Title: Never Too Late
Authors: Sxymami0909 & Xtremeroswelia
Fandom: Teen Wolf
Timeline: Set after 3.18 ‘Riddled’ AU from there.
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
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 | Three | Four |
Stiles threw up twice before breakfast the morning of the day he and Lydia decided to go to school. He’d known it was coming before he even got out of bed, had felt the nausea rolling in his stomach even as he’d slept. He’d launched himself out of bed and barely made it into the bathroom before throwing up everything he’d eaten the day before. He was just damn glad that his dad had already been downstairs so he’d missed out on the sounds of Stiles’ retching.
He was pretty sure that throwing up was on his dad’s list of precursors for why Stiles mandatorily missed school. He’d scrubbed the toilet, sprayed air freshener, and cleaned up in the shower after there was nothing left in his stomach. His heart, however, was still beating too quickly, so he turned the water to straight hot, scalding his skin just to snap himself out of the approaching panic attack.
Fortunately it had worked, at least temporarily. Scott and Lydia were supposed to be picking him up for his first day back and even though he knew Scott could hear his heartbeat, he hoped that his best friend would just assume he’d taken enough Adderall that he could focus on his classes that day without distraction. He had spent the last few days trying to do homework, and had gotten a chunk of it done, mostly when Scott or Lydia were working on their own homework while they sat around the kitchen table. But he was going to be taking some zeroes on things. He didn’t care that much. It wasn’t like school even mattered anymore.
He gathered his things and went downstairs, setting his bag and his jacket by the front door before taking a deep breath and making his way into the kitchen, where his dad was sitting reading the newspaper and drinking a cup of coffee. “Hey, Dad.”
Michael glanced up and smiled at his son. When Stiles decided it was time to go back to school he’d been hesitant to agree with the decision. Scott had gone back to school last week, but Lydia had stayed with Stiles until he decided it was time to go back. But Scott and Lydia had been permanent fixtures in the Stilinski household lately. Even Melissa was spending more time there and slowly things were starting to become a bit more routine. “Morning, son.” he motioned towards the microwave. “I put some eggs on a plate for you. Left them in the microwave so they’d stay warm.” He told him.
“Thanks,” he said, heading over to the microwave and grimacing at the thought of eggs. He closed his eyes for a moment, trying to will his stomach to obey and behave before pulling the plate from the microwave. Drawing in another deep breath to try and calm his frazzled nerves, he moved over to the table, sitting down across from his dad. “You working today?” He honestly couldn’t remember. He used to be so good at keeping track of things like that and now it just felt like a struggle just to get up in the mornings.
Michael glanced over the paper at his son, “I am, double shift.” He said trying not to stare. Stiles was paler than he remembered and he still looked a little too skinny. Michael averted his eyes to the paper once again and cleared his throat. “Melissa is coming over tonight,” he said lightly, “She said something about empanadas for dinner.”
Stiles grimaced. “Another double?” It made him anxious that his dad was having to work so many extra shifts. Because of you, he heard Scott’s dad say in the back of his mind. He wasn’t sure why, but at some point in the last three weeks, he was hearing Scott’s douchey father in his head instead of just the Nogitsune’s. Maybe that was just going to be part of his illness. He hoped not, considering how little regard he had for the man. He shoveled a bite of eggs into his mouth, trying to focus on his dad and not his anxiety. “Yeah? That sounds good.”
Michael folded the paper and put it aside as he brought his coffee to his lips and took a sip. He placed his mug back down on the table and then reached into his pocket and pulled out two sets of keys. “I’m not sure what happened to your old set,” he explained while sliding them over to Stiles, “But here’s a new set. One for you and one for Scott.” He said with half a smile. “So, how are you feeling about your first day back?” He inquired.
He looked from his dad to the keys, chest tightening as he realized he wasn’t entirely sure where his key had ended up either. Which meant it could be out there, potentially in the hands of someone dangerous. “Maybe we should just...maybe we should change the locks. You know? Just to be careful. Safe side and everything.” He swallowed hard, not taking the keys. “I sorta…” His voice trailed off and he shrugged. It dawned on him that not only did he not know where his own keys were, but that meant that he’d lost his key to the McCall’s house, too, and put them in more danger as well. The nausea was definitely on its way back. “A little nervous,” he murmured.
Michael titled his head to the side, “I had the locks changed,” he commented pointing to the second set of keys. “That’s why there are new ones for Scott too. And I had someone go by and change Melissa’s locks too just to be safe.” Melissa and Scott were family and he needed to make sure they were taken care of and safe even if Scott was a werewolf. “Melissa is bringing over a new spare key for you later.” He told Stiles as he considered his sons words. “What are you nervous about?”
All the air rushed out of his lungs at that, and he had to struggle not to slump in relief at his dad’s forethought. “Good,” he whispered. “That’s good.” He swallowed hard, reaching out and taking the two keys. “Thanks for...the one for Scott, too.” He blinked a few times to try and clear his vision and shoveled another bite of egg into his mouth, not wanting his dad to worry. “Mostly just...I didn’t exactly finish all the homework I’m behind on. It’s gonna pull down my grades.”
Michael watched him closely for a minute before nodding, “I talked to your teachers, it should be fine. You’ll catch up.” He said with a small smile. “You should finish up, Lydia and Scott will probably be here soon.” Michael commented as he took another sip of his coffee.
Stiles nodded, taking a drink of his milk and finishing his eggs quickly. “Don’t work too hard, okay?” he said, voice quiet. “Try and take it easy.”
Michael’s expression softened, “You too...And you’re sure you want to go back to school today?” He asked trying again to see if Stiles wanted to maybe wait a little while longer.
“Gotta get back on the horse sometime, right?” He managed a tiny smile that didn’t reach his eyes. He knew he was going to get looks. He knew people had noticed that day in gym class when he’d tackled Scott right before Allison had been shot. Someone -- likely multiple someone’s -- had to have put together that he’d known what was going on. What was about to happen. They’d had to have noticed that his behavior had changed. That he wasn’t himself.
He was going to get stared at, gossiped about. It wasn’t going to be pretty. The fact that he’d missed over three weeks of school -- just like Lydia -- was only going to add to the rumor mill. He was terrified, but more for her than himself.
Michael nodded and gave his son a tight smile, “Right,” he said and sat there for another minute quietly. He was about to say something when there was a knock on the door.
Stiles rose to his feet, moving over to hug his dad quickly before taking his plate to the sink. “I’ll do these after school, okay? Don’t worry about it.”
Michael stood up and stepped forward resting a hand on Stiles shoulder, “I love you, have a good day and don’t forget your keys.” He told him pointing to the table.
“Right. Keys. Might come in handy.” He smiled faintly, looking at his dad for a moment. “Be careful at work.” He resisted the urge to hug him again, just because he was afraid hugging him again would make his dad more nervous about him going to school but it wasn’t normal. He moved over and grabbed the two keys before heading for the door. “See you at dinner hopefully.”
“I’ll be there,” he called out carefully.
“My key doesn’t work!” Scott yelled through the door, “Stiles, I can’t get in...what’s happening?” He asked talking through the thick wooden door.
Michael couldn’t help chuckling. He shook his head, “I’d let your friend in before he breaks the door down.” He said lightly before he started moving down the hallway towards his room to finish getting ready.
“Dad.” His chest tightened as his father headed up the stairs. “I love you, too.” He bit his lower lip and then quickly moved toward the door, unlocking and opening it. “Sorry man. Dad changed the lock because I lost my keys.” He hesitated. “I lost the one to your house too. He said someone already changed them, though. Sorry.” He reached down, grabbing his bag off the floor and slinging it over one shoulder.
Scott nodded, “Yeah, they came the other day.” He reached out and patted Stiles on the back sensing the anxiety rolling off of him in waves. “No worries, you don’t have to apologize dude. You ready to head out? Lydia’s waiting in the car.” He told his friend. It was clear that Stiles was nervous and Scott wasn’t sure what to do to help his friend short of telling him he should take another day off, but he knew Stiles couldn’t keep doing that. He was going to have to go back eventually so it might as well be now.
“Yeah. Let’s go,” he said, relaxing just a little at Scott’s reassuring voice. “I didn’t get totally caught up on homework. Did you? I mean, from before? Before you went back?”
Scott guided Stiles outside as he shook his head. “No,” he still had a couple of things to make up. “But it’s only a few things and Lydia’s been helping me with what I don’t know,” he explained as they walked out, the car sitting in the driveway. “Are you ready for this?” He asked.
“Totally,” he said cheerfully, reaching out and patting Scott’s back. “It’s time to get back to normal, you know?” Even if his heart was beating too fast and the eggs in his stomach were already turning over and over and he was praying that he didn’t puke in Lydia’s car. He headed for the driver’s side, knocking on the window lightly and offering her a small smile.
Lydia was in the process of fixing her lip gloss and at the knock she glanced over and smiled, her expression changing immediately and warming. She closed the mirror and tossed it and her lip gloss into her purse before waving.
Scott could hear Stiles’ heartbeat and even though he was concerned with how fast it was beating he knew Stiles had to be nervous about coming back to school. It had been three weeks since he and Lydia were in school and people had definitely noticed. Scott chalked the fast heartbeat up to nerves and reached for the handle. “Hey dude, you want shotgun?” he asked figuring Stiles would want to ride up front with Lydia.
Stiles almost asked if the back windows in Lydia’s car rolled down because that way if his stomach didn’t make it all the way to school, she wouldn’t be pissed at him for ruining her car. But that would be a weird thing to ask, and Scott was offering, so going with the flow seemed like the easier, better option. “Yeah, thanks, man.” He smiled as he moved around to the passenger side and slid into the seat. “Hey.”
Lydia smiled, “Hey,” she said as Scott got in the back seat and pulled the door shut behind him. She hadn’t liked leaving Stiles last night and if she was being honest she didn’t exactly have the best night’s sleep. But it wasn’t something she was going to complain over. She’d live.
Lydia put the car in gear and pulled out of the Stilinski driveway, an odd feeling fluttering in her stomach. Scott sat in the back glancing between Lydia and Stiles and trying to relax. It was possible he was a little nervous too even though he probably didn’t have a right to be.
“Music?” Stiles asked, hoping if nothing else it might drown out the sound of his heartbeat for Scott a little. He glanced at Lydia sideways.
She nodded, “Go for it,” she said as she drove down the street.
Stiles switched on the music to a light rock channel and sat back in the seat, trying to just steady his breathing, gripping tightly onto his backpack straps so that his hands didn’t shake as much.
They were halfway to school before Lydia was able to place the feeling in the pit of her stomach. It was anxiety, which was odd because she wasn’t particularly anxious...unless the anxiety wasn’t hers. Lydia swallowed hard her heartbeat thudding loudly.
Scott heard the shift in Lydia’s heartbeat and he wondered what had caused it. He decided to try and calm everyone down by talking. “Coach has been asking about you.” he commented sticking his head up front between the seats.
Stiles glanced over his shoulder at Scott when he spoke. “Yeah? What’s he saying? ‘Is that pain in the ass Bolinski kid ever coming back to help us out?’”
Scott chuckled, “No, he actually used the right name,” Scott said with a grin. “I think coach actually likes you man,” he teased reaching over the seat and squeezing his friend’s shoulders.
Lydia glanced at Stiles out of the corner of her eye as she continued down the road, not saying much. It had been weird getting ready for school that morning, but she’d gone through the same routine as always and Lydia was hoping if she continued doing that things would somehow go back to normal.
She hesitated for a minute before reaching out with one hand and resting it on Stiles’ leg, keeping her other hand firmly on the wheel.
Some of the tension left his body as soon as Scott touched his shoulder and Lydia put a hand on his leg. No, that wasn’t going to make things complicated if he couldn’t get by on his own without them every second of the day. He laid his head back against the seat. “Who even knew Coach liked anyone? I mean the guy didn’t even like --” He paused before he could say Jackson. “ -- you know, you forever.”
Scott grinned. “Coach loves me.” He joked as they pulled into the school parking lot. He sat back and blinked, “We’re here already?” He asked.
Lydia arched a perfectly sculpted eyebrow, “You act like the school is far from Stiles’ house,” she said amused. She pulled the car into a spot and parked shutting the engine off.
Scott caught sight of the time before the car went off and he grunted. He didn’t want to run off and leave them especially since it was Stiles’ first day back, but at the same time he needed to go make up that test. “You guys going to be okay? I’m supposed to be meeting with our Chem teacher before class I need to make up a test.”
Stiles swallowed hard as he stared at the school, dread sweeping over him. It had definitely been too quick of a drive for his liking, but Lydia was right. It was a fifteen minute walk from his house to the school. By car, it was less than five. “Yeah. What about you?” He turned his head to look at Lydia. “You gonna be okay?” It was her first day back, too.
Lydia turned and glanced at Scott, “Come on, who are you talking to,” she said before flipping her hair over her shoulder. “I’m Lydia Martin, I’m always ready.” She said as she dropped her keys into her purse and pulled her bag onto her shoulder.
Stiles smiled a little at Lydia’s gesture, watching as she got ready to get out of the car, turning to look at Scott, and reaching up to pat his hand lightly.
Scott grinned. “Alright I’ll see you guys at lunch.” He placed a hand on Stiles shoulder, “If you need me just text me,” he said squeezing his friends shoulder one last time before getting out of the car and jogging quickly in the direction of the entrance.
Lydia glanced at Stiles. “Good to go?” She asked the nervousness in her stomach clearly coming from him.
“Yeah, let’s...get this over with.” At least he only had to worry about doing this once. The rumor mill at school would die down after a few days, hopefully. It was just the first time he’d really be subjected to it since his mom had died. He reached for the door handle, hitching his bag up and over his shoulders, securing it in place.
Lydia pushed her car door open shutting it behind her and walked around to the passenger side of the car. She watched Stiles as he shifted his bag and held out a hand to him.. “It’s going to be fine,” she said soothingly.
As much as Stiles wanted to take her hand, he hesitated. “Lydia, if we walk in there holding hands…” He looked down. “It already looks suspicious since we’ve both been out so long. Are you sure that…”
Lydia frowned, “I don’t care what people say.” She told him as she took a step closer to him. “You’re anxious Stiles and it’s practically getting worse by the second.” She told him softly. “Let me help. This is high school people are always going to talk,” she rolled her eyes, “But nothing they say means anything to me.” She angled her head to the side, “What matters is that you’re okay.” She said offering him her hand again. “You’re not alone.”
Stiles drew in a breath and then reached out, taking her hand and lacing their fingers together. “That obvious, huh?” It was a stupid question, really, considering he had beads of sweat on his forehead. “Okay. Let’s do this.”
Lydia leaned into him and tugged him forward gently, “Slightly obvious,” she didn’t think telling Stiles she could feel his anxiety was a good idea so she kept it to herself. “How was your night last night?” She asked trying to distract him as they walked towards the entrance of the school, people already starting to glance in their direction.
Stiles’ hand tightened around hers a fraction as he tried his best not to even acknowledge the looks as they headed inside, but it was kind of hard to ignore the fact that an actual hush fell over the semi-busy hallway. “It was okay.” He’d slept for about an hour and a half and then tossed and turned the rest of the night, worried about today.
Lydia kept her head held high as she held onto Stiles arm with her free hand so both hands were on him. “I wonder if the sheriff is going to ban sleepovers on school nights,” she joked lightly continuing down the hallway completely ignoring the people watching them. Lydia spotted Allison and Isaac towards the end of the hallway near Allison’s locker. The lack of noise must have caught their attention because they glanced up and Lydia’s gaze met Allison’s. She gave her friend half a smile and continued walking.
A wave of nausea rolled over him at the sight of Allison and Isaac. Apparently that was a thing that happened when you ran across people you’d tried to brutally murder and actually almost succeeded. “I don’t know,” he murmured. “Hopefully not.” Because he had the feeling he was actually going to really need that after the day was over today. If he managed to make it through the day to begin with. “I mean, no. Probably not. I don’t...I don’t think he’d do that.” He was too worried about Stiles’ mental health to ban Lydia or Scott either one from spending the night, school night regardless.
Lydia swallowed heavily when her stomach clenched. She steered Stiles away from Allison and Isaac taking them in a different direction. She squeezed his hand gently as they turned the corner nearly knocking into someone. “Jeez, watch where-” but her words died off when she caught sight of who was in front of them.
Lydia’s body tensed her gaze meeting Ethan’s. She swallowed hard. “Ethan,” his name left her lips in a short breath the image of Aiden’s dead body flashing briefly in front of her eyes and she did her best not to flinch.
Stiles froze in place at the sight of the other guy, his hand tightening around Lydia’s for a brief second before he dropped it. The man standing in front of them had more reason to hate him than nearly everyone else put together. His face drained of all color, lips parting because he knew he should say something. But what the hell could he ever possibly say to Ethan? Sorry that I ripped your brother’s heart out of his chest?
Similar images flashed in his own mind and he knew the eggs his dad had fixed him for breakfast were about to be make their reappearance. He quickly moved away from both of them, making a beeline for the men’s restroom, just barely making it to one of the stalls and slamming it shut before throwing up.
Lydia was torn. Her gaze followed Stiles briefly wanting to follow him, but needing to make sure Ethan was okay also. Her stomach rolled and she paled bringing her hand to her stomach. She looked back at Ethan, “I’m so sorry about Aiden,” she whispered, the emotion clear in her voice. “I can’t imagine-” her words cut off and her chest tightened. Lydia felt sick to her stomach and she wasn’t sure if it was from Stiles, herself or both.
Ethan closed his eyes for a moment, allowing his tension to fade a little once Stilinski vanished from sight. His brother wouldn’t want him to take things out on the girl he’d been dating. And that wasn’t his style anyway. “It wasn’t your fault.” He was silent for a few seconds. “He really cared about you. You know that right?”
Lydia felt the calm facade she’d built up start to crack as moisture pooled in her eyes. She nodded, “I know,” she said quietly as she looked down. Despite Ethan’s words Lydia couldn’t seem to stop blaming herself for Aiden’s death. If she had just gotten to Stiles in time, if she had figured out what was happening to him then he never would have been possessed and he wouldn’t have killed Aiden.
“I’m sorry I wasn’t able to save him,” she said softly. “If I had known...If I had understood,” she paused still glancing down and brushed the tears from her eyes. “I wish...I wish I could change things, I wish we hadn’t been fighting, I wish he knew that I did care.” Even though it didn’t always come off that way, Lydia added silently. “I’m so sorry,” she said again knowing that the words probably didn’t help, but needing to say them anyway.
Ethan hesitated for a moment before stepping forward and wrapping his arms around her. “You were good for him. Brought him back down to reasonable ground. It really wasn’t your fault.” No, that blame lay firmly with one person who’d just turned tail and run like a complete coward. “He knew you cared.” He shut his eyes for a few seconds before pulling away once more. “Are you doing okay? You missed a lot of school.” Not that he hadn’t. He’d only come back last week himself, and he’d contemplated not coming back at all. The problem was, he literally had nothing left if he didn’t.
Ethan was being too nice to her and it only made her chest tighten further. Lydia swallowed hard, “Things have been...complicated.” She said hesitantly, “I was unconscious for a while, so school was, I couldn’t come.” And she spent the rest of her time with Stiles because he needed her. But somehow she didn’t think Ethan would take kindly to that information and why would he? The Nogitsune used Stiles body to kill his brother. Lydia reached out and rested a hand on his arm, “How are you holding up?” Lydia hoped he wasn’t isolating himself from everyone that would only make his pain worse. She hated thinking that he was all alone now.
Ethan tensed just a little at her words about being unconscious. No doubt that was one more thing Stilinski was responsible for. “I’m…” He shrugged, looking down. “Danny’s been really great. And he knows everything now. I told him. This town isn’t safe enough for him not to know what’s really going on.” He looked up at her.
Lydia nodded, “I’m glad you told him. I’m glad he knows.” She said quietly, “You shouldn’t be alone.” She told him softly. “Are you-” Lydia’s words cut off as her stomach rolled with anxiety once again, her heartbeat picking up speed. She felt like she was going to be sick. “Um,” she swallowed hard trying to focus her thoughts, “Are you staying in Beacon Hills?” She asked softly.
Ethan’s eyebrows furrowed as he watched her. “Lydia, your heart’s beating really fast. Are you all right?” He frowned, stepping closer to her. “Do you need to sit down?”
Lydia shook her head, “No I...I just.” She paused not sure what to say to him. “It’s complicated.” She said her brows furrowing as she took a deep breath and closed her eyes for a minute, trying to calm her rapidly beating heart. She and Scott were going to have to talk to Deaton soon so he could tell her how the connection between her and Stiles kept getting stronger to the point that her body was mimicking his anxiety. There had to be a way to control that.
Ethan put a hand on her shoulder. “Okay. Maybe I should find Scott for you. Or Allison.” He pursed his lips, not sure what to do for her, but she looked like she was ready to throw up or pass out, or possibly both at the same time.
Lydia shook her head quickly, “Don’t worry Scott, I need,” She hesitated, “I have to go, I’m sorry,” she said genuinely. “Any time you need anything, you can always call me.” She squeezed his arm gently, “You’re not alone.” Lydia glanced around the hallway to make sure no one was watching her before she moved away from Ethan and headed for the boys bathroom.
Ethan watched her go, concerned, but also very confused.
Stiles stood silently at one of the sinks in the boy’s bathroom, splashing cold water on his face as he tried to get his stomach to calm down once more. He felt a terrible, crushing weight of guilt on his chest as various images of Aiden flashed through his mind. Everything from Aiden helping kill Boyd to seeing him with Lydia walking down the hallways at school, sitting with him and the rest of the group at lunch, and finally, the moment of terror in his eyes as Stiles leaned over him, nails digging into his chest. His grip on the sink tightened, knuckles turning white.
He shouldn’t have come back to school. He hadn’t thought about Ethan still being around, and that just added to the weight of the guilt he felt. And it was only the tip of the iceberg, really. He didn’t even know the families of the other people who’d died because of him. He wondered how he was ever going to be able to face someone like Chris Argent again. Why didn’t he just kill me? he thought miserably.
Lydia pushed her way into the boy’s bathroom the sight of Stiles leaning over the sink making her heart clench. Lydia ignored her frantically beating heart and came up behind him resting her hands on his shoulders. "Take a deep breath Stiles," her words were calm despite the fact that she felt the complete opposite.
He shut his eyes at her words, at the feel of her hands on his shoulders. He forced himself to take a deep breath as she instructed, because what other choice did he really have? He was alive, even if he shouldn’t be. It hurt. Everything hurt. “I’m okay, I just -- I wasn’t…” His voice trailed off and he shook his head.
"It's okay," Lydia said softly. "You're okay." She rubbed his back leaning into him carefully. "Take another deep breath," she shifted back, "Look at me," Lydia insisted softly.
Stiles’ hands were still gripping tightly onto the sink but he managed to look at her, pained expression on his face. He swallowed hard, aware of how pale she was, too, and he didn’t understand why she looked almost as sick as he felt.
Lydia held his gaze through the mirror, her heart starting to slow down just a bit and it was in that moment that she realized something. Pain filled her gaze, "You remember...don't you?" There was no other explanation for his reaction to Ethan.
Stiles wanted to deny it. Wanted to tell her no, that he’d just read about Aiden’s death in the paper and made the connection, seen the way that Ethan had looked at him. But he didn’t have it in him to tell another lie right then. He just didn’t. Stiles turned away from her, squeezing his eyes shut again and letting out a shuddering breath. “I’m so sorry, Lydia.” He rubbed a hand over his face. “I tried to stop it, I just...I couldn’t. And I’m sorry.” There would never be enough words in the world for the amount of apologies he owed. There was nothing he could do to make it better for anyone. Why didn’t he just kill me?
Lydia couldn't stop the tears that slipped from her eyes. She swallowed heavily. "It wasn't you Stiles. It was the Nogitsune. Not you<\I>." She stressed. Lydia shifted pressing her hand against his stomach gently pushing him away from the sink enough that she could slip between him and the cold porcelain. She slid her arms around him. "Take another deep breath I know it's hard but you need to calm down."
“I don’t think that really matters, Lydia,” he whispered thickly. “I was there. It was my body. My hands.” He shut his eyes. The supernatural strength hadn’t been his, but the Nogitsune had used his body to wield that power, had hurt and killed. Because he was weak. He forced himself to take a deep breath and let it out slowly.
Lydia swallowed hard wincing at Stiles' words. She knew it wasn't him. She didn't blame him. But she couldn't help the tears that broke from her eyes. Her grip on Stiles tightened as his heartbeat finally started to slow enough that she didn't feel like she was going to keel over and vomit. "What can I do?" She whispered.
Stiles wanted to ask her not to tell anyone that he remembered. But that wasn’t fair to Lydia. He didn’t know what to tell her because he didn’t know what to do, either. “Just...don’t hate me. I think that’s all that…” He looked down, shaking his head.
Lydia held a pained expression on her face for a minute at his words. She cupped his cheeks gently forcing him to look at her. "I could never hate you. Ever." She told him before swallowing hard. "If I hated you I wouldn't be here, but I am.” Lydia brushed her thumbs against his cheeks. "I'm not going anywhere Stiles."
His one request was seemingly so easy, but in reality it was more than he had a right to ask of her or anyone. Wordlessly he leaned his forehead against hers for a second, wanting to reach up and grasp onto her arms but resisting the urge. “We’re gonna be late to class,” he whispered.
"Yes, we are. So you, better get in gear Stilinski because we can't miss any more classes." She said softly, but she didn't make a move to leave. She kept a hand on his face moving the other to his midsection. She leaned in and pressed a light kiss to his cheek. "We should get to class." She said finally feeling calm.
Stiles shut his eyes, feeling too tired now to feel anxious anymore. Like all of the trauma had already caught up with him for the day and drained him entirely. “Yeah, we should.” He reluctantly pulled away from her, opening his eyes once more and then moved to pick up his book bag that he’d dropped on the floor in his rush to make it to the toilet on time.
Lydia let out a short breath as she watched Stiles get his bag. She waited for him to turn and then held out her hand again as she fixed her bag on her shoulder that was holding her books.
Stiles’ fingers curled around hers as they headed back into the hallway, and he tried his best to prepare for going back out there when all he really wanted to do was go straight back home, to his room and collapse in his bed.
He’d barely managed to stay awake in his morning classes and by lunch time, Stiles felt like the walking dead. Maybe he should have just planned to come to school for a half day for a few days. His energy level was well under levels that most people would consider normal, and he was emotionally frayed. He’d managed to choke down exactly two bites of lunch, trying not to look at Scott or Lydia because he didn’t want to see the worry on their faces, but his nerves were just too raw to eat.
It was after sixth period that he realized he didn’t have the right textbook for his next class and he made a trip back to his locker. The hallways were empty and silent, and the hair on the back of his neck stood on end as his fingers stilled on his locker’s combination lock. He felt his heart skip a beat and he shut his eyes for a moment, slowly turning around only to be slammed backwards into his locker with a fist to his face. Everything went dark.
It didn’t take Ethan long to drag Stiles off school grounds. He hadn’t bothered with his bike, he wasn’t going far. He glanced down at Stiles as he dragged his body into the woods, leaves crunching beneath his feet. The kid barely weighed anything and every time he looked at him, all he wanted to do was tear his throat out. But that would be too simple. No, Ethan was going to make him suffer.
He reached his destination and tossed Stiles to the ground a few feet away hearing a slight groan coming from the teenager’s mouth. He held his ground and crossed his arms over his chest, glaring down at the kid who killed his brother. “Get up,” he spit out.
Stiles’ eyebrows furrowed and he was trying to figure out why the taste of blood was in his mouth. When his eyes opened, it took a moment for his vision to focus and when it did, it rested on the face of the guy he’d murdered. No, he thought, head a little fuzzy. Not Aiden. Ethan.
Stiles didn’t get up; he simply remained on the ground, not moving. “Go ahead.”
Ethan glared down at Stiles, “I don’t need your permission. Get up,” he said again, “Now. Don’t make me tell you again.” He said anger and pain coursing through his veins.
Stiles didn’t have the energy or desire to move especially when he knew what was coming. He closed his eyes for a moment, figuring he owed the guy that much at the very least. He rose to shaky feet, jaw aching from where Ethan had already hit him once. He had a feeling it wasn’t going to be painful for long. He opened his eyes, letting out a breath and not moving toward the other man. He wanted to apologize, to tell Ethan that he’d tried to stop himself, but words meant nothing at the end of the day. He stood silently, waiting with tired eyes.
Ethan arched an eyebrow, “Oh what, you’re not going to run away like a coward again like you did this morning?” He asked taking a step closer not giving Stiles a chance to answer, “Do you recognize this place?” He asked his tone conversational, but the anger was clear in his eyes.
How could he not recognize one of the places he’d committed murder in? Stiles’ gaze drifted the ground, images of the fight with Aiden and Isaac washing over him. He remembered screaming at his body. STOP. Don’t do this. STOP. But his body no longer listened to him. It only listened to the Nogitsune. And the more Stiles screamed and protested the more power the Nogitsune seemed to gain.
“I’ll take your silence as a yes,” He said pointedly. “You shouldn’t have come back.” He said as he started to circle Stiles, his eyes going blue. “I don’t know why Lydia bothers to even acknowledge your presence after what you did.” Ethan lets himself change, letting out a low growl and stopping in front of Stiles. “They should have killed you then,” he took a step closer, “But don’t worry, I’m going to fix that now.” He said before slamming his fist into Stiles’ face.
Ethan was right. He shouldn’t have come back. He shouldn’t have lived at all. He hit the ground hard, but made no attempt to get back up. Pain made his body shudder, but he turned to look at Ethan. A flicker of panic was somewhere in the back of his mind as he imagined his dad’s face. Scott’s. Lydia’s. But his own sense of guilt and exhaustion held that back for the most part.
Ethan leapt forward grabbing the collar of Stiles shirt before lifting him off the ground and tossing his body into a nearby tree as a growl left his throat. “You thought you could just get away with killing Aiden,” he yelled as he closed the distance between him and the tree quickly, “That you wouldn’t have to pay for what you did. Why? Why my brother?” He asked as he slammed his fist into Stiles’ face again.
Stiles hit the tree hard, wincing as he felt a rib crack with the impact, but before he could slide all the way to the grab, Ethan had grabbed him again. His body shuddered as it prepared for the next hit. “I wasn’t trying to get away with it,” he mumbled. “I asked Chris Argent to kill me.” He winced as the next hit landed just under his left eye, pain exploding in his cheek.
“Well it looks like that didn’t happen,” He said as he slammed his fist into Stiles stomach his claws just barely cutting into his skin. “Why my brother Stilinski? Is it because he was dating your precious Lydia? Answer me!”
A pained gasp escaped him at the sharp sting and the only reason he was even still standing was because Ethan was literally holding him up. “I didn’t go looking for him.” He coughed, blood trickling from his mouth. “He and Isaac came after me. I wasn’t in control,” he said weakly, knowing that didn’t make it any better.
Ethan glared, “Yeah well, you’re not in control now either,” he said as he tossed him to the ground once again, “Your luck has officially run out. You took my brother’s life, now I’m going to take yours.” He said while sending a solid kick to Stiles’ side. He was tired of always doing the right thing. Aiden was the only person he had in his life, his brother. Now he was all alone in the world and he felt like he was suffocating. All he wanted was his brother back and since that wasn’t possible he’d get the next best thing...Revenge.
Lydia glanced at the water as she washed her hands in the girl’s bathroom. She hated school bathrooms, they were disgusting. It was the middle of class and she’d had the oddest feeling since it started. Something felt off, but she couldn’t put her fingers on it and it was driving her nuts. Then again lately that was pretty much the story of her life. Lydia sighed and as she leaned forward to shut the water off she gasped and gripped her stomach.
Her brows drew together as she sucked in a sharp breath. It felt like something had just knocked the wind out of her. “What the hell?” She mumbled and then like a damn freight train a barrage of emotions slammed into her nearly knocking her off balance and making her cry out softly. “Oh god,” Stiles. Something was wrong with Stiles.
The emotional turmoil was almost debilitating as her heart sped up to the point that she was actually shaking. She needed to find Scott. Lydia grabbed her bag and stepped forward right as another wave of emotion hit her, guilt, pain, loss, fear. She fell to her knees and a sob was torn from her throat. Lydia could feel it building in her chest and panic slammed into her. No, no.
She reached into her bag with shaky hands and gripped her cell phone dialing the number the seemed to be her new go to outside of Scott. Lydia could hear it ringing and she waited anxiously as she felt the scream building in her throat. A scream she refused to let out.
He answered on the second ring. “...Lydia?” Derek’s voice was concerned, but also confused, immediately. He knew that she and Stiles had gone back to school today. Scott had texted him earlier to let him know they’d all ridden over together. The fact that she was calling in the middle of the day didn’t bode well.
“Derek something's wrong with Stiles,” Lydia didn’t even bother with hello’s as another rush of pain, Stiles’ pain rushed through her. “Oh god,” her hand clenched against the bathroom floor, tears slipping down her cheeks. “I don’t know where Scott is, please I need you to find him, it’s bad, it’s really bad. I,” Lydia squeezed her eyes shut, her face paling as she tried to calm down her own heartbeat. It echoed in her head, “I can feel a scream,” she sucked in a sharp breath, “I can’t breathe,” she shook her head it wasn’t her, “Stiles can’t breathe.”
Derek sucked in a breath at her words. “Okay, Lydia, I’m leaving right now and heading in that direction, okay? Do you have any idea where he might be? Is he in the school some place? Can you hear anything?” He grabbed his car keys and headed for the door, locking it behind him and heading down the stairs.
“I don’t know, I don’t know,” Lydia felt like it was the Nogitsune all over again. Messages she couldn’t understand. But that wasn’t true. She told Scott she was going to do better this time, she was going to listen. “I’m scared,” she admitted closing her eyes, “I can’t-” Lydia paused the line going silent. He was breathing in fresh air...he was outside. She tried to focus on what she was feeling and push back at that connection. Soft and wet...grass. Lydia’s eyes flew open. “He’s in the woods! Derek the woods by school where we jog, that’s got to be it.” Her words were rushed as the pounding in her head continued. “He doesn’t have a lot of time,” she whispered, “I can feel it…him.”
“Okay, try to stay calm. I’ll be there in two minutes.” He gunned his car’s engine, steering it in the direction of the school and pressing his foot down hard on the gas pedal, agitation and worry flooding him. For Stiles, for Lydia. What the hell was going on now?
It didn’t take Derek long to get to the woods by the school and he was out of the car and jogging into the woods in a matter of minutes. He shifted mid run scenting the air and following Stiles’ scent. The further he ran the more potent it got.
He did a backflip down a drop deeper into the woods and that’s when he saw it. He pushed his body and leapt across the clearing tackling Ethan to the ground and rolling them several feet away from Stiles. He growled as he pinned the younger wolf to the ground. “You need to stop,” he said flashing his teeth.
“He needs to die,” Ethan growled, trying to roll Derek off him. “He’s a murderer.”
Derek let out another loud growl as shoved Ethan harden against the ground. “He was possessed, you know that, Ethan and you’re brother sought him out, not the other way around. He provoked the Nogitsune; Stiles had nothing to do with that.” He said sharply trying to keep him down even as he glanced over his shoulder towards Stiles who wasn’t moving. That wasn’t good.
“He should’ve tried harder,” he snapped, eyes flashing blue as he glared at Derek. “He fought it long enough to save Scott.” The bitterness in his voice was unmistakable. “He didn’t care enough about Aiden to fight for him, though, did he?”
Derek shook his head, “No offense Ethan, but can you blame him?” He asked grunting and then getting off of him. “I believe Stiles tried as hard as he could, this isn’t his fault and I need to get him to a hospital,” he said turning his back on Ethan so he could go over to Stiles.
Without warning, he launched himself at Derek, claws out as he swiped at him, tackling him this time.
“Son of a bitch,” Derek growled as he threw his body weight at Ethan making them roll across the ground fumbling for the high ground. They landed with a thud Derek below Ethan. He could see the other werewolf lifting his claw again aiming for his chest, but before that could happen, Scott appeared beside them, eyes glowing red, crouching down as he opened his mouth and howled loudly, the sound reverberating through the woods around them.
Ethan cowered instantly, flinching at the sound, but narrowing his eyes and glaring at Scott. His claws retracted, eyes returning to normal as he rolled off of Derek. He slowly got to his feet, chest still heaving with anger and the exertion from the fight, but he said nothing, jaw tight as he waited.
Scott glanced briefly at Derek, “How’d you know he was here?” He asked before glancing back at Ethan and shifting back, “Do you see Stiles?” He asked his voice strained. Anger was Scott’s current emotion, but as he looked at Ethan and saw the pain coming off him in waves, that anger he’d been holding on to since he got the feeling that Stiles was in trouble loosened slightly.
“He needs a hospital, Scott.” Derek quickly moved over to where Stiles lay still several feet away, almost hidden by the trees. His pulse was there, Derek could hear it, but it was weaker than it should have been.
Scott’s chest tightened, “Can you take him?” he asked hating to ask because he wanted to be the one to take him, but he needed to talk to Ethan and it couldn’t wait. “And can you check on Lydia, I felt something off before.” He said glancing over at Derek, his heart clutching when he finally spotted Stiles. He could smell the blood and it was making his nauseous. God, would this nightmare never end?
“Yeah, I’m going. Lydia felt it. She’s the one who called me about Stiles. And we’re gonna have to talk about that sooner or later.” His voice was grim and he hesitated, trying to figure out the best way to pick Stiles up without making his injuries any worse.
Scott gave a tired nod as he looked back at Ethan. “I understand...I do.” he said quietly. “I can feel how bad you’re hurting. I am sorry about Aiden, Ethan. I can’t imagine what this has to feel like for you, but Stiles...nobody blames Stiles more than he blames himself. He didn’t want to hurt your brother. He didn’t want to almost kill me or get Allison shot. He didn’t want to taunt Lydia or try to kill his own father, but all of those things still happened,” he said quietly.
“You’re trying to punish him for something that isn’t his fault...and what about Lydia, I thought you cared about her.” He said quietly.
Ethan stared at him for a long moment. “If it had been the other way around. If Aiden had been the one to kill Stiles...would you have just sat back and let him get away with it?” he asked bluntly.
Scott hesitated, “Aiden was trying to kill Stiles because he was angry with him.” Scott pointed out, “The situation is different because Aiden wasn’t possessed...if he had been I like to think I would have taken the high road.” He said with a nod. “Stiles is a lot of things, but a murderer isn’t one of them. There’s been enough death Ethan.”
Ethan looked away, some of the anger and hatred seeping out of him as he shut his eyes. “I won’t go near him again. But I’m not sure that I can…” He looked back at Scott. “Be in your pack if he’s in it, either.”
Scott nodded, “I understand.” He swallowed hard, “Ethan whether you’re in my pack or not...you can always ask us for help if you need it. Packs, no packs, we’re all one and the same. You’ve helped us a lot over the past year and after everything that’s happened; we all just need a little peace.” He said quietly his chest tight. “I’ve gotta go check on Lydia and head to the hospital.” He wondered briefly if Derek already grabbed Lydia and headed to the hospital.
Ethan was silent for a moment, then he nodded. “You should know that I told Danny everything. It was time for him to know what was going on around here. I think he had an idea already.” He turned to go, pausing in his tracks and looking back at the younger man. “Good luck, Scott. You’re a good alpha.”
Scott’s chest tightened, “Somehow I feel like if that was true a lot less people would be dead. But thanks.” He nodded and then took off running as fast as he could needing to get to Stiles, nothing else mattered.