October 1, 2014

Never Too Late 9/17

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: 9/17
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 |

Chapter Nine

Stiles was sitting on the edge of what was soon to not be his hospital bed anymore, and he was pretty damn happy about that. One foot was bouncing on the floor, excess energy that he had from multiple nights of actual quality sleep. His dad and Scott’s mom had gone down to the nurse’s station to finish going over all his discharge instructions and sign all the paperwork. He knew that usually took awhile, but he’d gotten up and changed into the clothes his dad had brought him -- just a pair of sweatpants and a t-shirt, but still better than a hospital gown by a long shot.

The bruises and swelling in his face had begun to fade, though it was still pretty obvious to any casual observer that he’d gotten his ass royally kicked. The other bruises and injuries -- those were going to take longer. They’d told him not to expect to play lacrosse for the rest of the season, which was disappointing but not surprising. Apparently trying to play a contact sport with broken ribs was potentially really bad and considering it hurt anytime he moved the wrong way even without someone tackling him, he wasn’t going to try and argue that.

There were other ways he had to keep busy anyway. He was still behind on homework, though he’d written two of the papers he’d had to do when Scott had brought him his laptop, and written and sold one college paper online -- $100 for a four page paper on the evolution of sign language over the years wasn’t anything to turn his nose up at, that was for sure. And all in one day while Scott and Lydia were at school, and Derek sitting at his bedside reading a worn out copy of War and Peace. The guy was full of surprises, really.

He still had a week off from school to go and he suspected it was going to be a boring one considering everyone he knew was going to be in school and his dad was going to have to be working because things around town still weren’t quite back to normal yet. Familiar guilt began to bubble up with him, but he closed his eyes, taking a deep breath and pushing it down as far as he could, not wanting Lydia and Scott to feel it.

When he opened his eyes he saw Scott standing in the door and instantly some of his anxiety faded. “Hey.”

Scott smiled at his best friend, the brief hint of anxiety that had started to make itself known in his chest dissipating within seconds. “Hey, man.” He stepped into the room walking over to the bed and pausing in front of Stiles. Scott was glad his friend was finally coming home. He hated that Stiles was stuck in the hospital, but now at least he’d be stuck at home and they could come by after school and do homework together.

“Excited about heading home?” He asked with a grin. Things were finally starting to get back to normal and Scott was glad. He and Lydia had even had a very awkward lunch with Isaac and Allison the other day. It was strained and none of them knew where they stood with each other, but at least it was a start. Scott had even seen Kira. Apparently she and her family had gone away to deal with some personal stuff...most likely what Kira had done to help save Stiles. They didn’t have a chance to talk yet, but she had text him making plans for tomorrow and Scott was looking forward to it.

Stiles nodded. “Hell yeah.” He wasn’t exactly fond of hospitals. He had a long history of feeling the opposite of fondness for hospitals, actually. He smiled back at Scott. “You guys are still gonna stay for a couple days, right?” He rubbed the back of his neck and shifted to make room for Scott on the edge of the bed beside him. “My dad’s just going over all the discharge stuff with your mom and then we’re getting out of here.” He wouldn’t miss the plain pale yellow walls in the least.

Scott plopped down on the bed beside Stiles. “We’re absolutely still coming, I think mom already dropped our stuff off at your house this morning,” he told his friend with a grin. “I’m thinking pizza and video games tonight, what do you think?” He asked. It would be nice to do something normal for once.

“That...pretty much sounds fantastic. No more TV. I’m sick of TV. Video games are definitely a step up.” He paused. “Not Call of Duty, okay?” He didn’t want to play anything where he had to shoot people, even the zombie version. He wasn’t sure he’d ever be able to play it again. “Maybe Mario Kart?” He glanced at Scott sideways, hopeful.

Scott reached out and rested his hand on his friends back, “Mario Kart sounds good. We’ll have a nice relaxing guy night. I think mom’s planning some big dinner too, in your honor of course.” He teased using his other hand to pat Stiles’ stomach. He was happy to see the smile on Stiles’ face, it had been a while since his friend had a happy expression on his face.

Stiles relaxed at his best friend’s easy agreement to the less violent game, and shook his head at Scott’s comment about his mom’s cooking. He’d actually picked back up a couple of the pounds he’d lost in the last few weeks, while he’d been in the hospital. Then again, every time he looked up, someone was bringing him food. Not just hospital food, but pizza or tacos, or vending machine junk food. And he’d been keeping it down so that was an improvement. “What’s she making?”

Scott dropped his hands and shook his head. “I don’t know, she said it was a surprise. I think after we get you home she’s going to run out to the grocery store. But she wouldn’t tell me.” He sighed and shook his head, but there was a smile on his face. Scott was quiet for a minute, “I got a text from Kira yesterday.” He said with a small grin as he glanced sideways at Stiles.

“That sounds promising.” He raised his eyebrows, wondering what Ms. McCall was up to with dinner. Then Scott mentioned Kira and he couldn’t help but grin at the hint of excitement in his best friend’s voice. “And…?” he prodded, elbowing him lightly in the ribs.

Scott chuckled, “And we’re getting together tomorrow after school. She hasn’t been there in a while, her dad either,” he explained realizing he hadn’t mentioned it. “Kira said something about going away with her parents and she’d explain more when she saw me…” he ran his hands over his knees, “So there’s that.” he commented with a grin.

“Yeaaah. That’s my boy.” He grinned brightly, clapping Scott on the back proudly. He was momentarily confused about why Kira and her parents would have gone out of town and then he remembered that Kira’s powers were what had set a lot of what had happened into motion in the first place. Completely unintentionally, of course. Stiles didn’t blame her. How could he?

Scott added, “Oh, and Lydia and I had lunch with Allison and Isaac yesterday...it was all kinds of painful,” he scratched the back of his neck, “But it’s a start I guess. Speaking of Isaac, he’s staying with the Argents while my mom and I stay with you guys so he’s not alone.” He told Stiles.

Stiles grimaced a little at the mention of the painful lunch with Allison and Isaac. “Hey it’s the first step.” He was glad, albeit surprised, to hear that Isaac was staying with the Argent’s. Mostly because at the end of the day Chris Argent still wasn’t a fan of werewolves and...Isaac tended to sprout fur and claws on occasion.

Scott laughed, “Yeah, first steps are good. I’m kind of surprised Chris is letting Isaac stay,” he commented, “But uh, I guess Isaac putting himself out there to save Allison...well I guess it was sort of a bonding thing for them or something.” Scott shrugged. “It’s good though, because now my mom and I can stay with you without feeling bad for leaving Isaac all alone. Mom doesn’t like leaving him out.” Scott told his friend as he reached up and ruffled his hair.

“Yeah, that’s...weird, I was just kinda thinking the same thing.” He gave Scott a look. Not that it was all that surprising. He and Scott tended to be on the same wavelength about most things. He suddenly wondered what would happen if his dad and Scott’s mom ended up getting together. They had a guest room, but Lydia was going to be needing it, and while he hadn’t talked to his dad about that yet, he couldn’t see the sheriff saying no at this point. Not after everything that had happened. Not after Lydia had literally saved Stiles’ life.

“Was Derek here today?” Scott asked finally noticing the other man’s absence, though with the sheriff and his mom there that wasn’t really surprising.

“Yeah, he was here earlier. When Dad showed up, he decided to take off.” He shrugged. “It’s kinda weird. He’s been here every day. And I mean he didn’t even threaten me with physical violence except like, one time. That’s gotta be a record of some kind.”

Scott was silent for a minute. “Derek is a good guy; he’s grown up a lot.” He said quietly, “You know, he’s really helped me out these past few weeks, Lydia too.” He hesitated, “I hope he realizes that no matter what he’s always got a place with us. Even when he’s no longer protecting you. I worry about him. He’s so isolated, but I think these past few weeks have been good for him.” Scott admitted. Derek had opened up a lot more than Scott ever expected him too.

He protected Stiles with no regard to his own life, he’d helped Lydia on more than one occasion and even now, he’d seen the way the older wolf let her lean on him when she needed even if it wasn’t always obvious to everyone else. And Derek never said a word about it. His loyalty to Scott and even Stiles was something that he’d never forget.

Stiles watched Scott for a moment, nodding slightly. “I know,” he said quietly, voice growing serious. He still remembered how Derek had been there the night he’d been begging Chris Argent to kill him. How he and Scott had managed to keep that from actually happening. He looked down at the floor. He knew Derek had been there for Scott when Stiles couldn’t be. When Stiles hadn’t been himself. It meant a lot to Stiles, too.

“Maybe we should invite him over for Mario Kart,” he said uncertainly. He wasn’t sure Derek would even know what to do with a video game, honestly, but he didn’t want the guy to feel left out. Not after everything.

Scott grinned, “I’m not sure Derek’s really the Mario Kart kind of guy, but we can ask. Let’s do it for another night though.” He rested his hand on Stiles shoulder, “I’m sort of looking forward to us spending some time together. Things have been so crazy we haven’t gotten much time to ourselves.” Scott admitted and maybe that was selfish of him, but it was just a few hours.

Stiles relaxed a little again. It wasn’t that he didn’t want to invite Derek, but he’d been looking forward to it just being him and Scott for awhile, too. Like the old days, before things had gotten so much more complicated. “Yeah, that sounds good to me, too,” he admitted with a small smile, looking up at Scott.

Scott returned the smile. It would be nice to spend some time alone with Stiles he wasn’t sure if Lydia was coming by later and he didn’t mind if she did. Scott had gotten used to her, but she seemed to be distancing herself a bit more lately, which was another thing that worried him. Technically it had just been yesterday and today, but it was still unusual.

She had gone home yesterday instead of going to the hospital with him after school. And when he offered her a ride to the hospital today she had declined saying she didn’t want to intrude and to tell Stiles she said ‘hi’, Oh. “Lydia says hi, by the way,” he stated with a sheepish grin. “I meant to tell you that before.”

Stiles started to comment about Lydia’s message when he heard footsteps near the door.

Grinning because he figured it was going to be his dad coming back, he stilled at the sight of the man who stood there instead, tall and imposing in a suit, eyes already fixed on Stiles. Scott’s dad. Because why not? He thought, tensing as he straightened beside his best friend, fingers digging into the mattress beneath them just a little. “Lost?” he asked in a bored tone.

Scott glanced up slowly tensing when he spotted his father. He straightened up, his eyes turning to slits, jaw clenching, “What are you doing here?” He asked his voice holding a hint of hardness to it.

Rafael glanced between his son’s best friend and Scott. “I’m here to ask Stiles a few questions.” He said simply, annoyed by the tone his son was taking with him. He was used to Stilinski’s kid by now, but it bothered him that Scott held so much resentment towards him. He cleared his throat and slipped his hands into his pockets as he stepped towards the two teenagers. “Do you have a few minutes?”

The moment Scott’s dad mentioned that he wanted to ask him questions; Stiles knew this wasn’t going to be good. He could literally think of nothing good that could come from this situation and he really wished the other man had just left town. Had just taken off the same way he’d returned -- slithering out like a snake, except Stiles liked snakes better than he liked his best friend’s biological father. And he had pretty good reasons.

“Not really,” Stiles responded, arching his eyebrows and wishing his heart wasn’t suddenly beating much more quickly in his chest.

Rafael sighed, “Well I wasn’t really asking,” even though he’d posed it as a question. “I need to know where you were a few weeks back when the asylum burned to the ground. Several witnesses said they saw you walking out of the fire.” He told Stiles with an arched eyebrow.

Scott stiffened beside his best friend and he felt a familiar anger stirring inside of him, “Are you accusing him of something?” Scott asked his voice deeper than normal as he glared at his father. Technically he couldn't even be called that, not really anyway.

Rafael glanced at Scott letting his hands slip from his pockets, “I’m doing my job Scott.”

Stiles heard something in Scott’s voice, a warning that Rafael clearly didn’t recognize, but Stiles sure as hell did. He reached out and put a hand on his arm wordlessly, willing him to stay calm. To keep his cool. He didn’t want to think about what would wind up happening if Scott wolfed out in front of his dad.

“I don’t know. What day of the week was it?” Stiles responded evenly, even as guilt flooded him. A girl had died in that fire. A fire he had lit. Who even knew how many other people had been hurt? Who’d nearly died? Fortunately for his own sake -- or not in a lot of cases -- Stiles had one hell of a poker face.

Rafael pursed his lips, “Look, don’t make this harder than it needs to be. I’ve got two people dead, 15 injured and I need to figure out what happened that night.” He said his voice hard. “I don’t want to have to bring you down to the station. Answer my question.” He said his voice hardening, “Where were you that night?”

Scott’s chest tightened his airway constricting. He could literally feel the guilt burning in his chest, but it wasn’t his. He swallowed hard even more angry at his gene donor for making Stiles feel bad just when he was getting back on track. This wasn’t good and if he was feeling it this strongly, Scott knew it was probably worse for Lydia.

Two people had died. Fifteen injured. Well that answered that question, except Stiles wished now that he hadn’t found out the answer at all. What was he supposed to do? He held his breath for a few seconds, pushing all of his emotions out as best as he could. Shoving them as far down in his stomach as they could possibly go. He let go of Scott’s arm, regarding Rafael with a neutral expression.

“I know that you’re not allowed to question me without my dad here because I’m a minor,” he informed him. “Surprise, my dad’s in law enforcement, too.” God he hated Scott’s dad. “Weird how he taught me stuff like that, huh?” he said coolly.

Rafael’s jaw clenched, “I didn’t think you’d want to worry your dad by letting him know you were a suspect in not only an arson case, but homicide as well.” He commented. “But if that’s the way you want me to do it, I can go through the official channels and have everyone involved.” He threatened.

Scott’s gaze zeroed in on his father and he stood very slowly, his hands clenching at his sides as they balled into fists. “You need to leave, now.” Scott was getting angry and he was starting to feel the urge to shift.

The hospital room door opened in that moment and Michael and Melissa walked inside. “Alright boys, time to get you home.” She said her words fading when she spotted Rafael standing a few feet from the kids.

When Scott stood up, Stiles did, too, sticking right next to him in case he needed to pull him back from doing something he’d regret later. He felt both a sense of relief and a sense of dread when his dad and Scott’s mom walked back in. He didn’t want anyone else caught up in the middle of this mess, but he wasn’t sure how he was going to clean it up, either. He hadn’t been expecting this -- though he probably should have -- and he needed time to think. He was good with wit and he was smart, but facing Scott’s dad on spur of the moment’s notice and trying to figure out what to say to defend himself against charges he was guilty of? That was even beyond his capabilities. He was fighting the growing sense of dread and panic as hard as he could because that wasn’t going to help anyone, and dammit, he really needed to talk to Deaton to figure out how to close this connection thing down.

“Home sounds good. Let’s go home,” Stiles said, heart still beating too quickly.

Melissa and Michael both frowned, but it was Michael who spoke first. “What are you doing in here?” he asked his gaze going to the boys, “You boys alright?” He asked noticing how tense they both looked. He even thought he saw a flash of red in Scott’s eye.

Rafael turned around and glared at Michael his gaze shifting between his ex-wife and the town's sheriff. “I’d say it’s a surprise to see you two together, but really it’s not.” His gaze shifted to Stilinski, “Of course they’re alright, I only came here to ask a few simple questions.” He told them.

Stiles nodded at his dad’s question, even though he wasn’t feeling as alright as he had been moments before Rafael McCall had shown up. “Yeah, we’re fine, Dad.”

Melissa took one look at her son and knew that he was anything but fine right now. And neither was Stiles. She folded her arms across her chest, pinning her ex-husband with a dangerous glare. “A few simple questions about what?”

Rafael sighed, “I need to know where Stiles was the night the asylum burned down.” He said glancing at Stilinski, “Several eye witnesses saw your son fleeing from the fire.” He said matter-of-factly.

“Those people are wrong,” Scott said the menace in his voice getting clearer as anger clouded the rational part of his brain. He felt a sharp poke in his hand and knew his claws were coming out and pressing right into his skin, but Scott didn’t care. He had no right, no right to come here out of nowhere making accusations, using his key to come into Scott’s home. Threatening to get the sheriff fired, now going after his best friend? Scott wasn’t having it.

Stiles reached out, fingers wrapping around Scott’s wrist with a firm grip. Calm down, Scottie, he thought, willing his friend to remain calm.

“Stiles was at home that night. Sleeping,” Sheriff Stilinski said with a hint of warning as he stared hard at Rafael. “And the next time you feel compelled to ask my under-age son questions regarding a crime, you damn well better make sure you come through me first, because if you don’t? You and I are going to have a bigger problem than the one that we already have. Am I making myself perfectly clear, Agent McCall?”

Rafael stared hard at Michael Stilinski, “I don’t believe you,” he said simply, “And since you're his father you don’t make a reliable alibi. What father would turn their own kid in?” He asked finally pulling his hands free from his pockets, his gaze briefly going to Melissa before looking back at Michael.

“Probably you,” Scott spat. “I don’t know why you keep insisting on pushing yourself into my life or my friends lives, but Stiles didn’t do anything wrong. Why don’t you go check your sources because it wasn’t Stiles they saw. Now get out!” His voice felt like it echoed through his body and had Rafael McCall been looking at his son in that moment he would have seen the way his eyes flashed red. But he didn’t turn around until after Scott yelled.

“I know you think you can talk to me like that, but you can’t. I’m still your father Scott.” He shook his head wondering when things had gone so downhill in their relationship that his own son held such animosity towards him.

Michael stared at the back of Raphael's head. “It’s a good enough alibi when it’s the truth,” he said his voice quiet, but angry.

Stiles felt his own anger rise to the surface when Scott’s did, felt it rise even more at the fact that his father was now having to lie for him. “My dad’s been more of a father to Scott then you ever were,” he said, voice quieter than his dad’s, but just as angry. “You were a shitty husband, and a shitty father and you always will be.”

Rafael glared at the teenagers in front of him and took a step towards Stiles, but Scott was in front of him in a flash and confusion filled his gaze. But he barely had a second to think about it as his sons hand shot out and shoved him so hard he flew clear across the room, his back colliding with the wall. He swore and winced as he tried getting up.

A slow growl started in the depths of Scott’s throat and though, it wasn’t loud enough to reach his father yet. But the angrier he got the more dominate the wolf inside of him became. “Do not touch my family.” He said his voice dangerously low.

Michael glanced at Melissa and then looked at Scott, holding a hand up to get his attention, “Son, I think you need to calm down, take a deep breath Scott, and let it out slowly,” he said as he took a step towards Scott and Stiles.

Stiles had held his breath when Scott shoved his father across the room. He forced himself to take a deep breath when his dad told Scott to, too, knowing that Scott could feel the force of his own anger combined with his own and that wasn’t helping. “Come on, Scottie. Take a step back,” he whispered. He squeezed Scott’s arm. “Come on.”

Melissa looked at her son with concern before turning her gaze to Rafael. “You can ask your questions another time. You need to go now.” There was no room for discussion in her tone as she helped Michael block the view between Scott and Stiles from her ex.

Rafael finally pushed himself up and glanced at his ex-wife like she had two heads. “What the hell is going on here? That’s the second time I’ve seen Scott lose his temper like that Melissa. What the hell is wrong with our son? Is he on something?” He asked glancing in the direction of Scott and Stiles.

Michael turned to face him, “Melissa’s right, you need to go now. We’ll come into the station at a later date so you can ask Stiles whatever questions you need to, but the answers aren’t going to change.” He said his voice hard as he placed a hand at the small of Melissa’s back, the sounds of Scott trying to calm himself down getting louder in the background.

“Scott. Stay with me,” Stiles murmured, his voice barely audible. “Come on buddy. Deep breaths.”

Melissa glared at Rafael. “Maybe our son is as sick of dealing with you walking in and pretending you still run the show when you haven’t been around for the last six years of his life as I am. It’s time for you to back off. He’s old enough to decide whether or not he wants you in his life and he clearly doesn’t. That’s your fault. Not his.”

Scott could hear his mother yelling and he felt his face shift. He dropped down in a crouch, his heart beating fast as the sheriff shifted so he was standing in front of him. He placed his hands against his head as a few more angry words were exchanged before his father said things weren’t over and left the room, the door slamming echoing in his head.

He hadn’t lost control like this in a long time, but between his own anger and Stiles anger and then the hint of panic he felt from Lydia most likely because Stiles was so angry...it was all too much driving him to protect the people he cared about. “I can’t breathe,” he got out a low growl slipping from his lips as he dug his claws into his palms drawing blood and collapsing to his knees, his brows furrowing. “Shit.” he mumbled suddenly incredibly emotionally drained.

Stiles dropped down instantly when Scott did, wrapping his arm around his best friend’s shoulders and wincing as he watched Scott claw his palms into shreds, blood dripping all over the floor. God, he was making this so much worse. He forced himself to close his eyes, tamping down on the anger until there was literally nothing left but a wave of tiredness and he didn’t think it was his. Things just kept getting more complicated. He swallowed hard, looking up at his dad and Melissa guiltily.

Melissa moved to kneel down in front of her son, taking his face in her hands, worried eyes locked on his. “Focus, Scott,” she whispered.

Scott focused on his mother’s voice and the feel of Stiles holding onto him. He sucked in a deep breath and let it out slowly. His breathing was shaky for a minute before he swallowed hard, his eyes going back to normal and his claws retracting. Scott grunted his chest tight as guilt blossomed there. “I’m so sorry,” he whispered.

“You didn’t do anything wrong,” Stiles said instantly. “Not a damn thing. He knows how to push everyone’s buttons.”

“It’s okay now, Scott,” Melissa said soothingly, pressing her lips to his forehead in a kiss before pulling away to look at him. She looked up at Michael with troubled eyes.

Michael walked over and placed a hand on Scott’s back and the other on Stiles’ back. “Come on, let’s get you boys home. It looks like you could both use a relaxing afternoon,” plus he needed to talk to Melissa without them around. If McCall knew about the asylum it wouldn’t be long before he started putting it all together. They needed a plan and fast.

Scott just nodded at the sheriff’s words as he squeezed his mom’s arm gently letting her know he was okay, the same with Stiles.

Melissa rose to her feet, reaching down to help both boys to theirs, as well.

Stiles exhaled slowly, not looking at his dad as he lifted his hand to his mouth, chewing on his thumbnail. He just wanted to go home and hang out with his best friend for a little while before the next crisis hit.

Apparently it was now too late for that. Because the last one still wasn’t finished wrecking everything yet.


Lydia glanced at Derek out of the corner of her eye as they moved towards Peter’s apartment. She was nervous and not just because she wasn’t sure what to expect with the oldest Hale. She had butterflies in her stomach and she couldn’t stop thinking about the large bouts of anger and guilt that had been coming from Stiles not long ago.

Lydia pursed her lips. “Maybe we should do this a different day and I should go check on Stiles,” she said not able to entirely hide the nervousness building inside of her.

“Lydia, we’re already here,” he said as gently as he ever spoke. “I know you’re scared, but I’m not going to let him hurt you. Stiles is okay. He’s getting out of the hospital right now, remember?”

Lydia knew he was getting out of the hospital. It was one of the reasons she decided to do this today because she knew both Scott and Stiles would be busy. She nodded, “Right, of course.” She shifted on her feet in front of the door. “Does he know we’re here?” She asked in a whisper.

“Probably,” Derek confirmed, reaching out and knocking loudly on his uncle’s door.

There was a noise behind the door before it slid open slowly revealing Peter leaning in the doorway. He arched an eyebrow. “Why Derek, you brought me a gift, how sweet.” He said with a smirk, “And I thought you were still mad at me for that little mishap with the hunters,” he commented lightly as his eyes fell to Lydia, a gleam in them.

Lydia glared at Peter and then rolled her eyes.

Derek narrowed his eyes at Peter, reaching out and shoving the door open the rest of the way, forcing the older man backwards and leading Lydia inside the apartment. “She has questions. She’s gonna ask them. You’re gonna answer. Try anything and I won’t make the same mistake I did the last time.” He folded his arms across his chest.

Peter stumbled back a few paces and glared at his nephew a sigh leaving his throat at Derek’s words. “I seem to recall a certain redhead helping me out with that problem last time,” his gaze slide to Lydia and he winked, “Thanks for that darlin’.”

“Yeah, well this time your body will be in too many pieces for you to use someone to resurrect yourself,” Derek said flatly, without a hint of joking in his voice.

Lydia pursed her lips. “Not by choice.” She said as she flipped her hair over her shoulder forcing her heartbeat to stay steady. Not wanting to give Peter the satisfaction of knowing he unnerved her. She just kept reminding herself that Derek was there and he wouldn’t let anything happen to her. “I want to know what you know about me.” She said matter-of-factly.

A slow smirk slid onto Peter’s lips. “Has the little banshee finally come for answers?” He asked taking a step towards her.

Derek was more than a little impressed with Lydia’s ability to keep her cool and a smirk tugged at his mouth at her tone. But his eyes narrowed at his uncle as soon as he spoke in that tone, lecherous and smarmy. He reached out, stopping Peter from getting any closer to the redhead.

Peter had ignored Derek’s words up to the point where his nephew stopped him from getting closer to Lydia. He turned his gaze on Derek and arched an eyebrow. “Awfully protective aren’t we,” he observed before glancing back at Lydia.

“I haven’t seen my nephew so protective in a while at least not without some motivation,” he said leering at Lydia. Peter chuckled when she made a face. “How does your little lover boy feel about your new close and personal relationship with my nephew?” He taunted.

Lydia rolled her eyes, “Wow you really like hearing yourself talk don’t you?” She asked with a sigh, “Derek is my friend and who I get up close and personal with definitely isn’t your business.” She said keeping her tone bored, “And I don’t even know what you’re talking about with this lover boy nonsense.”

Despite the fact that he was extremely annoyed by his uncle’s insinuations, he almost rolled his eyes at Lydia’s denial. She was as bad as Stiles when it came to missing things that were pretty obvious to the rest of them. Even Peter, apparently.

“Take a step back,” Derek warned his uncle, locking his eyes with the older man.

Peter rolled his eyes and held up his hands, “So dramatic,” he said as he took a step back. “I’m not going to hurt her, I mean I did have a hand in making her what she is.” He glanced at Lydia again. “If I wanted you dead I would have done it that night on the lacrosse field. Then again I did promise Stiles I wouldn’t hurt you if he helped me find Derek and I’m nothing if not a man of my word.” He said with a grin.

Lydia was about to tell Peter to get back on topic when he mentioned Stiles. She paused, hesitating, “What are you talking about?” She asked confused.

Peter’s grin widened, “Oh, you mean Stiles never told you?” He shifted taking a few steps back as he spoke. “He’s the one who saved you on the field that night.” Peter turned back around so he was facing Lydia. “Even offered his life for yours. I knew you wouldn’t die from the bite...but he didn’t so I used his feelings for you to help me.” He explained, “Pretty clever huh?”

“More like pathetic,” she said while trying to process the information Peter had just given her. Even then Stiles was trying to protect her. Her heart clenched slightly and she suddenly had an overwhelming urge to go see Stiles and ask him about it. But there would be time for that later. “Tell me what I want to know,” Lydia demanded finally.

Peter smirked, “Feisty, I like it.” He started walking further into the apartment and going over to a small table grabbing a canister before turning back to her. “I’ll tell you what little banshee. You help me and I’ll help you. If you give me what I want I’ll give you the answers you seek.” He said with a grin.

Derek narrowed his eyes at his uncle, not even a little bit impressed by his uncle’s dramatics. Or the fact that he’d played Stiles so long ago. Or the fact that he was playing Lydia now, both by toying with her emotions and dangling answers in front of her to get what he wanted. He looked at Lydia sideways. “You don’t have to do anything here. We can find answers somewhere else,” he reminded her.

Lydia was torn. She pressed her lips together. “I want my answers first. You tell me what I want to know and I will help you with one thing and it can’t involve anything that would hurt someone I care about directly or indirectly.” She said voice calm, “If you agree to my terms, then we have a deal.” Lydia told him eyeing Peter warily. She knew Derek was right, but they were already there and she needed to know how to control what was happening to her...because at this point everything else in her life was out of control and this...Lydia needed this.

Peter placed the canister down on the coffee table and leaned against the arm of his couch. His apartment was nothing like Derek’s. It was meticulously clean and professionally decorated. Definitely not a place Lydia would have thought to look for him and yet somehow so essentially Peter.

Peter nodded to her, “Well then, let’s have your questions.” He said motioning for her to take the floor.

Lydia hesitated, “I’m doing more than screaming now.” She told him, “I’m hearing things...feeling them in my head and, physically.” She said feeling slightly uncomfortable admitting it all out loud since she hadn’t talked about it with anyone else, except for Stiles a little bit.

“A while back I think my...abilities were trying to warn me that something was coming,” the Nogitsune, her mind provided, “But I couldn’t understand the message it was sending until it was too late. I didn’t know what it meant and I need to know how to listen to the voices. I need to know how to understand it.” Lydia swallowed hard as Peter studied her.

“Do you know where your abilities come from?” He asked her pushing away from the couch and stepping towards her. “The voices?” He inquired, “They stem from others like yourself. Other banshees. And your scream isn’t where you real power lies. The scream clears the fog and helps you focus on what you need to hear.” Peter told her as he stopped a few feet in front of her.

Lydia swallowed heavily, “What does that mean? I screamed last time and it didn’t help me understand what they were saying...I missed the signs.” She said her voice hard.

Peter arched an eyebrow at the tone of her voice. Something specific had obviously happened to upset her and he couldn't help the curiosity that flowed through him. “Your hearing is attuned to a level of the universe that no one else can hear, but only if you’re listening. You need to focus on the right thing. The more you use your powers the stronger they’ll get.” He said with a sigh. “Tell me about these feelings.” He said.

Lydia shifted on her feet, “I’m feeling someone else’s...emotions and sometimes they get so overwhelming that it’s painful or I pass out from the overload of emotions,” Lydia shrugged stiffly.

Curiosity filled Peter’s gaze, “Who is it?”

Lydia hesitated again glancing briefly at Derek not sure if she should tell Peter who it was.

“Irrelevant,” Derek informed his uncle, arching an eyebrow. “All you need to know is that it’s happening. So if you want to know something about my mother and you want Lydia’s help, quit stalling.” He was rapidly losing his patience for the older Hale.

Peter glared at Derek, “Incorrect as usual,” he turned back to Lydia. “Banshee’s are special and rare nowadays. When there were more of them they used to choose a pack to be affiliated with and essentially be a member of that pack which would connect them to the alpha. Sort of like an emotional bond in case pack members went missing or were in danger. It was an early warning system of sorts,” He explained to both of them.

“There are very few people who have the ability to share in what Lydia hears or feels. The only other connection I’ve heard of is to emissaries. A few banshee’s have been known to have a connection to them, but I’ve never heard of it developing this deep unless,” Peter paused, “Unless there was something else to it. Something that solidified the connection between them and created a bond or a link that allowed their emotions to share a space safely.”

Lydia frowned, “What kind of connection? And this doesn’t tell me how to control it or why the feelings are getting stronger.”

Peter huffed, “You’re asking for a lot here, I think I should get more than one favor out of this.”

Lydia stiffened and crossed her arms over her chest, “You haven’t even held up your end of the deal with this one. No answer me or you get nothing.”

Peter clenched his jaw. “You can’t control it because instead of embracing what you hear you’re trying to stop it. You’re trying to push it aside and drown it out, but what you need to do is immerse yourself in it and once you can do that and focus you’ll be able to understand it. But that takes time and practice,” He practically ground out.

“And the emotions are overwhelming you because whoever you’re connected with, you’re blocking them out. In order to have an exchange of emotions they have to go both ways. Through you and the other person. Right now it’s all just going to you. Your’s, their’s and as you get deeper involved with the pack, Scott’s. You’ll have the combined emotions of everyone inside that small fragile body of yours and that’s enough to drive a person insane if you don’t figure out how to open that link up on your side to release the emotions.”

Lydia’s chest tightened and her stomach clenched at his words. She opened her mouth, but Peter held up a hand as he grabbed the container. “It’s my turn now banshee. Get over here.” He nearly growled as he twisted the container open and dumped the nails on the table.

Lydia glanced from him to the nails before taking a step forward. “What am I supposed to do with these?” She asked reaching forward and lifting the claws from the table into her hands.

“My sister Talia, Derek’s mother,” he motioned towards his nephew, “took a memory from me. I want it back and you’re going to get it for me.”

Lydia glanced up, “Why would she take a memory from you?” She asked as she rolled the nails around in her hand.

Peter nearly rolled his eyes, “Well now if I had the memory maybe I could tell you. No more questions. Focus.” He said as he watched her.

Lydia glanced away from Peter and at Derek briefly before she focused on the nails. Five minutes passed and nothing. She frowned. “I don’t hear anything.” She said quietly.

“It’s only going to work if you’re listening,” Peter said frustration clear in his voice.

“I’m trying,” she said stepping away from Peter and closer to Derek.

“Try harder!” He snapped moving towards her.

Derek’s eyes flashed in warning as he stepped in front of Peter, blocking his path with a murderous look on his face, a hand shooting out to catch his uncle around the neck. “Don’t,” he said darkly.

Peter smirked, “Poor little Derek,” he said his voice strained, “Don’t want to lose one of the only friends you have,” he taunted, “I already said I wasn’t going to kill the little banshee that could.” He said gripping his nephews arm and then shoving him back.

Frustrated Lydia turned around, “Can you two stop,” she watched as Peter went to grab Derek, his claws out and she yelled, “Stop it!” while throwing her hand out, the force of her emotions making the nails sail through the air until they embedded themselves in the wall. And that’s when she heard it...the soft whispers.

Peter’s eyes widened at the way the nails arched through the air and landed in the wall. He stepped away from Derek, nails retracting as he glanced at Lydia. His eyes brightened, “You hear something, don’t you.”

Lydia ignored him and walked between him and Derek, her head tilting to the side as she moved closer to the wall. She focused on the voices as Peter demanded to know what they were saying in the background. She sucked in a sharp breath when the words finally came together.

“What did Talia take from me?” He demanded.

Lydia swallowed hard and turned around slowly. She glanced between Derek and Peter her chest tight, heartbeat picking up speed. “You’re not just an uncle.” She said softly.

It took Peter a minute to process what she’d said and then he stepped forward. “Who is it?”

Lydia shook her head, “I don’t know,” she said taking a step back.

“Tell me,” Peter’s voice held the hint of a growl as Lydia continued to back up shaking her head. “I don’t know. I don’t know if it’s a girl or a boy, or if it’s some mutated wolf baby.” She was lying of course, but Peter didn’t need to know that.

He glared at her, “You’re lying,” he jerked forward and grabbed her arms hard enough to leave a bruise. Lydia let out a startled noise, “Tell me what you know!”

Derek had enough of Peter’s shit for a lifetime and seeing him grab Lydia was the last straw. He drew back his fist and hit him in the face so hard that blood splattered and he hit the floor hard. “I think we’re done here,” he informed Lydia, glaring down at his uncle. He reached out and gently took her by the arm, leading her out of the apartment. “You okay?” he asked, glancing at her sideways as they headed down the stairs of the apartment building, trying to rein in his anger.

Lydia let out shaky breath and nodded her hand reaching up and rubbing her arm making her wince. It was already starting to bruise. “Yeah, I’m okay...thank you.” She said quietly. “Can he still hear us?” She asked her voice low, her heartbeat betraying just how not calm she was.

He gave a short nod of his head, staying quiet until he’d led her out of the building and they were back in his car. He started the engine for extra noise before looking at her. “Peter has a kid?” There was a hint of disbelief in his voice.

Lydia shifted in her seat not sure how Derek was going to take what she was about to tell him. Her heartbeat quickened in her chest and she hesitantly reached a hand out to him resting it on his arm. “Yes,” she said keeping her voice low. “Derek...it’s Cora.” Lydia whispered.

Derek stared at her blankly. “Peter’s kid is...Cora. My sister Cora.”

Lydia nodded. “I guess technically she’s your cousin really but---Yes.” She cleared her throat and was silent for a minute, “Are you okay...can I...I mean.” Lydia let out a breath. She should know by now she was terrible at comforting people. But she couldn’t help wanting to try. Derek looked shocked and she felt terrible for having to break the news to him. Lydia squeezed his arm gently. “She doesn’t know...only your mom did. Cora’s mom died in childbirth and your mom...she took her, hid her identity from Peter to protect her.” She explained quietly.

Derek laid his head back against the headrest for a long moment, trying to absorb that all into his brain. “She’s on her way back,” he said blankly. “Am I supposed to tell her that the guy she thought was her uncle for her entire life, who killed our -- my -- sister Laura is actually her dad?

Lydia was silent for a moment. “I think that if your mother went through all of this trouble to protect her, there had to be a reason. Peter can’t be trusted and who knows what he would do if he knew...I can’t tell you what to do. And it’s never easy keeping secrets from the people you love,” she said quietly her chest tightening, “But sometimes,” Lydia paused, “Sometimes the ends justifies the means. But if you think she can handle the truth without going to Peter…” Lydia’s words died down. “I felt fear.” she whispered, “She was afraid of something when she took the memories from him, I don’t know what.”

Lydia kept her hand on his arm, trying to offer some kind of comfort, but not knowing if it was working. “I’m sorry that I didn’t get more.” She apologized. “I will say this, Peter being Cora’s biological father doesn’t change how you guys grew up or how you feel about her. She’ll always be your sister even if she’s not...Does that make sense?” Lydia asked making a face.

She wasn’t wrong. Talia had not only been a wonderful mother, but she’d been a good alpha as well. She knew when there was something wrong with one of her pack, even if they tried to hide it. And obviously she’d hidden the truth about Cora’s identity for a reason. He had no doubt about that. And Peter wasn’t likely to ever win any father of the year awards even if he did tell Cora. The man was screwed up as it was even just being an uncle.

No, Lydia was right. “You’re right.” He shifted slightly in the seat, shifting his Camaro into gear and pulling away from the apartment building. “If my mom was afraid of Peter finding out that Cora was his, she had a good reason.” He glanced at her sideways. “I’m not telling either one of them.”

Lydia nodded and pulled her hand back. “Then you have my word I’ll never mention it again. This will be our secret.” She told him quietly. “I’ll take it to my grave.” She knew Peter wasn’t convinced that she didn’t know the truth, but she’d cross that bridge if it ever came. And even if he came to her for the information, she wouldn’t tell him. Lydia wouldn’t do that to Derek or even Cora despite the fact that they hadn’t exactly gotten along too well.

“Thank you,” he said quietly, focusing on the road ahead. Because there was no use focusing on the one in the rearview.

Lydia was silent for a minute as she glanced out the window at the darkening sky wondering how long they were at Peter’s. It was late. She should probably go home, but for some reason Lydia desperately wanted to see Stiles. “Derek, would you mind taking me to Stiles?” She asked quietly before biting her lower lip. “Actually forget it. If you wouldn’t mind dropping me off at home that would be great.”

Derek glanced at her sideways, arching his eyebrows. “I think you had it right the first time,” he said knowingly. “Something was going on with him when we first got to Peter’s right?”

Lydia hesitated, “Yeah,” she said quietly, “But it seems okay now. And...I don’t want to crowd him. I think he wanted to spend some time with Scott. I’ll be fine at home.” She said resting her hands on her skirt as she brushed dust that wasn’t on it off.

“Okay I believe that you want to give Idiot Squared some time alone, but I don’t believe you really want to go home, either.”

Lydia let a small chuckle fall from her mouth, not able to hide her smile at Derek’s description of Scott and Stiles. “Do not tell them I laughed at that...They’d be so offended.” She said with a small smile, but it didn’t reach her eyes. “There’s nowhere else to go...Plus there’s Prada, I shouldn’t leave her all alone.” Lydia said honestly.

Derek smirked when she laughed. “My lips are sealed.” He considered for a minute. “You can hang out with me for awhile if you want.”

Lydia blinked glancing at Derek surprised by the offer. And it occurred to her that maybe Derek didn’t want to be alone right now either. “Can I bring Prada?” She asked with a hopeful smile.

Derek considered her question, then shrugged. “Sure. Why not?”

Lydia smiled and glanced forward. “Thanks, Derek.” She said softly before shifting and settling into the seat letting herself relax as they drove towards her house to pick up Prada all the while Lydia was thinking how glad she was that Derek was in their lives.

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