October 7, 2014

Never Too Late 10/17

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: 10/17
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 | Six | Seven | Eight | Nine |

Chapter 10

He was at the Nemeton. He didn’t know how he’d gotten there. Didn’t remember even leaving his house. He’d been there with Scott and their parents playing video games all afternoon and evening until dinner and then after dinner the game-playing had resumed. He must have sleep walked. But he didn’t even remember falling asleep. He was barefoot in the woods but his feet didn’t hurt.

Oh. I’m dreaming, he thought, not that bothered by the idea. It felt like it had been awhile since Stiles had dreamt about anything at all. He couldn’t remember why. He watched in morbid fascination as thousands of fireflies began to fly up in the air from the cracks in the tree.

That...wasn’t good. Yeah, that wasn’t good at all. He’d seen this before. The Oni were forming. His heart began to beat a little faster against his chest.

Just a dream, he tried to remind himself, but his dream-self had other ideas and took off at a dead run. He crashed through trees and bushes and various other debris that were in his way and by the time he made it out of the woods, there was blood all over him. He looked down at his hands, shaking as he saw the red stains all over them. Frantically, he wiped them on his pajama pants but when he looked again it was still there. A soft whimper escaped him and he tried again to rub them onto his pants, desperate to get rid of the stains. But something bright caught his eye in the distance and he looked up to see Eichen House.

It was burning.

“No,” he whispered. “No, no, no.”

He ran toward the asylum, tears trickling down his face as he heard the screams from inside. Screams of pain. Fear.

Chaos, he heard Nogitsune whisper against his ear.

Stiles wrapped his hands around the metal gates, tugging and trying to open them to no avail. “No. NO!” he screamed.

Yes, it whispered, voice pleased. This was us, Stiiiiles.

Stiles screamed.

Scott was startled awake by the sound of a loud blood curdling scream. He blinked, his sleep addled brain trying to process what was happening as he noticed Stiles thrashing on the ground beside him.

Scott reached out; wide awake now, his hands gripping his best friend’s body as he tried to get him to stop moving. “Stiles, STILES you’re dreaming wake up...WAKE UP!” Scott called loudly as he held his friends thrashing body against his own, the sound of his voice echoing through the entire house.

His hands shot out, gripping tightly onto Scott’s arms as he gasped for breath, eyes flying open, looking around wildly. “Fire,” he whispered, clearly only half-awake. “It’s on fire!”

Fear gripped Scott, his stomach turning, “What’s on fire? Stiles wake up.” He glanced towards Stiles bedroom door, “Mom! Sheriff!” He continued holding onto his friend confused. He thought Stiles’ nightmares were over.

The door to the bedroom flew open and the sheriff ran in going straight to Scott and Stiles, “What happened?” He asked, his chest tightening as he saw Stiles struggling in Scott’s arms. He bent down to the floor where the boys had fallen asleep earlier. He and Melissa had checked on them before bed and they’d been out cold game controllers still in their hands.

“Stiles, son, it’s okay. Calm down, take a deep breath.” He said trying for a soothing voice.

Melissa was right behind the sheriff, eyes wide open and filled with worry. She quickly turned on the light, wincing as she saw what was happening.

It took him a full moment to orient himself to the fact that he was in his own bedroom, on the floor with Scott as his friend held him to keep him from hurting himself. He sucked in air and laid his head back on the floor, squeezing his eyes shut as he shuddered involuntarily. When Scott finally let him go he rubbed a hand over his eyes, wiping away the tears that he’d apparently been crying in his sleep.

Michael swallowed hard and Melissa bent down. Scott shifted back when he saw his mom, his heart beating fast as panic filled his chest, but he was pretty sure it wasn’t his own. Scott’s hands clenched at his sides, heartbeat thumping loudly as he tried to regulate his breathing.

Melissa cupped Stiles cheeks and brushed the tears away. “You’re okay honey, we’re here. Everything’s fine. Take a deep breath for me sweetheart and let it out slowly.” Her words were soft, calm and soothing.

Michael and Scott watched Melissa as she tried to calm Stiles down.

“I’m sorry,” he whispered, not making any effort to get off the floor. He didn’t pull away from Melissa’s touch even as guilt took the place of the panic he’d been feeling. His chest felt so tight with it that he wondered how hard it would be to just reach inside his own chest and yank his heart out. Like he’d done to Aidan. At least three people that he knew of for sure were dead because of him. Probably more. He didn’t know how many people had been killed in the explosion at the sheriff’s station.

He’d nearly killed Isaac and Allison. Nearly killed Scott and his dad. It was all playing in an endless loop in his mind.

Melissa frowned, “Honey it’s okay, you don’t need to be sorry.” She wasn’t sure what he was apologizing for, but she had an idea and it made her heart clench.

Michael pressed a hand to Melissa’s back, “Let’s get him in bed,” he said softly. He had wondered if his son’s nightmares would reappear once he was home and no longer medicated. He had hoped they wouldn’t, but apparently they couldn’t get that lucky.

Scott watched them, pain filling his chest as they helped Stiles up. He shifted getting to his feet and standing on shaky legs. He could see how pale Stiles was and he could feel how torn up he was inside. These were probably the strongest emotions he’d felt from his best friend since this whole thing happened.

Scott could feel something else stirring inside of him and he swallowed hard. “We need Lydia,” he said quietly. The only time Scott saw Stiles sleep peacefully was when she was with them.

Stiles sank down onto the edge of the bed, body trembling involuntarily as he rested his elbows on his knees, burying his face in his hands as he struggled to pull himself together. He rubbed his eyes willing his emotions to just shut down. He used to be good at that. Right now it wasn’t so easy.

“Call her,” Melissa agreed quietly, sitting down on one side of Stiles and rubbing his back gently and looking at Michael with worried eyes. “Stiles, sweetheart. Do you want to talk about it?”

He shook his head wordlessly.

Scott watched Stiles and he took a deep breath glancing around trying to figure out where he put his cell phone. He could still feel the swirl of emotions coming from Stiles. He heard his mom and Stiles’ dad talking softly to his best friend, but it was hard to focus over the unrelenting waves of guilt filling him.

He spotted his phone on the floor near one of the bean bag chairs and he reached for it, hands shaking slightly as he scrolled through to find Lydia’s number.

Lydia shifted in her sleep her brows creasing as her heartbeat picked up speed. She’d been sleeping peacefully up until a few minutes ago and then something happened. Her chest was tight and she shifted a soft noise falling from her lips as an image of Stiles covered in blood filled her head. No, Stiles was okay now. This was wrong, Stiles was back, there was no more Nogitsune. But then she saw his face and realized it wasn’t the Nogitsune at all...It was Stiles and he was shaking and then panic filled her chest. Her body thrashed against the blankets and seconds later she jerked against the couch screaming Stiles’ name, her body worked up as if she herself was having a panic attack.

Derek jerked from where he lay in his bedroom, wide awake. Christ. What now? he wondered, quickly moving to the main room where Lydia had fallen asleep on the couch. He’d thought about moving her but he hadn’t wanted to risk waking her up. Instead, he’d covered her up with blankets, which she was now literally thrashing around in, screaming Stiles’ name. “Lydia,” he said loudly, quickly moving to her side and wincing at how fast her heart was beating. Prada was cowering a few feet away, whining pitifully. “Lydia, wake up.”

Her eyes flew open and she pressed a hand to her chest trying to suck in air as a rush of emotions filled her, guilt being the most prominent of them all. Her nails dug into the arm of the couch, confusion filling her face when she couldn’t pinpoint where she was right away. “Can’t breathe,” she gasped when her gaze finally landed on Derek the sound of her phone ringing in the background catching her ear.

“Hey.” His voice was calm and he reached out, carefully taking her by the arms. “Look at me. Just focus on the sound of my voice, Lydia. You’re okay. Everything’s okay.” At least he hoped. If he had to guess, Stiles had just woken up from some kind of really bad nightmare and she’d felt it.

Lydia closed her eyes, not even feeling the tears that had slipped down her cheeks as she took several deep breaths. It still felt like there was a heavy pressure sitting on her chest. “Stiles, it’s Stiles,” she breathed, “He needs me,” she said her heart still beating way too fast in her chest as her phone went off once again.

Derek drew in a breath, reaching out and picking up her phone, handing it to her wordlessly, troubled expression on his face.

Lydia pushed the button with shaky hands and brought it to her ear, “Hello?” her voice was strained when she spoke. “Lydia?” Scott’s voice was strained when he spoke, too. “Sorry to -- Stiles is…” He forced himself to take a deep breath. “He had a really bad nightmare and he’s not...doing very well. Do you think --”

“I know,” Lydia swallowed hard realizing that Scott could feel it too, “I’m coming. I’ll be there soon…”

Scott ran a hand through his hair, “Okay.” She sounded just as bad as he did which meant she must have somehow known about Stiles’ nightmare. “I’ll see you soon.”

Lydia nodded, “Okay,” she repeated before hanging up. She took another deep breath and glanced up at Derek. “Sorry,” she dropped her feet to the ground, “Can you,” she paused, “Can you take me to Stiles, please?” She asked her voice wavering slightly.

“You got it,” Derek said quietly, rising to his feet and holding his hand out to help her up. “Don’t forget Prada.”

Lydia took his hand and stood on shaky legs as she glanced toward Prada who was hunched down near the leg of the couch. She nodded, bent over to grab her and lifted her into her arms before taking the bag with her books in it and pulling it over her shoulder. She swallowed hard, her heartbeat finally calming down a little, but still thudding faster than normal. “Ready,” she said quietly. Lydia reached out and placed her hand against Derek’s arm briefly. “Thank you.” she whispered.

“You’re welcome.” His voice was still quiet as he led her out of his loft and down the steps, out the door to his car. He couldn’t help but wonder if this nightmare was ever going to end.


Scott paced the hallway glancing out of the window in the front of the Stilinski house every couple of minutes. His mom and the sheriff had managed to calm Stiles down enough to drink some water, but he still wasn’t okay, far from it. He ran a hand through his hair and sighed glancing down at his phone getting ready to call Lydia again when he heard the sound of a car in front of the house. He moved to the door and pulled it open watching as Derek’s car came to a stop in front of Stiles’ house. Scott’s brows drew together briefly wondering what they were doing together, but the thought passed almost as quickly as it had come when he saw Lydia carrying Prada and moving to the house. Scott acknowledged Derek with a nod and a wave as he reached out for Lydia.

“Where is he?” She asked softly as she heard Derek drive away and closed the door behind her.

Scott rubbed a hand over his face. “He’s upstairs in his room. It’s bad, Lydia. I don’t know -- he woke up screaming about --” He paused, jaw tightening as he realized exactly what had caused this particular nightmare. “Son of a…”

Lydia frowned when she saw Scott tense and she dropped her bag on the floor and held Prada closer to her as she motioned to the steps and starting walking towards them as she spoke. “What’s wrong? What did you just realize?” She asked while making her way up the steps.

“What caused his nightmare,” he said tensely, digging his nails into the palms of his hands. He followed her up the stairs, forcing himself to take a deep breath to try and calm his aggravation.

“Well? What is it?” She asked glancing over her shoulder at Scott as she stepped off the last stair and walked towards Stiles room, the glow from the light illuminating the hallway. “You okay?” She asked Scott noticing the tension in his body.

“It’s my gene donor,” he said flatly. “He’s what caused this one. He came by the hospital before we took Stiles home.” He rubbed his forehead, knowing he needed to come up with a plan to keep his dad far away from his best friend. As far away as possible.

Lydia frowned at his words. She wasn’t sure she understood, but she figured they’d give her the whole story when it wasn’t the middle of the night. Lydia nodded, reached out and squeezed Scott’s arm before stepping forward a few feet and walking into Stiles room. She hesitated when she spotted Melissa and the sheriff.

The sheriff glanced over at the sound footsteps and a hint of relief filled him when he spotted Lydia. He stood, “Thank you for coming,” he said with half a smile that was more of a grimace.

Lydia nodded, “Of course...I was actually about to head over when Scott was calling,” she explained her gaze falling on Stiles. Lydia’s chest tightened as she walked toward the bed, setting Prada down on the covers. “Hey,” she said softly addressing Stiles as Prada walked over and sniffed his leg.

Scott walked into the room behind her and stepped over to his mom squeezing her arm gently as he did his best to hold in his anger.

Stiles had barely moved in the past twenty minutes. He was just hunched over, looking a million miles away. He felt a million miles away. He just kept seeing his hands lighting the match that burned the asylum down. His hands that had caused the deaths of multiple people, even if he hadn’t been in control at the time. It was still on his conscience.

Melissa leaned over, pressing a kiss to Stiles’ temple gently and meeting Michael’s gaze, nodding ever-so-slightly toward the door. She rose to her feet, squeezing Scott’s shoulder as she moved past him, giving him and Lydia time with Stiles and hoping maybe they could break through this setback together.

Lydia watched them go and then turned back to Stiles worry filling her when he didn’t answer. Scott frowned too as he walked around the bed to the other side. Lydia slipped off her heels and climbed onto the bed resting on her knees as she reached out to Stiles sliding her hand down his arm. “Stiles,” she whispered as she moved closer to him.

Scott sat on the bed on the other side of Stiles watching to see if his friend would respond to Lydia any better than he’d responded to them.

“I’m trying,” Stiles whispered, not looking at either of them, his voice pained. “It’s just not working right now.” He scrubbed his hands over his face, letting out a shuddering breath.

Lydia nodded and glanced at Scott. “Come over here,” she said softly before glancing back at Stiles and resting her palm flat against his chest. “Lie down,” she said quietly as she pressed him back until he was against the pillows.

Scott shifted closer resting a hand on his friends arm as he lay beside him too. Lydia lay down on the other side of Stiles pressing herself against him as she gripped one of his arms and tugged it over her body. “It’s going to be okay.” She told him softly. “We’re here and we’re not going anywhere. Take a deep breath Stiles, hold me.” She whispered as Scott squeezed Stiles’ shoulder leaning against the back of his friend.

If he wasn’t so screwed up in the head, he’d probably laugh at how ridiculous he looked, curled up between the two of them like he was a kid that needed to be protected. But maybe that wasn’t so far off the mark anymore. He curled his arm around Lydia tiredly, resting his forehead against hers and exhaling slowly as he felt Scott’s hand on his shoulder. “You guys are better than anti-anxiety medication,” he joked.

Lydia smiled and Scott chuckled glad to hear his friend forming coherent sentences again. He finally relaxed beside his best friend. “We try,” Scott said, his voice tired, but happy. He was finally starting to feel like himself again now that Stiles was calmer, which in turn made Lydia calmer. If she felt things that strongly all the time he had no idea how she dealt with it because he was exhausted.

Lydia placed her hand over his. “Best prescription ever.” She said as Prada sniffed around and found her way over between Stiles and Lydia, curling up into a small ball and plopping down on the bed. Lydia brushed a thumb over Stiles’ chest as she leaned into him, “You’re okay for now.” Lydia told him.

Scott nodded, “She’s right, you should get some sleep,” he said worriedly.

Stiles forced himself to take a deep breath, nodding and letting his eyes drift shut. “You guys, too,” he murmured sleepily. “I‘m sorry.” Within moments his breathing had evened out once more as he drifted into sleep.


Melissa wasn’t surprised when she wandered downstairs at the Stilinski household at 3 AM to find that Michael was already sitting at the kitchen table in the dark. She hadn’t gone back to sleep after Stiles’ nightmare, either. “I haven’t seen him have one like that since…” After Claudia Stilinski had died. Her voice was quiet as she stood in the darkness for a long moment before moving to sit down beside him at the table.

Michael nodded, staring at the glass of Jack Daniels in front of him. Melissa didn’t have to say the words, he knew what she meant. “Neither have I.” He admitted despite the nightmares that had preceded his possession, none had left him in such a catatonic state. Michael’s grip on the glass tightened, his knuckles going white. Silence surrounded them, the light ticking of the clock the only sound that filled the room.

“I’m terrified that he’s not going to be able to get past this. That we’re not going to be enough to pull him back from all the darkness that this...thing drowned him in.” His voice quaked as he sat slumped in his chair. Michael had never been the perfect father, but he’d always been there when Stiles needed him, even sometimes when he preferred he wasn’t there and yet now, when Stiles needed him the most he was at a loss of what to do.

Melissa was silent for a long moment, watching him in the darkness before reaching out and resting her hand on top of his wordlessly. She shifted in her chair. “It isn’t going to be easy.” None of what had been happening had been. “But Stiles...he’s a strong kid. He always has been.” He sort of had to be, losing his mom at such a young age, even before she’d actually died. She just thanked God that Stiles wasn’t facing the same fate himself now.

“And you’re a good father, Michael.” Her voice was hushed. “We will get him through this.” And she believed that, because there weren’t any other options. What had happened to him wasn’t his fault. He hadn’t been himself, hadn’t been in control. Because Stiles, for as much trouble as he’d tended to find over the years, was a genuinely good kid. He had a good heart. She’d seen it time and again with his loyalty and unwavering support for Scott throughout the years. She wouldn’t let this darkness consume her other son. She just wouldn’t.

Michael placed his hand over hers, squeezing it gently as his eyes slid shut. He was exhausted and this whole thing wasn’t even happening to him. He couldn't imagine what Stiles was going through. He was silent, letting her words sink in. Melissa’s reassurance had been exactly what he needed. “I honestly don’t know what I would do without you,” his voice was quiet.

“You have to be right, because I don’t think I’d survive losing Stiles.” Michael knew that the Nogitsune was gone, but he was afraid his son was going to wind up losing his mind because of everything that happened.

“And I honestly feel the same.” Melissa squeezed his hand in return. She reached up with her other hand and rubbed his shoulder the way she’d done to Stiles earlier that night. “I’m right,” she informed him firmly.

“Should we see if they can give us something to help him sleep?” Michael whispered the words not liking the idea of keeping Stiles on a rotating cocktail of drugs, but also not wanting his son to suffer through nightmares constantly.

“Honestly, I’ve considered that. But I think if we go that route, we’ll need to use it sparingly as possible. It’ll be better for him in the long run if he can start working through things without the aid of narcotics.” She was quiet for a moment. “And I’m afraid to say it, but I think my ex had a lot to do with this round of nightmares.” She sighed softly, pulling her hands away and resting her chin on them as she looked out the window.

Michael hadn’t wanted to say anything because he didn’t want to hurt Melissa, but he thought so too. He released the glass he’d been holding and straightened up enough to reach over and rub his hand over Melissa’s back. “I think you might be right,” he muttered and then sighed. “After all this time...why come back now?” Michael shook his head before peering over at Melissa. “Do you know why?” He inquired, his hand moving in slow circles against her skin.

She sighed softly, relaxing against his touch. She had some theories, none of which she liked. “He swears up and down he just wants to reconcile with Scott, but it feels like there’s a lot more to it than that.” She just hoped he wasn’t getting any ideas that they were going to end up a big happy family again, because it just wasn’t going to happen. She’d long since moved on with her life and she had no interest in backtracking.

Michael hesitated before asking his next question. “Has he dropped any hints about the two of you getting back together?” He inquired, not wanting to pry, but needing to know. Putting aside the fact that he wasn’t sure he could help Stiles without her there was a reason Melissa and Rafael hadn’t worked out, a reason that she didn’t know. But if she was considering giving him a second chance it was a reason Michael knew he’d have to share with her and he wasn’t sure how she’d take it after all these years.

“He can drop all the hints that he’d like. At the end of the day, it’s never going to happen,” Melissa said honestly, looking at him. “The only good thing that ever came out of my marriage to Rafael was Scott.” Her voice was quiet. Her marriage hadn’t been like his with Claudia. She’d seen them together, seen how much they loved one another. Had watched helplessly as Claudia’s health had declined in a much quicker period of time than any of them had initially anticipated. She’d seen how it had affected him, how it had affected Stiles.

Michael nodded, “Good,” he responded, “You deserve better than he ever gave you.” There was an underlying hint of hardness in his voice as he spoke. “We’re not going to let him come back in town and just take over everything. No one at the station trusts him.” He commented. “We’ll figure out what to do about his line of questioning when I see what kind of evidence he has.”

Michael ran a hand over his face not even sure he was really talking about this. His son was a suspect and despite the fact that it wasn’t him at the time, his body was still present committing crimes. How did they get around that? Michael honestly didn’t know, but he knew they had to. He wouldn’t let his son get put behind bars for something he had no control over.

Melissa cocked her head slightly, watching him in the darkness, curious about his tone. She knew that Michael and Rafael had never liked one another. That Stiles hadn’t liked Scott’s father, either, and none of that had ever surprised her. The Stilinski’s were protective. She wished she’d known Claudia better, before she’d gotten sick. But between her job, taking care of Scott and his asthma, and trying to hold her own marriage together, there hadn’t been enough time to really form a lasting bond with Michael’s deceased wife.

“Do you think he really has anything?” she asked, voice hushed. She really hoped not. She couldn’t fathom Stiles standing trial for the litany of charges that would inevitably be filed if Rafael did have actual evidence of some kind. She couldn’t fathom Stiles in some kind of detention center. The thought made her feel physically ill. He’d never survive a place like that for long.

“It’s hard to tell.” Michael admitted honestly, “Stiles was all over when he was possessed. It’s possible people saw him and it’s possible he left physical evidence somewhere, but I think if Rafael really had something he would have taken Stiles away from the hospital.” He told Melissa; at least he hoped that was the case. “I’ll look into things in the morning. I’ve got to go in at around nine.”

Melissa considered that for a moment, looking troubled. “Well. I have the day off, so I’ll stay here with Stiles while you do what you need to do. And if there’s some way that I can help, I hope it goes without saying that I’ll do it.”

Michael studied Melissa for a minute before nodding. He leaned in and pressed a kiss to the side of her head. “Thank you. I don’t worry nearly as much when I know you’re with him. And with Scott and Lydia here I’m sure he’ll be okay or as okay as he can be.” Michael was still baffled by how quickly Stiles had calmed down last night after Lydia got there. Between her and Scott, Stiles had been asleep in minutes and he hadn’t woken up since, because Michael had been listening.

Melissa had been listening too, because that was what parents did. It was what mothers did. And she may not have given birth to Stiles, but he was still her son regardless. The same way that Scott was Michael’s son. She nodded in agreement. “We’ll be okay. All of us. We’ll all get through this. One step at a time.” Because there simply wasn’t another way to get through something like this.

Melissa nodded, “Come on, the kids are resting...we should try to get some rest too.”

Michael pushed his chair back leaving his half full glass of Jack Daniels on the table and holding a hand out to Melissa, offering her some comfort that Michael realized he needed too.

She took his hand wordlessly, squeezing it as she followed him out of the kitchen. They could deal with the rest later.


Stiles wasn’t sure at what point Scott had left to go meet Kira that morning, but it was before he’d ever woken up. He’d felt his friend’s absence even if it hadn’t been on a conscious level. But Lydia had still been there and while his dreams had shifted to darker themes, they hadn’t become full blown nightmares at least. He waited until Lydia had gone to shower and get ready for the day ahead before slowly making his way down the stairs, wondering where his dad was.

His eyes were sleepy, hair uncombed as he rubbed his face with one hand and made his way into the kitchen. He’d barely reached the bottom of the stairs when he smelled what he was pretty sure were pancakes. His dad wasn’t a cook by any means. Which meant Melissa McCall was there, fixing breakfast. It really should’ve been the other way around, considering everything she’d been doing for him and for his dad.

“Mo -- Ms. McCall?”

Melissa was in the process of turning one of the pancakes over in the pan when she heard Stiles call out to her. Her chest tightened at the almost slip, it was the third time he’d done it, not that she was keeping track, but it was a rare occurrence. She knew Stiles sometimes got self-conscious about things like that so she didn’t mention it. “I’m in the kitchen sweetie,” she called as she added another pancake to the serving plate that was already full.

Melissa had made some egg whites and turkey bacon for Michael before he left for the station since she hadn’t slept very long. Melissa turned off the stove, put the spatula down and then grabbed the plate of pancakes and brought it to the table where there was already butter, syrup and juice out. “How are you feeling?” She asked when she glanced up and spotted Stiles in the doorway.

His chest felt tight in a different way than it had been lately. Not with guilt or anger or sadness, but with warmth. He looked at her through sleepy eyes as she stood at the stove and then carried the plate over to the table. He rubbed the back of his neck uncertainly, chewing his lower lip. The food smelled really good, but he wasn’t hungry. Not really.

“Okay,” he answered, watching her for a moment before moving to sit down in his usual spot at the table. “Scott went to meet with Kira, right?”

Melissa nodded as she walked over to Stiles, “He did,” she confirmed as she brushed his hair out of his eyes and rested her hand on his cheek. “Were you able to get any sleep last night?” she inquired worriedly as she studied his face.

Stiles closed his eyes, leaning into her touch and nodding. “Yeah once Lydia and Scott were both here.” His shoulders slumped a little.

Melissa wrapped her arms around him, rubbing her hand up and down his back. “That’s something at least.” She stated standing there silently with him for a couple of minutes. “Do you want to talk about what happened last night?” She asked her tone soft, soothing as she spoke.

Stiles laid his head against her shoulder as he hugged her back, swallowing hard at her question. “Just...an attack of guilt-induced nightmares basically.” His voice was barely audible.

Melissa swallowed hard and held him tighter. “Sweetie, I can’t imagine how hard this is for you. Having something inside of you do terrible things,” she paused a lump forming in her throat, but she took a deep breath and talked through it. “Using you the way this thing did, it’s terrible. But I need you to know that we all love you and no one blames you.”

Melissa shifted back so she could grip his chin gently and catch his gaze. “I understand it’s not as easy for you to brush aside, but we want you to know you can talk to us about anything. Your dad and I are here. And we’ll listen to anything you need to get off your chest. There isn’t anything you can say that will make any of us love you any less.”

Stiles held his breath as she spoke quiet reassurances before pulling away to look at him. His eyes burned, and he wondered if he was ever going to just...run out of tears to shed. It felt like all he was doing anymore was crying or causing trouble. He managed a short nod, wiping at his eyes with the back of his hand. “Thanks,” he whispered thickly. “If I could get through a day without having some kind of...breakdown that’d be a nice change.”

Melissa reached out placing a palm on his cheek and brushing a tear away. “You’ll get there,” she told him confidently. “It takes time and while it seems like it’s been a while, a month isn’t really that long sweetie, especially not for something like this.” Melissa wrapped an arm around him, “What do you say we have some breakfast?”

Stiles drew in a breath and let it out slowly, letting her guide him to the table and chewing on his thumbnail as he stared blankly at the plate of food for a long moment before forcing himself to pick up his fork and take a bite. “Thanks,” he said quietly. “I think...having you here helps my dad a lot. It helps me, too.”

Melissa sat beside him watching him for a minute before turning her attention to her food figuring he probably wouldn’t want her sitting there and observing him like some kind of ticking time bomb. “You’re welcome,” Melissa said with a smile pausing at his next words and reaching out a hand resting it on his arm. “I’m glad I can help,” she said sincerely. It was all she wanted to do. Michael and Stiles were good people and she hated that they were going through this.

Melissa gave Stiles’ arm a gentle pat before pulling her hands back and starting to eat her breakfast, her gaze drifting to the hallway when she heard the sound of someone coming down the stairs.

Lydia ran a hand through her wet hair and fixed her blouse not bothering to tuck it into her skirt. She wore the same clothes as yesterday because she hadn’t expected to fall asleep at Derek’s so she didn’t bring clothes and she didn’t have anything at Stiles’ house either, but it wasn’t too big of a deal. Prada followed her down the stairs, her bare feet hitting the floor as she stepped off the last stair.

Lydia shifted her arm and winced slightly her gaze falling on the large bruise that must have formed in her sleep. She sighed, so much for being discreet. It didn’t matter though, she was anxious to see Stiles, he hadn’t been in bed when she got out of the shower and she wanted to check on him.

Lydia stepped through the kitchen doorway and spotted Ms. McCall and Stiles at the table. Some of the tension in her chest dissipated. “Morning,” she said softly as she walked over to the table Prada hopping after her.

Stiles looked over when Lydia walked in, offering her a small smile. It was strange to see her in the same clothes two days in a row, and with wet hair. And walking into his kitchen first thing in the morning. “Morning,” he said just as quietly, glancing down at the little dog trailing her.

She hesitated before pulling out a chair and sitting down beside Stiles. Lydia glanced at Ms. McCall and smiled, “Morning,” she said keeping her tone light. She’d spent the night with Stiles before, but for some reason that morning felt different. Most likely because she’d never showered at his place before, but she’d felt sweaty and like she needed to be clean.

Melissa smiled, “Morning Lydia, did you sleep alright?” She asked as she passed the plate of pancakes towards her.

Lydia nodded, “Yeah, the second time around.” She told Scott’s mom with half a smile. She still couldn’t get over how attentive Ms. McCall and the sheriff always were. It was different than what she was used to, but nice. Lydia glanced at the pancakes and it suddenly occurred to her she was starving, despite the fact that her stomach felt unsettled. She lifted her arm and reached over to grab a pancake from the plate. “Thanks.”

Stiles watched her, gaze focusing in on the bruise she was sporting on her arm almost instantly when she reached for the plate of pancakes. He stared at her with wide eyes, immediately wondering if he’d somehow done it, maybe in his sleep. “What happened?”

Lydia’s gaze went to the bruise and then to Stiles her heartbeat picking up speed. “I,” she paused, not wanting to lie to him, but she also didn’t think telling him about Peter right now was a good idea “It was just an accident.” She responded, “It barely hurts.” She put the pancake on her plate and then reached out resting a hand on his arm, “How are you feeling?” She asked changing the subject. He still looked tired, but she wasn’t getting any overwhelming emotions from him like last night.

Stiles not only saw the lie flicker over her face, he felt her decision not to tell him what had happened. Or maybe he was just imagining it. Maybe it was just all in his head. He’d always had an overactive imagination. The problem was sometimes he still wasn’t entirely convinced of what was real and what wasn’t and he wondered if it was always going to be like that now. Always doubting himself. His own instincts.

“I’m okay,” he said quietly, gaze flickering over to Melissa and trying to see if she’d noticed anything off with Lydia.

Melissa pursed her lips noticing the Stiles eyes on her. “Lydia sweetie, it seems like a big bruise for an accident.” She told the teenager her voice void of judgment.

Lydia glanced between them and sighed. She couldn’t sit there and lie to both of their faces it made her feel guilty, which would only add to the headache she already had. Lydia angled her body in Stiles direction and pushed some hair behind her ear. “Don’t get mad,” she said softly, “But I went to go see Peter yesterday.” She told him her hand gripping the fabric of her skirt as she watched him, noticing Ms. McCall’s look out of the corner of her eye.

Stiles sat back in his chair, eyes widening. “Peter Hale did -- Jesus Christ, Lydia!” His outburst of anger surprised all of them.

Lydia winced, she hadn’t heard Stiles raise his voice in a long time and she wasn’t sure if that was a good thing or a bad thing. Her stomach clenched and she bit her lower lip. “Derek took me. He got Peter away from me before anything bad happened. It’s just a bruise I’m fine, I promise. And I found out a little more about how to try and control what’s happening with me. I just wanted to help,” Lydia explained.

Stiles’ face paled instantly when she winced and he shut his eyes for a moment, forcing himself to take a deep breath. He set his fork down slowly because he was half afraid that he was going to end up hurting someone. He could practically hear the Nogitsune’s mocking voice in his head still. “No, I...I shouldn’t have --” He swallowed hard. “What did you find out?”

Melissa frowned and she reached out to him the same time Lydia did. But she said nothing for the moment, her chest tightening at the pain on his face.

Lydia shifted closer to him resting a hand on his leg. “You have nothing to apologize for. I shouldn’t have lied to you, I’m sorry. I just don’t like making you worry on top of everything else.” Lydia squeezed his leg gently needing to reassure him when she felt an odd mix of emotions coming from him, one’s she couldn’t quite distinguish.

“But there’s been a lot going on and I hate that I can’t help...that I didn’t help then,” she whispered, “I found out a lot about what I need to do and I found out some stuff about you too.” Lydia told him softly.

Stiles’ natural inclination was to reach down and cover Lydia’s hand with his own, but he didn’t dare. Not right then. “Lydia.” He shut his eyes again, shaking his head. “You literally saved my life. How can you say you didn’t help?” He rubbed a hand over his forehead, thinking about what she said. “Wait, what? What do you mean?”

Lydia pressed her lips together and glanced between Stiles and Ms. McCall. “I’m not going to school today. I look like a drowned rat, I don’t have my make-up with me and my car is at home.” She explained. “Eat, relax and then I’ll tell you everything. No secrets,” Lydia said as she rubbed her hand over his leg.

Melissa watched them for a minute before her gaze shifted to Stiles taking in the tension in his body and wondering what had caused it.

The problem was the very little appetite that he’d had moments before had completely vanished the minute he’d snapped at her. But he knew he had to eat because he didn’t want to waste Melissa McCall’s hard work or make her feel bad or worry about him even more than she already was. So he simply nodded at Lydia’s words, focusing on stuffing his mouth full of food.

Lydia glanced worriedly over at Ms. McCall. She could already feel the stirrings of his emotions starting to invade her. He was obviously upset about something, but she had no idea what it was. All Lydia did know was she’d managed to upset Stiles and she’d barely been awake for two hours. Lydia lifted her fork and poked gently at her pancakes, suddenly not very hungry at all.

After a few minutes he’d managed to finish off the two pancakes he’d taken out. Once upon a time he could’ve easily gone through a stack of six. Hell, Scott could eat a stack of eight and still be hungry. Then again Scott had werewolf metabolism. And he hadn’t recently been possessed by a Nogitsune. Apparently both of those things made some kind of difference. He waited until they had both finished their food before rising to his feet and carrying all the dirty plates to the sink.

Melissa got up and walked over to Stiles squeezing his shoulder gently. “I’m going to go shower and change, but if you need anything, either of you,” she glanced at Lydia, “Just let me know.” She pressed a kiss to the side of Stiles head and started walking towards the hallway.

“Thanks,” he murmured, watching her go before looking down at the sink and filling it up with hot, soapy water, watching as the water filled the small area slowly. He chewed his lower lip as he stared down at it, watching the steam rise up. “I’m sorry.” His voice was quiet and he wasn’t sure she could even hear him over the sound of the water running.

Lydia frowned, not sure why Stiles was apologizing to her. She pushed her chair back and got up making her way slowly over to the sink. She ran her hands down the back of his arms before carefully gripping his waist and resting her cheek against the side of his arm. “For what?” she asked genuinely confused, the urge to hug him, show him that he wasn’t alone overwhelming. Lydia felt like he needed a reminder.

Stiles closed his eyes when she rested her head against him. “For yelling at you,” he said softly. He could count on two fingers the amount of times he’d yelled at Lydia Martin the entire time he’d known her. Once he’d been trying to get her to run when Peter Hale was about to attack. The second time he’d just been so exasperated he couldn’t help it.

Lydia shook her head, “That’s what you’re upset about?” She asked shaking her head. “Stiles, you were worried. I could feel that. How often have I snapped at you?” She asked knowing it had to be a lot. “Will you turn around and look at me?” She asked keeping her voice soft as she shifted back enough to give him room to move.

“It’s not the same, Lydia.” He turned to face her, but couldn’t meet her eyes. “And it wasn’t just worry. I was angry. And I can’t --” He shook his head, falling silent once more as he exhaled.

Lydia gripped his cheeks urging him to look up at her. “Angry because I went to Peter, because you hate that I risked going there, because you were worried. The anger came from a good place.” She told him quietly. “Tell me what you’re afraid of...I can feel it, but I don’t understand, help me, please.”

“It doesn’t matter, Lydia. I can’t even --” He forced himself to take another deep breath, squeezing his eyes shut. “I can’t tell the difference anymore, okay? Good anger, bad anger, it all just feels…terrifying.”

Lydia pursed her lips, “It matters to me.” She said softly not sure how to help him, how to make him see what he was feeling was his own fear. That he wasn’t a bad person because Lydia had a feeling that was part of what he was struggling with. “You don’t terrify me even if it terrifies you. I wish I could fix this and I know it’s not that simple. But I’m here, Scott’s here, your dad and Ms. McCall, we’re all here and we’re all worried for you.”

“I mean it doesn’t matter if it’s good anger or bad anger. It all feels bad, okay? All of it.” He was shaking again. Not hard, but enough that it was noticeable. “And I know you’re all here for me, and it means a lot. I just -- I can’t just have random outbursts of anger. It’s not safe.” He swallowed heavily and turned back to the sink, scrubbing at the dishes.

Lydia swallowed hard. “We’re not afraid of you Stiles.” She wasn’t going to let him think that he was some kind of terrible person or that he was dangerous. Lydia could see him shaking and she shook her head. She reached forward and shut off the water before stepping between him and the sink, his hands were wet and he didn’t seem to really want her comfort at the moment, but Lydia didn’t care.

She pressed her back against the sink and looked up at him. “You’re not dangerous, not to us. I trust you completely, so does Scott.” Lydia lifted her hand again cupping his cheek wanting to show him she meant what she was saying, “I’m not afraid of you.” Lydia leaned up and wrapped her arms around him, hugging him tightly.

“Maybe you should be,” he murmured, looking more tired now. “You probably should. Look how easy it was for that -- thing to take over, Lydia. How long it was before I even realized what was happening.” He looked down at her for a brief moment, pain flickering through his eyes. “You don’t know the things that it was planning. The things it still wanted to do.” The things it would have done if Lydia and Kira and the others hadn’t stopped it when they had. He hugged her back, but not as tightly as she hugged him.

Lydia closed her eyes, wishing she could help rid him of the turmoil wreaking havoc inside of his head. “I don’t care.” She said quietly, not releasing him just yet. “There isn’t a time that I feel safer than when I’m with you. I refuse to believe you're dangerous.” She told him matter-of-factly. “The Nogitsune is gone and it’s never coming back…ever. You’re safe now despite what you think everything is going to be okay.” It had to be.

Stiles shut his eyes, resting his chin on top of her head. He wasn’t sure why she felt safe with him, especially now. There were a lot of things he didn’t really understand anymore. Maybe he never had. Maybe he never would

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