and wrapped his arms around her in a gentle hug.

Lydia returned the hug. “Thanks for keeping him safe while I was out of it.” She rubbed Scott’s back gently before releasing him and shifting back.

“He’s my brother,” Scott said quietly. “In every way that counts.” He looked over at Stiles again, listening as she spoke of the white room, his chest growing tight. But then it registered in Scott’s head that Lydia said something about a white room; he stilled and looked at her. “Creepy white room?” he echoed.

Lydia blinked confused for a second, but then nodded. “Yes, a creepy white room with one door. It was sealed shut and when I turned around the Nogitsune was there. That’s when I felt the scream building in my chest and then well you know the rest.” She said with a shrug.

“We were in that room. Me and Stiles and Allison. After we died in that ritual. It’s where we woke up. It must have been there waiting for us.” He rubbed a hand over his face. He had a sick feeling he knew why it had gone after Stiles out of the three of them.

Lydia’s gaze shifted to Stiles again and her chest tightened at Scott’s words. “What do you think the odds are of the sheriff letting us stay here with him tonight...well letting me stay,” she sent a small grin a Scott, “You’re practically family. I just--” she huffed and flipped her long sleep mussed hair over her shoulder, “the thought of leaving, of putting physical distance between Stiles and myself, it makes me incredibly anxious. Just talking about it makes my chest fill up with the strangest sensation, something I’ve never felt before. It’s disconcerting.” Lydia told Scott matter-of-factly. “And slightly annoying because at some point I’m going to have to shower the last few weeks off me,” she joked trying to lighten the atmosphere in the room.

“I have a feeling that if we mention it to my mom, she’ll convince Stiles’ dad to let all of us stay.” He paused. “Or maybe just you and I.” He wasn’t sure that any of them was really ready for an entire pack sleepover. Not when things were so up in the air with everyone. A faint smirk tugged at his mouth at Lydia’s words. I’m sure if you asked Stiles he’d be happy to join you in the shower if you’re not wanting a lot of distance between you., he thought to himself. He rubbed his hands over his face again, tired. “I feel punchy.”

Lydia arched an eyebrow at the smirk on Scott’s face. “Punchy like you need to get up and do something or punchy like you need to go punch someone? Because if that’s the case then I vote no one in this room gets hit, we’re fragile.” She joked, though it was probably true.

“Punchy like...severe lack of sleep and my brain feeling scrambled.” He gave her a wan smile in return for her joke. “Don’t worry. No desire to hit either one of my fragile humans.”

Lydia tilted her head and nodded before glancing at Stiles’ bed. “I’m pretty sure the bed can fit the three of us.” She commented offhandedly, “I get the right side, you can have left.” Lydia offered.

His chest tightened. Come on Stiles. Wake up, man. He arched an eyebrow at her suggestion. It was a large bed and none of them were very big people. “I should warn you that Stiles tends to flail in his sleep. You’ll probably wake up with an arm across your face.”

“You need sleep,” Lydia commented before her gaze fell on Stiles a slight smile tugging at her lips. “He does seem like the flailing type. I probably wouldn’t mind,” she admitted her voice softening, her gaze affectionate. “Do you think he can hear us?” She asked quietly the urge to reach out and touch him again strong, but Lydia ignored it. She couldn’t just go around touching Stiles whenever she wanted. That was bordering on creepy.

She wasn’t wrong. He was exhausted. And he knew if he didn’t lay down and sleep soon he’d end up regretting it later. He let out a breath. “Yeah. Yeah. I think so.” He rose from his seat and hesitantly sat down on the edge of Stiles’ bed. “Come on, Stiles. Just wake up for us for a few minutes so we know you’re okay, man.”

As if he’d been waiting for one of them to ask, Stiles’ eyelashes fluttered and his head turned toward Scott, a soft groan escaping him.

Relief crossed Scott’s face as he leaned forward, “Hey man, it’s okay...we’re right here.” he said resting a hand on Stiles arm waiting for his friend to open his eyes. “Are you awake?” He asked his voice quiet, chest tight as he glanced down at his friend.

Lydia was already on her knees on the other side of Stiles watching with bated breath. Please let him be okay, the words flew through her head over and over again as she reached out and rested her hand against Scott’s.

Stiles let out a breath. “Maybe,” he mumbled, not opening his eyes. “Depends on what time it is.” He brought a hand up to his head, grimacing. His head felt like it was going to implode. “It is way too early for school.”

Scott grinned, but it faltered slightly when he saw Stiles’ grimace. He reached out and placed his hand over Stiles’ closing his eyes and focusing on drawing out as much pain as he comfortably could. Scott opened his eyes a minute later, “Any better?” He asked wanting to reach out and hug his friend, but forcing himself to hold back until Stiles got his bearings. He felt Lydia squeezed his hand briefly before she shifted.

“Maybe we shouldn’t crowd him?” She suggested, but made no move to leave his side.

“Thanks, Scottie,” he whispered, lowering his hand from his face and exhaling slowly before opening his eyes. He winced as he pushed himself up into a sitting position and looked from Scott to Lydia, trying to figure out why they were both right there with him. His eyebrows furrowed for a moment and then he remembered. “Did it work?” He looked at Lydia with wider eyes than before.

Scott nodded as Lydia smiled. “It worked,” she tapped her head gently, “Everything’s in the right place again, Nogitsune gone forever dead and buried by my apparently massively loud dominating scream.” She joked nervously not sure why she was even nervous, what the hell, she thought. “What about you, are you okay?” Lydia asked not able to stop herself from reaching out this time as she rested her hand on his leg.

Scott watched their interaction briefly before turning his gaze back on Stiles waiting for his friend’s reply needing to know he was okay.

Stiles watched her for a moment, relaxing at her words, relief evident on his face as he sat back, leaning against the headboard. “Thank god,” he whispered, closing his eyes again. “I’m okay. Tired, but okay.” He reached up and felt behind his ear as he remembered the Oni from before, and he sucked in a breath, eyes flying open. “Were we here the whole time? Did I sleepwalk?” There was alarm in his voice.

Scott frowned, “No, you were here the whole time. Mom found you when you and Lydia passed out...the scream scared the crap out of her, shook the whole house,” he said shifting forward slightly. “The entire pack heard Lydia scream, they’re all downstairs.” Scott motioned to the door. “If you left, one of us would know. Why? What’s wrong?” He asked worry once again invading his features.

Lydia placed her free hand on Scott, the other one still resting on Stiles, “Down boy, let him talk before you panic,” she suggested turning her gaze on Stiles watching as he touched his ear.

“Check my ear,” he whispered, turning his head so Scott could look, his heart beating faster in his chest. “Is there something there? Do you see it? I can feel it; can you see it, Scott?” His voice shook and without thinking about it, he reached out and gripped onto Lydia’s hand tightly. “It’s there, right?”

Scott leaned forward and pressed his thumb against Stiles’ ear and surprise colored his voice, “You’ve been marked...the five-”

“Jiko,” Lydia corrected, “The Japanese character for self.” Lydia squeezed Stiles hand, “You’re yourself again,” she said softly her chest warming.

Scott released Stiles’ ear and grinned. “This is good...this is really good.” He said darting forward and wrapping his arms around his best friend ignoring that his hand was still attached to Lydia’s.

Stiles let go of Lydia’s hand so he could hug Scott tightly. The same way he’d hugged him the night he’d had his MRI. The night the Nogitsune had taken control completely. He owed his best friend so much; he didn’t even know how to begin repaying him. Lydia either, for that matter. No. All of them. The whole pack. Plus his dad and Scott’s mom.

Scott squeezed him tighter, but kept a lid on the werewolf strength not wanting to hurt his best friend. “You have no idea how glad I am that this is over,” he said quietly, not quite able to hide the emotions from his voice. “Dude...I just, I love you man.”

The slight tremor in Scott’s voice made his chest tighten, and tears prickled at his eyelids as he squeezed his eyes shut. “I love you, too, Scott.” His own voice cracked as he spoke.

Scott rubbed his friend’s back, not letting him go just yet. He could finally sleep easy knowing Stiles was okay. He pulled back after a few minutes keeping his hands on Stiles’ arms. “Do you need anything? Mom made lasagna and I’m pretty sure your dad ordered food. Or maybe you’re thirsty I can get you something to drink,” he offered needing to help his friend.

Lydia watched them and she did her best not to let the emotion bubbling in her chest to the surface. She could feel her eyes prickle with tears, but she blinked them away. Lydia was not an emotional wreck anymore and she’d be damned if she started acting like one again.

“No, I think I’m okay.” He hesitated. “I wanna see my dad,” he admitted, looking between them. But he didn’t really want to go downstairs either. He wasn’t sure he could muster up that much energy.

Lydia hesitated before shifting, “I can get him for you if you want,” she suggested as she started to get up, the strange knot of anxiety unfurling inside of her.

Scott reached out gripping her arm gently. “I’ve got it. My mom’s going to want to see him too.” He said remembering what Lydia had mentioned earlier. He didn’t want anyone to be uncomfortable and he knew Stiles was in good hands with Lydia until he got back.

He pushed himself up and held up his fingers, “I’ll be back in two minutes, parents in tow,” he commented with a smile catching Lydia’s grateful look on the way out of the room.

She looked away from the door and ran her hands down her legs needing something to do with them as they waited.

Stiles fell silent as he watched Scott leave his room and then turned his gaze to Lydia. He hesitated a second, then reached out and put a hand on her arm. “Thank you,” he whispered, almost inaudibly. “For everything you’ve done. I wouldn’t still be here if it wasn’t for you.”

Lydia glanced up, “Don’t be dramatic; you would have been fine without me.” She said, but there was absolutely no bite to her words. She rested her hand over his, “You don’t need to thank me.” Lydia caught Stiles’ gaze and she felt her heartbeat jump. She swallowed hard as it picked up speed, “Stiles, I” she whispered his name and then paused, “We’re friends,” she said finally, “That’s what friends do. You’ve been there for me too.” She said ignoring the frantic pounding of her heart. Lydia wasn’t even going to think about what she had planned to say. She and Stiles were friends, close friends and that was all.

One corner of his mouth turned up at her comment. “I don’t know. You’ve literally saved my life twice now. Scott better watch out or he’ll be in competition for a new pack alpha.” The fact that he knew his best friend would have heard that made him smirk faintly as he looked down at their hands. “I know. It means a lot. I mean that was...a pretty ballsy thing for you to do, Lydia.” His voice dropped.

Lydia’s eyes followed his toward their hands. She slid her fingers between his clasping their hands together. “Watch out Scott, roar,” she mocked growled amusement in her eyes. “I’m a pretty ballsy kind of girl,” she told him. “Besides...It was you, how could I not?” She asked softly before her words registered in her head, “Because you-- you mean so much to everyone, and to Scott.” She added wondering if maybe she was in some kind of alternate universe where Stiles Stilinski actually made her a little bit nervous. Never, it was a fluke.

He smiled faintly at her mock roar. “Yes, you are,” he agreed. “Always have been in one way or another. Since we were kids.” He didn’t look up, and if he caught her slip up, he didn’t comment on it. He had to figure out how he was going to do this. How he was going to go about every single day with the overwhelming amount of guilt that he felt for the things he’d done. It was terrifying to even think about. “Scott’s my brother. Doesn’t matter that we’re not blood related.” Scott had always been the one person aside from his father that he knew he could count on. He’d die for Scott. He’d die for any of them. “Ever since we were kids.” It didn’t dawn on him that he’d used the phrase twice. “You know how we met?”

Lydia squeezed his hands, “I know you two are, blood isn’t the only way to be family,” she said quietly as she tilted her head to the side curiosity coloring her features. “How?” She asked shifting closer to him surprised to find that she wanted to know more about him.

“We were five. Kindergarten. On the playground.” He hadn’t looked up at her. “As per usual, Scott was saving my ass.” He smiled again, faintly, voice distant. “There was this other kid that was picking on me. I was climbing the jungle gym and he was threatening to knock me off it if I didn’t give him my shoes.” He was quiet for a moment. “And then there was Scott. Who by the way was tiny for a five year old. I mean, I was bigger than him, and he was the one sticking up for me.” It was a trend that had followed them throughout their lives. “He didn’t hit the guy or threaten him. He just said in this really earnest Scott-voice, ‘Picking on people isn’t nice and it makes you a bully. Leave him alone.’”

Lydia’s chest tightened, “That sounds like Scott,” she said quietly keeping her gaze on their hands. “Always taking the moral high ground.” She paused, “He’s a pretty good guy. I’m glad you two have each other.” Lydia felt the familiar bubble of emotion building in her chest. “He loves you,” she said quietly, “There isn’t anything Scott wouldn’t do for you. You’ve got a lot of people in your life who feel that way.” She told him. I’m one of them, she added silently. Lydia knew now wasn’t the time to bring it up.

Honestly she wasn’t sure when she’d be ready to put that out there, but she wasn't the only one who cared, they all did. “He never left your side you know, he was there the whole time. You’ve got a pretty amazing friend...we both do.”

“Yeah, he is.” A tear trickled down his face without him even noticing it. There wasn’t anything he wouldn’t have done for Scott, had he been himself. Had he not been a monster. He let go of her hand and reached up to wipe his cheek, trying to be discreet about it.

“And that we do. I’m glad you guys are friends, too,” he admitted. They’d need each other more, eventually.

Lydia could see Stiles struggling and she reached out brushing his hand away and cupping his cheeks with both hands making him look at her. She brushed her thumbs beneath his eye shifting the moisture aside. “I’m glad Scott and I got to know each other better too.” She said while holding his gaze. “Stiles, you don’t need to hide from me, I never- I don’t want you to feel like you can’t feel what you feel or be yourself when I’m here.”

Lydia pursed her lips, “You’ve always told me to be myself, practically insisted on it. So don’t try to hide what you’re feeling from me...Or I’ll have to hurt you,” she added jokingly for good measure, trying to diffuse some of the seriousness in the room.

“I’m just...worn out,” he admitted quietly, another tear trickling down his cheek. It wasn’t a lie. He was physically exhausted, like he was never going to get enough sleep again. And truthfully he was afraid to try. Afraid of the images that would invade his brain if he allowed himself to truly rest for any length of time. He knew his body needed it. It was demanding it.

“I’m me, but I’m not. I don’t have the energy to be funny right now,” he told her with a half-smile that didn’t reach his eyes. “How pathetic is that?” he joked.

“You listen to me Stiles Stilinski, there is nothing pathetic about you and if you call yourself pathetic again so help me god I will beat you with your own bat,” Lydia told him matter-of-factly. “You don’t need to be funny; you’ve been through a lot. And we are all here for you.” She paused trying to find the right words, something she wasn’t great at.

“Nobody thinks any less of you, not your friends, or family, not Scott, not me,” Lydia said her words soft as she brushed her thumb against his cheek wiping yet another tear. “Just the fact that you’re sitting here right now, talking to me, proves that you’re one of the strongest people I know.” Lydia watched him for a minute before leaning in, dropping her hands from his face, and wrapping her arms around him in a tight hug.

“My bat. I don’t even remember what happened to it.” He sighed, then looked up at her as she spoke, trying to smile. It was a struggle not to refute her claim. He wasn’t there because he was strong -- it was because she was. She and Scott and their parents. They were the strong ones. The ones who hadn’t been invaded. The ones who hadn’t become monsters.

But when she wrapped her arms around him, he did the same, closing his eyes and pressing his face against her shoulder. “Thanks, Lydia,” he murmured.

Lydia relaxed into him letting one hand run down his back in a comforting gesture as the other grazed the hair at the nap of his neck. “I’m here whenever you need me,” she whispered as she sat on her knees to the side of him holding Stiles to her body.

There was a shuffle of feet and then someone clearing their throat.

Lydia turned her head slightly and when she spotted Scott, Ms. McCall and the sheriff at the door she shifted pulling back from Stiles slowly, taking her time.

Scott angled his head to the side, “Sorry that took so long,” he told them.

“It’s okay.” Stiles swallowed hard, moving his gaze from Scott to Ms. McCall and then his dad, chest tightening. He drew in a breath and turned his head to look at Lydia again, reaching out and squeezing her arm gently before swinging his legs over the edge of the bed and rising to his feet. He was surprised by how much his legs felt like Jell-O. “Hey. I’m awake. We’re both awake,” he said needlessly, gesturing to Lydia on the bed. His heart was beating quickly again.

“Yes, Sweetheart, we can see that,” Melissa told him with a soft smile. She put a hand on his shoulder, giving it a squeeze. “Why don’t you and your dad go across the hall, and I’ll just check out all of Lydia’s vitals to make sure she’s good to go. Then I’ll come over and do the same for you, okay?” She cupped his cheek, taking note of his red-rimmed eyes. She pressed a kiss to his forehead, closing her eyes for a moment.

Scott’s chest tightened as he watched his mom with Stiles. She had been so worried about him. He took a deep breath and felt moisture gathering in his eyes as he watched Stiles’ Dad walk over to his mom and his best friend. Scott felt a soft pressure against his palm and when he glanced over he saw Lydia wrapping her hand around his.

It was good to see her standing again. He squeezed her hand and turned his gaze back to Stiles just in time to see the Sheriff place his hand at the small of his mother’s back.

The sheriff stood beside Melissa and Stiles and gripped the back of his son’s neck with his free hand. “It’s good to see you on your feet.” He said gruffly, while thanking god that his son was okay.

Wordlessly, Stiles wound his arms around his dad, tighter than he’d gripped Scott or Lydia even. I almost killed you, he thought, trying to suppress that terrible memory. God, why hadn’t he been able to overcome the Nogitsune then? He’d been screaming inside, threatening and trying to claw his way out but still hadn’t been able to. He didn’t even know how his dad, or anyone else had managed to survive the bomb he’d set up.

Melissa watched them for a moment, reaching out and squeezing the sheriff’s shoulder gently before turning her attention to Lydia. “How are you feeling?” There was warm concern in her tone.

Lydia looked away from Stiles and focused on Melissa. She gave Scott’s mom half a smile. “I’m feeling a lot better, just tired.” She told her honestly.

“Her head was hurting when she woke up,” Scott added with a gentle squeeze of her hand. He was glad he and Lydia had gotten a chance to know each other better, despite the circumstances which Scott hadn’t enjoyed at all. But it was comforting to know there was someone else who was as anxious and worried as he was when it came to Stiles.

“And I’m guessing that’s not an issue anymore,” Melissa said wryly, giving her son a knowing look.

Stiles smiled faintly against his dad’s shoulder without even having to turn and look, picturing that look perfectly in his head. He’d been on the receiving end of that look countless times over the years.

Scott grinned sheepishly, “I don’t like to see anyone hurting,” He said with a shrug. His gaze shifted to Stiles briefly before he glanced back to his mom. “Can we stay here tonight?” He asked suddenly glancing between his mom and the sheriff.

The sheriff snorted as he rubbed a hand over Stiles back, “You mean there was actually a chance I’d get you to leave?” He asked jokingly knowing that there was no way Scott would be leaving Stiles anytime soon. They were like brothers and after everything Scott had done for his son he’d never make him leave. “Scott you know the doors are always open for you and your mom. Whenever you want.” He told him glancing over at them briefly as he shifted back from Stiles, but kept a hand on his shoulder.

Lydia bit her bottom lip as she stood beside Scott. She straightened up and cleared her throat, “Can I stay too?” she asked her voice calm betraying none of the nerves she was feeling except to maybe the alpha beside her.

Melissa hid a smile and turned to look at Michael. She reached out and put a hand on her own son’s shoulder. “Is this like a pack slumber party?” Her voice was light as she met the sheriff’s eyes.

“Yes,” Scott said immediately. “But not the whole pack. Just...the three of us tonight.” He looked at his mom and then Stiles’ dad hopefully.

Michael did his best not to laugh as he glanced at Melissa, the smile she was hiding clear in her eyes. Michael glanced at his son attempting to look stern. “Is this a trick to break my no girls in your bed rule?” He joked while rubbing his sons back.

“That rule’s already been broken,” Lydia paused when everyone glanced at her. She shifted on her feet, “Uh because we got knocked unconscious, remember?” She said though that wasn’t the first time she hung out in Stiles room.

Scott dropped his head to his chest amused, not able to hold back his grin, only Lydia. “Doesn’t it count that I’ll be in the bed too?” He asked.

Michael arched an eyebrow and glanced at Melissa. “I think for tonight it’s fine, what do you think Melissa?”

Melissa looked around at the teens and arched an eyebrow at Michael. “I think one night won’t be a problem. But no funny business. No late night truth or dare where one of you ends up streaking across the front lawn and we get a call from the neighbors asking what kind of children I’m supervising.”

Stiles’ eyes widened at that and he looked at Scott. “No, definitely not.” He couldn’t bring himself to look at Lydia now.

Scott’s eyes were just as wide as Stiles’. “No streaking, got it. No taking off clothes of any kind. We promise, don’t we Stiles?” He shook his head as he glanced at his best friend.

Michael did his best not to laugh as he glanced between their wide-eyed faces.

“Guaranteed not to happen.” Stiles raised his eyebrows. If they only knew that was one of their tamer adventures. But he wasn’t about to say that out loud. He rubbed the back of his neck awkwardly. “I think I’m just gonna...take a shower.” He motioned to the bathroom.

The sheriff nodded, “Of course,” he said patting his son on the back before glancing at Scott and Lydia. “There are a few people downstairs waiting to make sure you and my son are okay.” He commented.

Lydia released Scott’s hand and glanced at Stiles briefly before turning her gaze on the sheriff. “I can go down and let them know we’re okay.” She said with half a smile. She was going to have leave Stiles at some point, might as well do it now.

Stiles heard his dad’s words and felt bad for leaving Lydia to face their friends alone. This was, after all, his mess. His friends just kept cleaning things up for him. He rubbed his hands over his face as he stepped into the bathroom, shutting the door behind him and locking it. He stripped down quickly and climbed in the shower, turning on the hot water and just standing under it. His skin was his own...but it didn’t feel like he’d been in it for far too long. He felt different. Unwell on more levels than one. Despite how hot the water was, Stiles’ body shook with tremors that didn’t have anything to do with being cold. He pressed hand over his face, then slowly sat down in the tub, shutting his eyes as the hot water rolled over him.

He was damaged. Broken. And he wasn’t sure he was ever going to be the same again.

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