September 15, 2014

Never Too Late 6/17

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: 6/17
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 | Three | Four | Five |

Chapter Six

Derek made his way slowly down the hospital hallway, two cups of coffee in hand. He lifted an arm to cover a yawn. It was a quarter to one in the morning and they’d been at the hospital since that afternoon waiting for an update on Stiles. He spotted Scott in the same seat he’d left him in earlier with Lydia beside him, head on his shoulder out cold.

He held one of the coffee cups out to Scott, “I figured you might need some.”

“Thanks, man,” he said quietly, taking it from him and downing a big gulp of the caffeine. His eyes kept straying toward the ICU where Stiles was being watched over. He let out a breath, glancing briefly at Lydia and gently wrapping an arm around her. “I’m starting to feel like this is just an endless loop of hospital trips.”

Derek nodded as he sat across from them. “That’s understandable. But it’ll get better,” he said figuring it couldn’t really get much worse. “Stiles is going to be okay.” He said matter-of-factly, his gaze shifting to Lydia, “Will she be?” He asked the panicked call from Lydia taking up residence in the forefront of his mind now that Stiles was taken care of.

Scott sighed softly, laying his head back against the wall. “We’re sort of...something kind of unusual is happening,” he admitted. “At least I think it’s unusual. Alpha’s shouldn’t be able to feel people who aren’t wolves, right? I mean that’s not normal.” Regardless of the fact that Stiles and Lydia were most definitely part of his pack. He felt the same amount of protectiveness as he did over Isaac. Maybe more -- because Stiles was his brother.

Derek pursed his lips, “That depends. Alpha’s have a connection to certain people or things that involve their pack. Can you tell me what you’re experiencing?” He asked knowing he wouldn’t be able to help until he knew exactly what was going on.

“Mostly the emotions. Sometimes the physical feelings. I felt Stiles’ anxiety this morning. Like...a lot. It was kind of overwhelming.” Kind of was also an understatement. In a way he was glad he could feel his best friend because it gave him an idea of what was going on with him. “I can feel Lydia, too. Same deal.”

Derek angled his head to the side and pointed at Lydia, “You’re bound to feel Lydia, she’s a banshee and technically while Lydia is still human, she’s also a supernatural being,” he explained. “Banshee’s are linked to both packs and emissaries. That could be why you can feel her.” Derek took a sip of his coffee, “But it’s her connection to Stiles that’s troubling me to be honest.” Derek had never seen a connection quite like there’s before and it was disconcerting especially when she called him in hysterics. After bringing Stiles to the hospital, he’d found Lydia at school passed out in the bathroom. It hadn’t been a pretty sight to step into.

Scott considered that, glancing at the red head -- no. The strawberry blonde. He could practically see Stiles’ exasperated eyeroll at his own mental error and he smiled very faintly, wondering how long it was going to take his best friend to actually have that kind of reaction to anything again. “Wait.” He looked up at Derek suddenly, eyes widening. “She’s linked to the pack’s emissary? We don’t actually… I mean Deaton was the Hale family emissary, right? He just kinda helps me because I work for him and he likes me.”

Derek nodded, “I don’t really know much about the whole emissary aspect of things. I didn’t even know Deaton was my Mother’s emissary until recently,” he said while leaning back and rubbing his neck. “You should talk to Deaton, he probably has more answers about that than I do.” He hesitated and then leaned forward.

Scott’s mind was already on a possibility that made sense, at least, in his own mind. “I wonder if the emissary thing is...something a person is born with,” he murmured, gaze drifting to the ICU room door once again, heart beating a little quicker in his chest. Either way, things were starting to make a little more sense if his theory was right.

Derek shrugged. That was also something Deaton was going to need to answer. “I do however know someone who knows his fair share about Banshee’s, but you’re not going to like it.” He said carefully.

At Derek’s next words, Scott shifted his attention back to the older werewolf. He stared at him for a second and then grimaced. “Peter.”

Derek gave a nod, “Trust me I hate to even suggest it, but he tends to know a lot more about these things than he lets on, which of course I’m sure there’s a reason for.” He said with a sigh. Derek and Peter had never really gotten along, even when Derek was a kid. He’d never particularly trusted his Uncle and he always wound up getting him involved in things that went badly. Derek’s heart clenched slightly at the thought of Paige, but he compartmentalized it and pushed it aside quickly. There was no room for that pain right now. “I’m afraid if she doesn’t learn how to block out the more severe emotions from Stiles she’s going to end up the way she was when she woke up in the hospital,” he told Scott honestly.

Scott shut his eyes at that, reaching up and rubbing a hand over his face tiredly. “I’ll talk to Peter. And to Deaton.” Because not only did he not want Lydia to end up hurt again, but he knew if Lydia was hurt because of him, Stiles would never be able to deal with that. He knew how deeply Stiles’ emotions ran when it came to the people he cared about the most, and he knew Lydia Martin was on that list.

Derek hesitated, “Maybe you should let Lydia talk to Peter.” He held up a hand, “I know what you’re going to say. But she needs to know she can do this on her own and you’ve got a lot to do. You’re an alpha Scott, and in order to take care of your pack you need to take care of yourself. You still haven’t even tapped into the strength that really makes you an alpha. That’s important. It’s not just the color of your eyes that change when you become an alpha.” He explained quietly leaning forward now so if people walked by they didn’t hear them talking.

“Lydia needs to get comfortable with what she is and so do you. And you’re all going to have to talk to Isaac and Allison,” Derek commented keeping his tone light and free of judgment. “He’s still part of your pack and being on the outside of it, despite that not being intentional is probably hurting him more than he wants to admit.” Derek was silent for a minute clasping his hands together as his arms rested on his knees.

“Isaac has always been loyal to you,” he said quietly, “Betrayal hurts, but I think the distinction is important. Isaac didn’t choose the other side Scott, he chose Allison. He loves her. And if I remember correctly despite my better judgment you yourself have made the same choice.” Derek told him wisely.

For a moment Scott looked at Derek like he’d actually lost his mind. “I don’t trust Peter with Lydia. I don’t trust Peter with you,” he said honestly. But the rest of what he said made sense, and he knew Derek was right. He blew out a breath, looking down at Lydia’s sleeping face and taking a long drink of his rapidly-cooling coffee. But Scott had a pack, and he was far from the only one of the pack who was capable of dealing with Peter Hale.

“I know,” he said quietly, chest tightening at the thought of Isaac. “It’s just...hard to see past the fact that Isaac was ready to kill Stiles. That any of them were. I mean that’s wasn’t Stiles.” He wasn’t sure that Derek understood the depth of his relationship with Stiles. Derek didn’t know all of the times that Stiles had literally saved Scott’s life, from finding and retrieving his lost inhaler when he was having an asthma attack to the moment that Stiles literally stepped into a puddle of gasoline, willing to die with Scott on the chance that Scott might not accidentally (or intentionally) kill them both.

Pain flickered over his features as he thought of his best friend laying in ICU, beaten all to hell at that very moment -- over something that he’d had zero control over to begin with.

“I know,” Derek said his voice strained. “Scott anyone who knows you and Stiles even if they haven’t known you both for as long as I have, they know how close you are. How much you mean to each other.” He paused trying to figure out how to convey what he wanted to say in the right way. “I’ve spent three years observing your actions and I can honestly say when I was your age if I had someone like Stiles in my life...maybe I wouldn't have turned out the way I did.” He told him quietly.

“He grounds you, he holds the group together, which is evident by how fractured it is right now. But sometimes,” Derek inhaled deeply, “Sometimes when you’re a leader you need to look at the whole picture. You need to take a step back and see things from every angle. And when you do that sometimes you see things you don’t like.” Derek scratched the back of his neck.

“They had the logical plan Scott. We both know it. I don’t regret helping save Stiles because I think he’s worth being saved. This wasn’t his fault and after everything he’s done to help you, to keep your secret, to be there...he deserved to have us fight for him.” Derek took a sip of his coffee to moisten his throat; he wasn’t used to talking so much.

“He tried to kill Isaac and yet Isaac didn’t go after him. Only when Allison got hurt did he make the leap to killing Stiles. When someone you love is hurt...well we don’t always think clearly all we do is feel and by nature wolves are violent and protective.” He paused resting his coffee on his knee.

“We safeguard what we perceive as ours. It’s a basic instinct. Whether or not you can forgive Isaac or Allison right away, you should show Lydia and Stiles that you haven’t closed them out. People will follow your lead; you just have to be willing to take the first step.”

Scott gazed at Derek as he spoke, a very faint smile touching his mouth. In the last three years, he’d spent a lot of time being upset with, or angry at Derek for various things he’d done. Various choices he’d made. But in the last year, something in the older wolf had begun to change. He wasn’t the same guy he’d met so long ago. Not by a long shot. Derek had changed a lot, more than any of them probably.

Before he had a chance to respond to anything that Derek had said, though, Scott felt a familiar presence approaching and looked over to see his mom, hair tied back in a ponytail as she moved toward them, her expression filled with worry. He very carefully shifted Lydia off his shoulder and rose to his feet. “Mom?”

Melissa was exhausted, both emotionally and physically. Seeing Stiles in ICU again so soon and in such bad shape made her heart clench. Seeing the worry on her son’s face, the pain. It was all starting to get to be a little too much and just when they thought things were heading in the right direction.

Melissa cleared her throat, “I know you’ve been wanting to see Stiles, I thought I’d take you now.” She said as she reached out and squeezed his shoulder, “I think your presence might help a bit.” She said not fully able to hide the moisture in her eyes.

Wordlessly, he reached out and wound his arms around her waist, hugging her as tightly as he dared. “He’s gonna be okay,” Scott said quietly. At least he hoped so. This was going to be a rough road ahead for all of them, but Derek was right. He needed to step up and be a leader. To show the rest of the pack they needed to come together and be a team again.

When the hug ended, Scott reached out and squeezed Derek’s shoulder lightly before following his mom into the ICU, grimacing at the various smells that assaulted his nose. Antiseptics, various medications being administered via IV bags, blood. Even death.

They came to the double doors and Melissa reached into her pocket and pulled out a keycard sliding it through the reader and then pushing open the door. “I’ll be out here making sure no one goes in. The sheriff will be by in the morning...well later in the morning when my shift ends.” Melissa pressed her lips together. “I love you,” she said pressing a kiss to the side of Scott’s head before stepping back knowing Scott needed some time with Stiles.

“I love you too, Mom,” he whispered, watching as she headed away again. He held his breath, chest tightening at the sight of Stiles’ motionless body as he lay unconscious once more. He moved closer, dragging a chair right to his friend’s bedside and reaching out, laying his hands on Stiles’ arm.

“I’m sorry I didn’t get there sooner,” he murmured as his eyes traveling over Stiles body. His chest tightened. He pressed down a little, putting pressure on Stiles arms before taking a deep breath and letting his body pull some of the pain from Stiles into himself.

Scott sucked in a sharp breath, black veins crawling up his arm and into his skin as pain hit him. He clenched his jaw, squeezing his eyes shut as his heartbeat sped up. He stayed like that for a few minutes before the pain building in his chest became too much.

He released Stiles hand and gripped the arms of the chair briefly to steady himself. Maybe he’d taken a little more than he should have, but this was Stiles. He’d been through enough. “It took me longer than I would have liked to get there,” he admitted, “But Derek was there...Derek’s always there,” he commented with a short laugh, though the sound was more of choked noise than anything else. “I’m sorry I didn’t stop this,” he said leaned forward and shaking his head. “I know you probably have no idea why Ethan attacked you and that’s my fault too...we just...we didn’t want to cause you anymore pain,” Scott admitted.

“Stiles man, you gotta wake up, please.” He whispered, his chest tight, eyes burning. “We need you.”

Stiles was so used to the darkness these days that it was troublesome. But even as he swam in the dark, stillness of his mind, he could feel his physical pain receding at a rate that was much too fast to be normal. Much too fast to be any kind of drugs. Drugs only did so much to kill the pain. Maybe they took the edge off, but that was about it. No, this was something else. His eyebrows furrowed as he began to hear a voice that was distant but also familiar. He tried to swim through the fogginess in his brain -- that was definitely drugs in action.

He recognized that voice. He’d known it for most of his life. Scott. A soft sigh escaped him and he struggled as hard as he could to reach the surface, catching sight of a little sliver of light as his eyes began to open slowly.

“Scott,” he murmured, rolling his head toward the direction of the voice.

Scott’s head jerked up at the sound of Stiles voice and he grinned, relief filling him. “You’re awake,” he said stating the obvious, “Man you’ve gotta stop ending up in the hospital you’re going to give us all heart attacks,” he joked before concern filled his face. “How are you feeling?” Stiles was pretty bruised up and his left eye was swollen shut. He had one cracked rib and two bruised ribs. His shoulder had been dislocated and he was pretty sure there were some very faint claw wounds on his stomach. The doctors had thought there was some internal bleeding, but luckily they’d been wrong.

Stiles tried to smile, but it hurt too much and came off more as a grimace than anything. He could also only partially see Scott because his left eye wouldn’t open at all. “Sorry,” he mumbled, meaning it. His voice was groggy. “Dis...oriented.” It took him a moment to get the word out because it took him a moment to remember how it was supposed to sound. “‘ -- at happend?”

Scott winced, “Ethan happened,” he said quietly, “But you don’t have to worry. He’s not going to come after you again...we talked, it’s going to be okay.” He said quietly as he squeezed his friend’s hand. Scott wished Stiles didn’t have to go through this, he wished he could make the last month disappear, but life didn’t work that way. “How’s the pain?” He asked.

Ethan. Right. He shut his good eye and exhaled as he remembered being dragged through the woods to the place where he’d murdered Ethan’s brother. His fingers curled around Scott’s involuntarily in return. “Better,” he murmured. “You did your...wolfy magic thing, right?” He hated that Scott’s wolfy magic thing hurt him. He supposed it was one of those things that could be considered a gift and a curse.

Scott nodded, “I did, I’m glad it helped.” He was silent for a minute, “You must have a ton of questions,” he said before hesitating as he studied his friend, “Or maybe you don’t.” He let his voice trail off.

“Thanks,” he said quietly, exhaling in a long breath at Scott’s comment. “No. Not really.” Lydia already knew that he remembered everything. He wasn’t going to keep it from his best friend, either. Not when that would put undue stress on her. “I remember everything, Scott.” His voice was tired. “I have since the night Lydia woke up.”

Scott swallowed hard, “Why didn’t you say anything?” He asked quietly, “We could have helped...we could have talked,” he said stressing the words wanting Stiles to know that he didn’t blame him for anything. It wasn’t his fault the Nogitsune took him over. He knew Stiles blamed himself and he wished he could help fend off that guilt for his friend.

Tears stung Stiles’ eyes at the emotion in his best friend’s voice. He’d never kept things from Scott before. He told Scott everything. But that was before he’d gone on a murderous, destructive rampage. “I just...I thought it’d be easier if I could just make believe that everything was okay again. I want everything to be okay again, and I don’t think…” His voice was strained. I don’t think it’s going to be.

Scott was silent for a minute. He nodded understanding what his friend wanted. “Stiles...I know it feels that way and maybe,” he took a breath, “maybe things won’t be the same again. But that doesn’t mean they can’t get better. I know no matter how many times I tell you this isn’t your fault, you’re going to blame yourself because that’s just who you are.” He said.

“You’re such a good person,” Scott paused, “That you can’t help but feel everyone else’s pain. No one blames you Stiles...not even really Ethan. He was hurting and I’m not defending him, hell he’s lucky I have some self-restraint.” Scott wanted to tear into him when he saw what he did to Stiles, but he knew that wouldn’t be the right thing to do.

“We’re going to get through this. You’ve got our parents, me, Lydia, Derek, and everyone else.” He said matter-of-factly.

Stiles didn’t really understand why Scott had such unwavering faith in him after everything. Except that Scott, in general, was the one who was the good person. He was the one who stayed optimistic about things. Stiles was just generally sarcastic about things. But maybe Scott’s sense of hope was something that he needed to lean on right then. Maybe he just needed to believe that his best friend was right. That things could get better. It was just hard to believe it when the memories of all things he’d done while possessed were at the forefront of his mind constantly.

“I don’t blame him either,” he admitted. “I’m glad you didn’t…” He shrugged a shoulder, gasping as pain shot through him unexpectedly. Okay, that sucked. His grip around Scott’s hand tightened for a second involuntarily.

When the pain faded enough that he didn’t want to scream, he managed to open his good eye to peer at Scott, the ghost of a smirk on his face. “Our parents? Did they get married while I was passed out? Because if so we should get bunk beds.” It was the first actual joke he’d cracked since before everything had started so long ago.

Scott’s heart warmed, “Nah, I’m thinking June wedding, mom likes the summer.” He said as he scratched the back of his head with his free hand. “I’m down with bunkbeds, don’t know how Lydia is going to feel about that,” he joked. “I call top bunk. I like to look out the window in my sleep and howl,” He joked with an easy grin. The expression felt weird though, probably because it had been so long since a genuine smile graced his lips.

“Oh good. I really didn’t want to miss out.” He couldn’t help but smile when Scott did. He just had one of those smiles that was infectious. And it had been a long time since he’d seen him with a real smile. “We’ll have to make sure they’re wide bunk beds for slumber parties. Pack parties. Whatever.” He wanted to shrug again, but after the pain from last time he wasn’t about to. “Okay how do you even look out your window while you’re asleep, dude?”

Scott looked at Stiles with a completely serious face. “I’m a true have no idea what I can do.” He held the expression for a total of five second before a grin broke out on his face and he chuckled. “Before I go to sleep?” He suggested with a shrug, “I dunno. But I like windows.” He said with a smile. “Mom’s gonna be really happy you’re awake. She was worried. I’m starting to think she loves you more than me,” he joked with a playful pout.

Stiles smiled, shaking his head slightly in amusement. “You can have the top bunk,” he decided, heart clenching a little at the mention of Scott’s mom. “My dad? Is he here too? God he has to be so freaked out.” Stiles had put him through so much lately, the idea that he’d added more stress now made his stomach turn a little. But at Scott’s comment about his mom, he shook his head. “It’s just that the squeaky wheel gets the grease. But I don’t advise trying things my way. Not really a good time.”

Scott snorted, “Did you just call yourself a squeaky wheel?” He smirked, “Dude...that’s gonna be your new nickname.” He said lightly before catching Stiles’ gaze. “Your dad is going to be here in a little bit. It’s like close to one thirty in the morning. There’s only a few of us here right now, there will be more at a decent hour. Don’t worry, you’re loved.” He said with a grin as he patted him gently on the arm.

“It’s not exactly an inaccurate description these days.” He rolled his good eye, relaxing a little at Scott’s reassurance. Stiles looked back at Scott for a moment. “You’re tired, Scottie. You need some sleep.”

Scott shook his head, “I don’t want to. I’m not that tired,” he reassured his friend. “But I should probably tell mom you’re awake. I’ll let Lydia know when she wakes up too.” He commented while standing.

Stiles looked up at his friend. “Thanks for being here.” His voice was quiet. For always being here, he thought.

Scott squeezed his arm gently, “You couldn’t get me to leave if you tried,” he joked. “I’ll be right back.” He said before turning to go and find his mother.

Stiles watched him go, chest tightening a little once again. He’d always been able to count on Scott. The guy was like an unshakable force. At the end of the day, Scott was his rock. His constant. He felt sleep tugging at him once more, but he did his best to resist the urge to close his eyes. He wanted to see Melissa McCall before he passed out again. He wanted to see his dad.

Melissa made her way into the room minutes later, but Scott stayed outside to give her some time and to call Stiles’ dad with an update. She walked quickly over to the bed a smile on her face, “Hey sweetie,” she said as she sat carefully on the edge of Stiles’ bed. “How are you feeling?” Melissa reached out and brushed a hand against Stiles face careful not to touch his bad eye.

Stiles leaned into her touch instinctively, smiling very faintly. “I’m okay. Scott...took a lot of it.” He looked up at her. “Sorry I keep ending up here.”

Melissa gave him a stern look, “Mm, you keep this up and I’m going to make you live in one of those plastic bubbles like the bubble boy,” she commented lightly as she ran her hand through his hair. “We’re not going to be able to bring you home for a little while.” She said softly her chest tightening. She didn’t like leaving Stiles in the hospital overnight all alone. Melissa knew Scott would stay and probably Lydia too, maybe even Derek, but these kids couldn’t keep living in the hospital.

“Yeah I kinda...figured,” he admitted. Considering the amount of pain he was in and the amount of bandages and machines that he was hooked up to, he doubted home would come for at least a few days. “Maybe the bubble thing wouldn’t be such a bad plan.” He closed his good eye as she stroked his hair gently.

“That’s not funny,” Melissa commented even though it had been her idea to begin with. “I’m going to do my best to get you in a regular room so Scott and Lydia can visit. I had to sneak him in.” She said with a small smile, “I’m so glad you’re okay.” She said softly keeping her voice steady despite the pain in her chest. “It’s early, your dad probably won’t be able to get here for another hour or so, so I want you to rest. Alright?”

“My sense of humor might be a little off lately.” He heard the pain in her voice even though he could also tell she was trying to suppress it, and he reached up, wincing a little and putting a hand on her arm. “Thanks. For everything you do.” His voice was almost inaudible. He opened his eye to look at her again. “Me and Scott...and my dad...we’d all be kinda lost without you.”

Melissa had to swallow heavily to clear her throat of the lump that formed there. Moisture tickled the corner of her eyes as she placed her hand over his. “You’re all my boys.” She said softly. Melissa bent down and pressed a kiss against Stiles forehead, “I love you, get some rest.” She said as she stood, her chest tight hating that someone as vibrant, loyal and good as Stiles had to deal with this.

A single tear trickled down his cheek at her words. “Love you too,” he whispered, closing his eye once more as she kissed his forehead. “I’ll try.” He had a feeling sleep actually wasn’t going to be hard because of all the drugs that were flowing through his system at the moment. He just hoped the sleep was devoid of any dreams.


Derek sat in the uncomfortable chair his legs stretched out as far as they could go, his forearms resting on the wooden arms of the chair as he flipped through a magazine. It was just about three in the afternoon and Scott had, had to forcibly remove Lydia from the hospital room telling the poor girl she needed to go home with him for a bit, shower and get herself together.

Derek was pretty sure if looks were lethal the one Lydia gave Scott would have killed him twice over. His lip turned up at the corner as he flipped the page again, the heat of Stiles’ gaze directed at him making his sigh. “Why are we staring?” He asked calmly as he once again flipped a magazine page.

“Because you’ve been reading the same magazine for over an hour.” Stiles shifted in bed a little, wishing he could arch his eyebrows without pain, but he’d tried to do that a couple of times and pain had literally flashed behind his eyes at the effort. Not doing that one again anytime soon. Hopefully. It was kind of instinctive.

Derek’s gaze shifted from the magazine to Stiles. He blinked and then closed the magazine and tossed it aside, wincing when the cover came in to view. Cosmopolitan. It was Lydia’s magazine. He had forgotten a book. “Sorry,” he grumbled as he shifted so he was sitting up in the chair. “How are you feeling? Need a little dose of pain relief?” He inquired.

Stiles couldn’t help but smirk at the cover of the magazine; a short chuckle escaped him and fuck that hurt. He pressed a hand to his ribcage even though he laughed again because the image of Derek Hale reading Cosmopolitan was the single most hilarious thing he’d seen in a long, long time.

He shook his head slightly, not moving it too fast because he didn’t want to make himself dizzy from the concussion he was sporting thanks to the tree he’d slammed into. Or maybe Ethan’s fist. Whichever. “I’m okay.”

Derek’s brows furrowed. “Yes, you look fine.” He commented catching the smile on Stiles’ face. “There was nothing else to read.” He defended himself. “Lydia keeps bringing these stupid 10 ways to drive him crazy crap,” he huffed and shook his head. “This is going to be one of those things we don’t talk about outside of this room.” Derek said pointedly as he leaned forward. “It’s not my fault your girlfriend has terrible taste in magazines.”

Stiles snorted, holding back another laugh. “And uh -- you’re reading that because…? Because if you’re looking, there’s this guy at school named Danny that I’m sure would love to go out with you. Actually you met him once, Miguel.” His own comment made him laugh again and it hurt but he couldn’t stop, a couple tears rolling down his face. “And she’s not my girlfriend, for the record. Just a good friend.” A very good friend.

Derek’s eyes turned to slits. “Ha-ha,” He sighed and rolled his eyes, “I was to what women think drives men crazy.” Apparently he didn’t know women as well as he thought so a little research never hurt. “And while I seem to not have the best taste in women, I don’t think I’m ready to switch teams just yet,” he quipped.

Derek rested his arms against his chest as he watched Stiles and his lip quirked at the corner, a hint of mischief filling his dark gaze. “Does she know that?” He inquired casually.

Stiles rolled his eye at the man’s question, though. “I’m pretty sure she’s aware that we’re platonic friends, yes.” She’d been the one to initially draw that line, after all. And Stiles wasn’t going to press the issue. Especially not now. Probably not ever. He loved Lydia with his whole heart, but he’d accepted long ago that she loved him only as a friend. He was at peace with it.

He contemplated the rest of Derek’s sentence and sent him a thoughtful look. Hell maybe Stiles should be reading the same article. Though he wasn’t sure he trusted any magazines with crap like The Orgasm Whisperer as a headline. That made him laugh too as he caught sight of it. He blew out a breath, trying to calm the laughter so his ribs wouldn’t actually end up puncturing his lung or ripping out of his stomach or something.

“I have a simple solution to that problem,” he informed Derek. “Before you go out with any woman, I’ll meet her and tell you if she’s evil or not.” He smirked a little, knowing he was relatively safe from Derek’s penchant for smacking him because he was injured and in the hospital. Although Derek hadn’t really been violent toward him in awhile. Kind of weird, really.

Derek arched an eyebrow, “You want to meet my dates?” He said amused as he tapped his finger against his knee, “You realize you’re accumulating a lot of physical abuse for when you’re no longer lying in a hospital bed correct?” He asked not giving Stiles a chance to answer before he leaned forward changing the subject once again.

“Hm, that’s interesting about Lydia. I just assumed because there were stars next to some of the ways to drive guys crazy and I figured was for when you got better.” He said with a smirk. “Guess not, too bad.” he said sympathetically as he leaned back keeping his laughter inside. Lydia’s feelings were more than clear though Derek did wonder if she knew how she felt about Stiles.

“Hey I happen to be a great judge of character when it comes to people who are evil,” he informed Derek matter-of-factly. “I called it on Matt and I called it on Jackson, and I called it on that entire stupid alpha pack.” Though there hadn’t really been question that they’d been evil anyway.

At that, he jerked his head over to stare at Derek with wide eyes. “Yeah, well. What’s the date on the magazine?” he questioned, wondering if Lydia had found someone else she was interested in.

Derek leaned back in his seat ignoring his words about evil people. “Ms. McCall gave it to her yesterday, so I’m going to assume it’s recent.” He commented, “And as far as I know Lydia hasn’t been spending her time with anyone outside of us and Scott.” He explained though Stiles had to know that, the girl practically lived at the hospital.

“It’s not for me. She probably know, to keep them in mind for the future.” His chest tightened a little and he looked away from Derek, lifting his hand to his mouth and chewing on his thumbnail. He was quiet for a moment. “How’s Cora?” he asked suddenly.

Derek blinked at the quick change in subject. “She’s good. Actually,” he paused and scratched the back of his neck, “She’s heading back to town for a bit. I had been planning on mentioning it to Scott, but I haven’t gotten the chance yet.” He explained. “I uh, told her what’s been going on and she was worried about you.” He said his tone slightly baffled, not because she was worried, but because he hadn’t realized that Stiles and his sister had gotten close enough while she was in town to warrant her worrying.

Stiles was surprised by the news, too. “She was?” He’d always been under the impression that Cora was just putting up with him. That she tolerated his presence because Scott would have stopped her from killing him instead. He knew he’d gotten on her nerves. But they had spent quite a bit of time together when they’d been thrown together a few times. “It’ll be good to see her again.” And it would be good for Derek to have her around, too.

“In a platonic way,” Derek told him. “It will be good to see her again in a platonic way.” He added as he studied the teenager in front of him. “Is there anything you need to tell me Stiles?” He sniffed the air and arched an eyebrow. He was mostly kidding...unless there was something not to be kidding about.

Stiles blinked in surprise. “Yes, in a platonic way,” he echoed, turning his head to look at Derek, eye open a little wider than before. “ you’re thinking. Jesus, Derek,” he mumbled. The look that Derek gave him wasn’t entirely comforting. “We kind of bonded over stuff as friends,” he emphasized. “Also I kind of had to give her CPR once. Also in a purely platonic way.”

Derek arched an eyebrow, “Mm,” he leaned back in his seat. “You’re not a terrible friend to have.” He said calmly. “Friend.” he repeated pointedly. “Not that I think Cora is interested. I think you might be too nice for my baby sister.” He winced and then shook his head. “She’s got a temper...though I suppose that runs in the family.” He said with sigh.

Stiles snorted at the almost compliment. “Good to know you think so,” he said wryly. Truthfully he didn’t really know how to actually be friends with anyone except for Scott really. And Lydia. That was literally the only two people who’d ever actually considered him a friend. “Ya think? She did once threaten to punch me in the face and to rip out Lydia’s tongue.”

Derek chuckled, that was definitely his sister. “She wasn’t Lydia’s biggest fan,” he commented. “Neither was I.” He admitted with a shrug. “Things change.”

“Yeah, you’re a lot less…” He waved his hand in Derek’s general direction. “Terrifying than you used to be. Which I mean as a compliment so don’t take that the wrong way.”

Derek’s lip twitched, “Well, I like to think I’m still terrifying,” he said with a raised eyebrow, “the terrifying is just directed at the right people now.” He told the teenager. “It was time.” He said quietly.

Stiles was silent for a moment, watching him intently and then nodding. “Good. We’re all on the same side.” He paused. “You know, when one of us isn’t possessed by an evil fox.”

Derek smirked. “Yes, please never do that again. I’m certain I’ve lost at least twenty percent of my hearing because of Lydia and her,” he paused glancing around the room and near the hallway, “Banshee...super screams right next to my ear drums.” He shook his head. “We prefer you minus the fox...just saying.” He said meeting Stiles gaze and giving him half a smile so he’d know he was only kidding.

Stiles managed a faint, barely there smile, nodding. “Got it. No more foxes.” He hoped. He was pretty sure he wouldn’t survive another possession. He was pretty sure he wouldn’t want to. He hadn’t even wanted to survive it this time. He held his breath as he heard quiet, unsure footsteps approaching the door and he knew that the two people he’d been waiting on to arrive finally had. He glanced at Derek, knowing he was going to be surprised. “It’s okay.”

Derek had tensed in his chair and glanced from the door where he heard their footsteps in the hall over to Stiles. He tilted his head to the side, “Did you call them?” How had he missed who Stiles was on the phone with earlier? He hadn’t even realized it.

“Yeah,” he admitted quietly, heart beating a little faster than before. He needed to do this. He had to do this. For Scott, and for Lydia, and for everyone. No matter how much he dreaded what their reactions might be. He’d deal with it.

Derek heard Stiles heartbeat pick up speed and he stood up. Derek watched him for a minute. “You’ll be fine.” He said confidently he stepped forward pausing at the foot of the bed, “You made the right choice,” he said quietly. “It’s going to be hard, but facing them is the first step to healing,” and he wasn’t talking physically. “You can do it.” Derek hesitated, “Also, this is going to sound strange, but try to slow your heartbeat down. If you get too worked up I guarantee you’ll be interrupted before you want to be.” Lydia tended to get nervous when she felt Stiles getting nervous and no doubt she would rush Scott over to the hospital if that happened.

Stiles forced himself to take a deep breath and Derek’s reassurance, which for some reason actually did make him feel a little better. Strange. Things really had changed, apparently. The fact that Derek was reassuring him in the first place and the fact that it worked to a degree. He blinked at his next comment though. “Uh, okay? How exactly do I do that?” Right now he was just trying not to want to throw up. And what did he mean about being interrupted?

Derek could see the confusion on Stiles’ face and he paused, “When I get nervous and don’t give me that look, everyone gets nervous, I think of something that calms me down, something that grounds me.” He explained. “Something that makes you feel calm.” Derek added before pointing to the door. “I’ll be right outside if you need me.” He told Stiles right as he saw Isaac and Allison pause in front of the doorway.

Stiles frowned a little, cocking his head as he watched Derek head for the door. Something that grounded him. His mind immediately flashed to an image of his best friend. Of his dad. Scott’s mom. Lydia. He relaxed a little, looking toward the door. “Hey guys,” he said tentatively. He swallowed hard. “Come in.”

Isaac squeezed Allison’s hand gently and tugged her into the room. He had been surprised when Allison got a call from Stiles asking them to come to the hospital. It had been just over a month since the Nogitsune possessed Stiles and they hadn’t really seen him since he’d been possessed, not other than a glimpse here or there. So having Stiles seek them out was a bit nerve wracking.

Isaac sucked in a breath as they moved into the room. Ethan had done a number on him. “Wow...that looks like it hurts,” he said before Allison elbowed him slightly in the side. He grunted, “Sorry, I mean hi.” He said as he shifted on his feet.

Stiles managed a faint smile at Isaac’s lack of tact. He’d actually found himself kind of missing it. He’d missed both of them. The sting of tears in his eyes surprised him and he blinked rapidly, motioning them to the chairs. “Hi,” he said quietly, shifting in the bed and elevating the top portion of the bed with the button on the railing. He winced a little, but let out a breath, gazing at them.

Allison sat down and Isaac was quick to follow. She shifted forward so she was sitting on the edge of the seat. “I’m really glad you wanted to see us.” She told him with a hesitant smile. “We tried to visit the last time you were here, but Derek said you weren’t up for visitors.” Allison couldn’t believe how fragile Stiles looked.

The last few weeks had been pretty terrible and she’d been driving her dad and Isaac crazy wondering if Scott and Lydia would ever forgive them for what happened. She’d missed them desperately. “How are you feeling?” She asked as Isaac shifted his hand to her back.

“We heard you’re probably going to be getting out in a couple of days,” Isaac said with a crooked smile, “That’s good.”

They were being so...laid back about all of this that it almost hurt. Like nothing had even happened at all. But things had happened. A lot of things. Bad things. He didn’t understand them at all. “I uh -- I was just…” He looked down at his hands, his fingers picking at the blanket that covered his legs. “I wasn’t ready to face you guys,” he admitted, pained expression.

Isaac glanced at Allison and she bit her lower lip. “Stiles...We don’t blame you for what happened,” she said softly resting her hands in her lap. “I’m okay now and we know you would never hurt us.” She said with conviction.

Isaac nodded, “Allison is right and,” he paused, “I’m sorry I tried to kill you.” Allison winced at the way he just came out and said it. “That thing inside of hurt Allison and I couldn’t think straight.” He told him honestly. “All I saw was the girl I cared about bleeding out on the ground...That’s a pretty hard thing to see.” He scratched the back of his neck feeling uncomfortable with the conversation, but Allison squeezed his hand gently letting him know she was there.

“No,” Stiles agreed quietly. He never wanted to hurt either of them. He shifted his attention to Isaac when he spoke, and Stiles shook his head. “Don’t,” he said softly. “You don’t owe me any apologies. I don’t blame you. I don’t blame anyone.” His chest tightened as he looked between them, guilt tugging at him. “That night at your place.” His gaze rested on Allison. “I convinced it to go there.” He hadn’t told anyone that. Not Lydia, not Scott. “Because I was hoping that maybe…” He shut his eyes. “I didn’t want either of you to get hurt but I thought you and your dad were my best chance.”

Allison frowned, “I don’t understand, best chance for-” her words abruptly cut off and her face paled slightly as she glanced at Stiles. Her throat felt unusually dry when she finally spoke. “You wanted us to kill you,” she said quietly, her hand gripping the arm of the chair tightly to keep it from shaking. Now Allison only felt worse.

In the grips of being taken over by the Nogitsune, Stiles convinced it to seek out hunters hoping they’d end his life so he wouldn’t hurt anyone else. Tears prickled at the corner of her eyes and she felt Isaac’s hand at her back. He always knew when she needed the extra support. “I’m sorry you had to go through that...I’m sorry we weren’t strong enough to see how hard you were fighting.” She whispered brushing away a tear before it could fall.

Isaac hated seeing Allison cry. It always broke something inside of him. He rubbed her back. “We really are glad you’re okay.” It was the truth. Isaac didn’t hold a grudge against Stiles, but at the same time he couldn’t get the picture of Stiles pulling Aiden’s heart out of his chest out of his head. It would most likely be embedded there forever.

Stiles dropped his gaze, nodding slightly as she put it together. It was a terrible thing; really, hoping that someone you considered a friend would be willing to kill you. But it was more terrible to run around killing other people. Causing so much damage he could never undo. His chest hurt from the pained look on Allison’s face. “It isn’t your fault, Allison,” he murmured. He wondered if she knew that he’d texted her father when he’d temporarily regained control. By the look on her face now, Stiles assumed not.

“Thanks,” he told Isaac quietly. He wouldn’t ever be rid of the mental image of killing Aidan, either. And the fact that he’d added to Isaac’s already traumatized life made him feel that much worse about everything.

Allison reached out and rested a hand on Stiles arm, “I’m really glad you reached out to us,” she told him, “Things have been so strained between everyone,” she admitted, “And we really wanted to talk to Scott and Lydia, but,” she paused.

“But they haven’t really wanted to talk to us, so we’ve respected that.” Isaac added knowing Allison probably wouldn’t.

Stiles winced a little. “I know they have, and I know that’s...I should have just…” He motioned between them. “I’ll talk to them. It’s gonna be okay. Neither of you is to blame for anything and I know that. They know it too; they just...don’t wanna admit it to themselves.”

Allison smiled softly, “We shouldn’t have gone against the pack...the whole purpose of it is to stick together and protect each other...and then at the first sign of trouble,” her voice trailed off again. She was upset. She felt guilty and really all she wanted to do was talk to Scott and hug Lydia. Allison sighed and shook herself from her thoughts. “Sorry,” she said again even though he’d told her not to apologize. Allison couldn’t help it.

“It wasn’t exactly a normal situation. I was dangerous,” Stiles whispered, not looking at either of them. “I was really dangerous. I almost killed both of you, and I actually did…” He couldn’t bring himself to say the words. Just thinking them still made him feel nauseous. He shut his eyes, visualizing Scott again. Strong, steady Scott who always tried his hardest to do the right thing. Who was always there for him. His heart beat evened out again.

Isaac could see the tension on Allison’s face and he decided it was time for a subject change. “School’s been weird without you...Lydia too.” He commented.

Eventually Stiles looked up at Isaac again. “I think it uh -- might be a bit before I’m back this time. Ms. McCall kind of indicated that I was gonna be here for awhile and I doubt they’ll spring me from here just to send me right back to school.” He chewed his lower lip, uncharacteristically more self-conscious than usual.

Allison nodded, “We can get your assignments for you if you want.” She offered needing to do something to help. “And drop them off, it wouldn’t be a problem, unless you’ve got someone else doing that already,” she said.

“No, that’d be great, actually. I wasn’t even completely caught up on the last round,” he admitted. He was pretty sure that Scott would’ve grabbed all his assignments but he understood they wanted to help. Wanted something to do. “And just saying, if anyone wanted to do my AP calc assignments, I would not be miffed at all,” he joked.

Isaac just shook his head, “If you want a passing grade that leaves me out,” he said as he leaned back in the chair.

Allison hit him gently in the stomach with the back of her hand, “Yeah...You might want Lydia to handle the AP calc,” she said with a smile. “Math’s not exactly my strong suit,” she admitted sheepishly knowing he was only joking, but still.

Stiles grinned a little at Isaac’s comment. “Yeah it’s not really my favorite either.” He shrugged with his good shoulder. He was quiet for a moment. “You guys wanna...hang around for awhile?” he asked uncertainly. “My dad brought a deck of UNO cards.” He held his breath, wanting them to stay so that when Scott and Lydia got back they would see the three of them interacting and hopefully understand that Stiles didn’t have anything against either of them. “We can probably pull Derek in, too.” He glanced toward the door.

“Not gonna happen,” Derek’s voice sounded from outside the door.

Isaac grinned, “He’s like a guard dog,” he glanced over at the door and even though he couldn’t see him he knew Derek was there.

Allison smiled, “We can stay as long as you’re sure you don’t mind. We don’t want to keep you from resting.”

“Don’t be such a Sourwolf,” Stiles called back before turning his focus to Isaac and Allison. “I don’t mind. I slept like, most of the day. And all night last night. They have really effective drugs around this place.” And if he didn’t know better, he’d assume that they were giving him extra thanks to Melissa McCall.

Isaac released Allison’s hand and stood, “I’ll get the cards.” he said a smile in his voice as Derek begrudgingly came back into the room.

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