November 8, 2014

Never Too Late 15/17

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: 15/17
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 | Ten | Eleven | Twelve | Thirteen | Fourteen |

Chapter Fifteen

Scott sat at the kitchen table; textbooks open in front of him as he leaned forward reading the most recent chapter. He was having trouble focusing. His mom was on a late shift at the hospital, the sheriff was in his office working, Allison had gone home, and Lydia was trying to sleep. But Scott could hear that she wasn’t.

Her heartbeat kept fluctuating between calm rapid beating and a frantic pounding in her chest, but Scott wasn’t sure why. And if that wasn’t enough he was getting some intensely feeling vibes from Stiles. He didn’t know where his friend was, but he was certain he wasn’t out for a drive to clear his head.

It almost felt like that flight or fight response people got before something big happened, except minus the flight response. Scott shook his head refusing the urge to check on Stiles and try to go find him. He didn’t want his friend to think he didn’t trust him. Scott sighed and refocused his gaze on his homework, trying to block out Lydia’s distress from upstairs and the odd feelings moving through Stiles.

A half an hour later found Stiles walking into the house quietly. He had a suspicion that Lydia was sleeping, or nearly asleep, at the very least. He didn’t want to risk waking her up. He spotted Scott sitting at the kitchen table and he paused, then slowly walked toward him. “Hey.” His voice was quiet.

Scott glanced up and sat back in his seat watching his friend closely. “Hey,” he said keeping his tone light. “Were you able to clear your head?” He asked cocking his head to the side.

“In a manner of speaking.” He drew in a breath and sat down across from Scott. “I just came from a visit with Peter Hale.”

Scott sat up straight, “You did what?” He asked lowering his voice, “Why in the world would you go over there without me?” He asked baffled. Scott was starting to think everyone in his pack had a damn death wish.

Guilt swept over him at the alarm in Scott’s voice. “It was fine,” he assured him. “I’m completely fine. He didn’t lay a finger on me.”

Scott’s brows lifted. “Well something happened.” He said matter-of-factly, “I felt it.” He told his friend. “Are you going to tell me?” He asked as he leaned forward, “What’s going on?” He asked.

“Did you feel anything last night? Anything...strange?” he asked tentatively. “When Lydia was having her nightmare, I mean.” He studied Scott carefully, watching for any signs that his best friend knew what he was talking about.

Scott thought back to last night trying to remember if he felt anything out of the ordinary. But nothing came to mind. He shook his head, “No...why? Stiles what’s going on? Are you okay?” he asked worried not liking being in the dark.

“I felt something,” he said quietly, gazing intently at Scott. “In Lydia’s head. I don’t really know how to explain it. But it was Peter. He was looking for something.”

Scott let out a breath, “Peter was in her head? Are you sure?” He asked not sure how his friend would even know that. Scott could feel certain things from Lydia, but sensing someone else’s presence in her head...Scott hadn’t even know that was possible.

“Yeah. Positive. I can’t explain how I felt it, but I did. And he admitted it when I confronted him about it.” He looked down at his hands. “I think he’s going to pose a problem.” Hell, he’d as much as admitted that, too.

Scott was quiet for a minute. “Something happened while you weren’t here Stiles...I felt,” he paused trying to figure out how to describe it, “Darkness.” He said quietly. “Not Nogitsune darkness,” he added quickly, “Something different...what brought it out? What does Peter want?” He asked quietly even though he knew no one could hear them.

Stiles’ chest tightened at Scott’s words. “Yeah. Yeah, I know. I felt it, too.” He couldn’t look at Scott when he said those words. “And I brought it out.” He rubbed the back of his neck. “Because Peter wants something from Lydia. I don’t know what it is, but he’s determined he’s going to get it.” His jaw tightened. “We had...words,” he said vaguely.

Scott sat back and rolled his neck. “He’s not going to touch Lydia, Stiles. He’d have to go through all of us first, Derek included. There’s no way he can get to her.” He told his friend confidently. “Risking your life isn’t going to help,” he added lightly his attention drifting to Lydia briefly when her heartbeat sped up again and the sleep she’d been near drifted away leaving her almost wide awake once again.

Stiles looked up at that. “Scott...we both know that if Peter wants something bad enough, he’s gonna do whatever he has to do to get it. We’re talking about the same guy who literally mind controlled her for months so he could make her bring him back from the dead. All he’ll need is a good distraction.”

“Things are different now Stiles.” He shifted in his seat leaning forward again. “Lydia didn’t understand what was happening then and she didn’t have us. We’re all a lot closer now. If something weird starts happening we’ll notice.” He said pointedly. “And you just told me you felt him in her head...if that’s the case we’ll know when he’s coming and we’ll stop him. I promise you nothing is going to happen to Lydia, I won’t let it.” Scott said, his tone brooking no room for argument.

“But dude...I need you not to rush off into dangerous situations without telling us. I know you can handle your own, but you’re going to give us all a heart attack,” he said with a slight chuckle.

“Whatever this connection is between us...between you and Lydia it’s getting stronger.” He told his friend. “She knew you weren’t home when we got here and it freaked her out a little. She’s been up there trying to sleep since we got home from school. I think she mostly just wanted some time to herself,” he commented, “But still within minutes of coming into the house she knew you weren’t here. And I felt that something was off, it was that feeling of you getting worked up though that sort of made me realize you were angry and doing something that might be kinda’s an odd thing, feeling that from someone other than me.” He admitted.

They were all a lot closer now, but Stiles couldn’t help but wonder if it would truly be enough to stop Peter. Because the only way he could think of to stop Peter was one that Scott really wasn’t going to like. He sighed softly, looking down at the table for a long moment.

“Yeah. The other night at the jail when you were so angry…” He looked up at him once more. “I felt it. So it’s not just the connection between me and Lydia that’s growing. I feel you, too, now, Scott.” His voice was quiet.

Scott wasn’t surprised by that. He felt Stiles stronger now than in the beginning also. “Then you can see I’m worried. I just don’t want anyone to do anything they’ll regret later. I want us all to be safe and okay. Mentally, physically.” He paused, “I’m really glad you decided to get out, but just next time can you at least tell me? You’re my best friend brother. If there’s a chance that you’re walking into something dangerous I need to know it case something goes wrong. Not that it will, but if it does you’ll at least have some backup.” He told his friend.

Stiles felt a tug of guilt because he knew what he’d done had been dangerous. The truth was he hadn’t wanted to wait on Scott. Or anyone else. He didn’t want anyone else to hear the things he’d told Peter, however true they might have been. He didn’t want his friends to be afraid of him. But if he’d succeeded in putting even the slightest bit of fear into Peter Hale, even just a seed of an inkling that he’d take Stiles seriously and leave Lydia alone, it had been worth it.

“You’re a good alpha, Scott,” he said softly. “And the pack’s really lucky to have you.” He paused. ”I’m really lucky to have you.”

Scott’s expression softened and he grinned, “That means a lot, since I have no freaking clue what I’m doing,” he said with a short laugh as he rubbed the back of his neck. He grinned at Stiles, “I’m lucky I have you too dude,” he reached out and squeezed his friend’s arm gently.

“We’re lucky to have you too, you know.” Scott added. He tilted his head slightly. “Why don’t you go check on Lydia I’m sure she’ll be glad you’re home. She hasn’t been able to get much sleep. I checked on her a couple of times, but she told me I was getting like Derek and being a worry wart and then kicked me out of the room and told me to finish my homework so I don’t get another B.” He shook his head, “Which apparently I’m better than,” he said with a small grin.

“Yeah.” He nodded, rising to his feet and pausing at that, a grin brightening his expression. “Dude, you got a B? Good job.” He patted Scott’s shoulder proudly. “But yeah, that sounds like our Lydia.”

Scott nodded, beaming, “Thanks and yes. That woman is a slave driver, good luck with that.” He said with a snort, but it was playful. “I’ll be up as soon as I’m done with this chapter, then I gotta shower cause damn I smell me even if you can’t smell it.” he chuckled. “But leave room for me okay?”

Stiles chuckled involuntarily. Considering his own study habits were pretty strenuous usually, he couldn’t say much about Lydia, really. “Don’t worry, dude. I don’t think either of us sleeps as well if you’re not there, too...weird as that probably sounds.”

Scott glanced up and grinned. “That doesn’t sound weird to me at all.” he chuckled, “Which is probably weird.” He told his friend amused.

“Does it not seeming weird mean we’ve reached whole new levels of weird-dom? Because it feels like that might be a good indicator.”

Scott chuckled, “Absolutely. But there are weirder things out there so I’m not worried.” He said with a shrug. “Though I am worried about what this is going to do to my sleeping patterns when Mom and I eventually go home,” he frowned. “What if I can’t sleep without you and Lydia? I’ll have to climb through your window at night,” he joked.

Stiles winced at that. “I’ll leave it unlocked,” he assured Scott, completely serious. Then again, he always had, for that reason, and Scott had always done the same for him. Climbing into each other’s rooms was actually a pretty common thing they did.

Scott grinned, “Cool,” he said and then sighed, “Okay, quit distracting me or I’ll be up all night,” he joked good naturedly. He tilted his head to the side. “She’s still awake; at least her heartbeat has slowed though. It’s been fluctuating.” Scott shook his head, “No clue what she’s doing.” He told his friend before glancing back at his notebook, tapping his pencil on the book lightly.

Stiles wondered if she’d been having another bad dream. He drew in a breath, glancing toward the stairs. He squeezed Scott’s shoulder for a moment, nodding. “See you when you’re all done and not stinky,” he joked, heading for the steps.

Lydia shifted again sliding her body over to Stiles’ side of the bed as she tried to get comfortable. She wasn’t sure what time it was, but Allison had left at least forty minutes ago after coming up to check on her. Lydia had been close to falling asleep several times, but whenever she closed her eyes, something jolted her awake.

She huffed and moved onto her back so she was glancing at the ceiling. The bedroom was dark but her eyes had long since adjusted to the lack of light. She should probably get up and change out of her school clothes, but honestly she was feeling too lazy for that at the moment.

Lydia’s thoughts drifted to Stiles again and her gaze moved to where her phone sat on the bedside table. She pursed her lips. No, she wasn’t calling him. He was a big boy and she would know if he was in trouble. Despite the odd feelings she’d been getting from him a while ago, everything seemed okay. What she needed was to clear her mind and get some damn sleep.

Lydia took a deep breath and let it out slowly before moving onto her side facing away from the door and towards the wall. She wrapped an arm beneath the pillow and focused on slowing her breathing down despite the rapid beating of her heart.

Stiles opened the door as quietly as he could, peeking in and spotting her curled up on the bed, right in the middle where he usually slept. Despite everything else that was going on, despite knowing that they were going to have a Peter Hale shaped issue to deal with in the near future and despite knowing how he was likely going to have to deal with said issue, he smiled a little at the sight.

He stepped inside the room, closed the door quietly and moved silently to the bedside. “Lydia?” he whispered, almost inaudibly. He sat down on the edge of the mattress, sliding his shoes off as he did so, and then scooting them under the bed so no one would trip on them accidentally. He laid down beside her, facing her, though her back was to him. He pressed a soft kiss to her hair and wrapped an arm around her.

The tension in Lydia’s body eased considerably at the feel of Stiles sliding into bed beside her, his arm tugging her closer. She placed a hand on his and let out a short breath. “You’re home,” she said softly. Lydia scooted back a bit until Stiles was pressed up against her. “You were gone for a while,” she commented lightly.

“Yeah, longer than I anticipated,” he said softly, lacing their fingers together at her waist. “Sorry. I didn’t mean to worry you. Scott told me you were anxious.” He laid his head down on her pillow, scooting them over slightly closer to the wall to make room for Scott when he was ready to show up and join them.

Lydia arched an eyebrow. Scott was a tattle tale, she thought in amusement. “I’m fine,” she corrected, “Mildly worried, but I knew you were alright.” She responded. Lydia was silent for a minute, “Hold me tighter,” she requested softly.

Stiles shifted closer to her, tightening his arm around her. “I was completely fine,” he assured her.

“Where did you go?” She asked curiously. Despite the fact that she had known he wasn’t at the house, she hadn’t been able to pinpoint his location, not that she tried. Lydia didn’t want to pry or keep tabs on him. She’d rather just ask.

Stiles was quiet for a moment, rubbing his thumb over the back of her hand. “I went to see Peter,” he said softly. He winced a little, feeling her tense against him.

“Why would you do that?” She asked swallowing hard. “I told you last night I was fine. It’s fine. It was just a dream,” she told him her voice barely a whisper. “You shouldn’t have gone there.” She said the tension back in her body as she turned in Stiles’ arms carefully so she was facing him now.

He rubbed his hand over her arm as she gazed at him and he exhaled slowly. “It wasn’t just a dream,” he said very softly. “Peter was trying to use his connection to you to get into your head. Why, I don’t know. But he was there last night, and it wasn’t just...a nightmare.” He reached up and tucked some hair behind her ear.

Lydia swallowed heavily, her chest tightening. She wished she were surprised. Last night had felt too real, and now she knew why. Lydia dropped her gaze from Stiles’ her eyes falling to his chest. She reached out hesitantly before resting her hand there. “Peter is dangerous,” she told him quietly. “I wish you wouldn’t put yourself at risk like that...I-we’ve already almost lost you. It’s not something anyone wants to go through again.” She would deal with Peter. She wasn’t giving him what he wanted. Lydia wouldn’t betray Derek like that.

“Peter isn’t the only one.” His voice was quiet. He was silent for a moment. “But I have an idea about how to keep him from getting into your head again. We’re gonna need Deaton’s help for it, but if a connection can be made -- especially an unwanted one -- then that connection can be severed, too.” At least in theory. He hoped.

Lydia was silent for a minute as she glanced up and caught his gaze. “You were able to keep him out,” she stated. “Maybe our connection is stronger.” She suggested quietly, “It’s changing; I can control it a bit better now.” Lydia admitted.

Stiles nodded slightly. “We can work on it. Do the meditation more often.” He smiled very faintly. “I can feel Scott now, too. It’s not as…” He paused, considering his words. “Intense? But it’s more familiar. If that makes sense.”

Lydia nodded, “I can feel him too. Small things like when he’s angry or nervous or upset. It’s different from the way I feel you though,” she shook her head. “I’m not fighting it as much anymore. I’m trying not to anyway.” Lydia paused, “This is going to sound crazy, but I think Peter was right. When I went to see him with Derek, he told me to stop fighting the connection,” she explained.

“I think maybe if I let you in and you stop trying to block me out,” she said pointedly knowing there were things Stiles didn’t want her or Scott feeling, “That maybe those intense outbursts will stop,” Lydia paused pressing her lips together, “Uh, so did I tell you there were some intense outbursts of emotion.” She asked with half a smile, knowing she hadn’t for the simple reason of not wanting him to worry. Sometimes her mouth got her in trouble.

“Yeah, he mentioned something similar to me,” he told her, nodding. He exhaled, wincing at the mention of intense outbursts. “So I’ve been trying to make things easier and all it’s done is literally make things even worse.” He chewed his lower lip. He let his eyes close for a moment. “So then we stop fighting it. If that’s what’s going to make it easier.”

Lydia brushed her thumb against Stiles’ chin, “Not worse,” she responded, “It’s just you hold back all this emotion and then it comes through for a few minutes. It’s usually quick, but it does kind of make me a little sick,” she admitted, “But then you lock it all back up which just isn’t good. For you I mean.”

Lydia nodded at his suggestion and shifted closer to him, “Just, just let me in,” she said softly, “And I’ll let you in and we’ll see what happens.” she whispered.

Stiles swallowed hard, his heart skipping a beat at the feel of her thumb against his chin. Somehow he managed to focus on her words. “I guess that makes sense. Holding them back too long makes them...turn into a kind of tidal wave?” he asked, wanting to make sure he understood.

Lydia nodded.

“We’ll try it,” he agreed.

Lydia tilted her head, “Okay.” She let out a breath she hadn’t realized she was holding. “I’m so tired, I haven’t been able to sleep something keeps waking me up.” She brushed her hand against her nose, “You’re staying now right? Not going anywhere else? And what about Scott? Is he coming up soon?”

“I’m staying,” he assured her especially if she was going to try and sleep. He had a feeling the only reason Peter hadn’t gotten whatever he wanted inside her head the night before was because of their own connection. “Scott was gonna finish up some reading and take a shower before coming up.”

He shifted slightly so that he was lying on his back, tugging her closer to him so she could lie her head against his chest if she wanted.

Lydia went willingly curling up against him, her arm wrapping around his midsection as she rested her head on his chest beneath his chin. She slid her leg against his situating herself until she was comfortably draped against him. “Good, I don’t sleep well when you’re gone.” she admitted, “I like having you guys here.”

Stiles smiled softly, letting his eyes close as he wrapped his right arm around her. “Yeah. Same here,” he murmured. “I don’t sleep well without you guys either.”

Lydia smirked, her eyes heavy. “It’s because we’re good cuddlers,” she joked yawing. She could feel her body getting heavy as her eyes fluttered shut. “G’night,” she mumbled against his chest.

“The best,” he agreed with a smile, closing his eyes, too. “Night, Lydia.”

Her lips brushed lightly against his chest when she shifted her head finally letting sleep claim her.


Michael ran his hand through his hair as he glanced in the mirror. He stared at his reflection for a minute before pursing his lips. There was no reason to be nervous. This was just two people grabbing a bite to eat. He took a deep breath and let it out slowly. Okay, maybe not just two people. Him and Melissa. He had finally gotten up the balls to ask if she wanted to grab dinner the other night after Allison went home and Scott went to do his homework. Lydia had been resting and Stiles had been out and Michael figured there probably wouldn’t be a better time to ask especially with their lives.

Michael cleared his throat, stepped away from the dresser and grabbed his sheriff jacket off the bed. He’d take it off in the car so the kids didn’t get suspicious. He sent one more fleeting glance at the mirror before making his way downstairs. He could hear Lydia talking to Stiles and Scott and he smiled. They were studying, something that they did a lot lately. Michael was glad. The last thing he wanted was for Stiles to fall behind, not that he was too worried. His son was smart.

He made his way down the hallway and stepped into the kitchen in time to see Scott groan and drop his head to the table. He arched an eyebrow. “Everything okay in here?” He asked lightly.

Lydia glanced up and nodded as she flipped a blue index card over. “Yes, Scott just got his third question in a row wrong so he lost five points.” She explained as she placed a green index card in front of Scott.

Michael glanced at his son, “Do I want to know?”

Stiles grinned. “Lydia invented a game for chemistry studying,” he informed his dad. “It’s not Scott’s best subject, but we’re working on it.” He patted Scott’s arm supportively. “Right, Scott?”

Scott looked up and glared at his friend, but it dissipated immediately at the grin on Stiles’ face. He huffed, “This game is stupid,” he whined.

Lydia rolled her eyes and glanced at the Sheriff. “It’s reward based because studies show that’s a more effective way to study for most teenagers.” She explained. “Scott is irate because he just lost some of his reward.” She told him moving the cards about again.

“I’m not irate,” Scott grumbled. He glanced at Stiles, “I thought we were going to do teams, Stiles you should be on my team.” He announced.

Michael chuckled. They were already all like siblings...not that he was thinking of them being siblings, but they certainly acted like they were. It was nice.

Stiles’ grinned brightened when his dad laughed and he shrugged a shoulder. “We need a fourth person for equal teams. We should recruit someone.” He paused, a faint smirk tugging at his mouth. “Like Kira.”

He watched his best friend’s face light up at the mention of the other girl and he gave Lydia a knowing look. Then he looked up at his dad. “Are you going into work?”

Michael cleared his throat and nodded. “Yeah, I’ve got some overdue paperwork to deal with. But I won’t be back late. If you guys want to invite Kira over you can,” he offered knowing Stiles probably already knew he didn’t mind, but wanting to clarify.

Lydia spoke up before Stiles could say anything. “I’ll tell you what Scott; if you get the next two questions right then we’ll call Kira to come over.” She smirked, “That will be your reward.” She told him.

Scott straightened up and glanced at the cards across the table top. “You’re on.” He said immediately.

Lydia arched an eyebrow when she heard the sheriff let out a small noise, grin on his face. She returned the smile. “It’s all about finding the right motivation,” she said in a loud whisper.

Stiles shook his head in amusement. He smiled up at his dad. “Sounds good.” He rose to his feet, hesitating only a second before wrapping his arms around his dad in a tight hug. “Don’t work too hard.”

Michael hugged Stiles back, “I won’t,” he said lightly patting his sons back before releasing him. “There’s dinner in the fridge,” he said pointing, “Melissa made meatloaf.”

Vaguely he remembered Isaac making a comment once about how much he loved Ms. McCall’s meatloaf. He glanced toward the fridge, wondering how much she’d made. “And you’re gonna miss out on that?” he teased. “Are you feeling okay?”

“Yeah, I um,” he paused running his hand over the back of his head, “I had some earlier because I knew I’d be heading out.” He said with a smile.

Lydia glanced up curious at the tone of the sheriff’s voice. She tilted her head to the side and watched him and Stiles as he started talking again.

“I should head out, that paperwork isn’t going to sign itself,” Michael joked nervously.

Stiles arched his eyebrows, glancing at Scott sideways before looking back at his dad. “Okay. Well, then see you soon.” There was something not quite right about his dad’s story but he couldn’t figure out exactly what it was, either. He just knew his dad wasn’t telling the whole truth. Which was weird. Usually he was the one keeping secrets.

“Have a good evening, Sheriff,” Scott told him, looking from Lydia to Stiles’ dad.

Lydia grinned and waved.

Michael lifted his fingers and waved stiffly back before clearing his throat again. “Okay well behave,” he said, “See you three later.” He added as he turned around and walked back out of the room heading for the garage and his car all the while thinking that had been a close call.

Stiles looked at Scott with raised eyebrows after his dad vanished out into the garage. “Okay. That was kind of weird.”

Scott nodded, “Your Dad has been kind of weird lately dude.” He added pushing the index cards around on the table. “I wonder what that’s all about.” He said with a frown.

“Yeah, me too,” he admitted, moving over and picking up his cell phone off the table. He sent a quick text to Isaac. Ms. McCall made meatloaf if you’re interested. My house. Bring Allison.

The reply was almost instantaneous. We’ll be there soon. Scott glanced at Stiles, “I wonder what he’s hiding.” He said his gaze drifting to Lydia, “What do you think?” He asked watching as she piled index cards on top of each other in color order.

Lydia arched an eyebrow. She was pretty sure on some level Scott and Stiles could probably figure out why his dad was acting so strange. Lydia had a theory, but she’d let them catch up knowing they would eventually. She shrugged, “No idea,” she said lightly.

Stiles smiled at Isaac’s response, not the least bit surprised. He set his phone down again, then moved over to the refrigerator, pulling out the meatloaf. “I’ll go ahead and pop this in the oven to heat it up.” He’d let Isaac and Allison be a surprise for his friends. They were all slowly starting to come back together again and he figured this would help.

Within a few moments of returning to the table, Scott had guessed the correct answers on the next two questions in Lydia’s game, and they called Kira, as well. She’d brought over cake earlier that week -- chocolate, very lopsided, but tasty nonetheless. He decided he liked Kira a lot, and seeing his best friend look so happy when he was around the girl didn’t hurt in the least. If Scott was happy, Stiles was happy.

Scott stood, “I’m going to go change,” he glanced down at himself. “Before Kira gets here.” He explained, “More studying later,” He called out as he jogged toward the steps.

Lydia shook her head, grin on her face as she watched him go. “He’s hopeless,” she said affectionately. She was actually glad Kira was stopping by. She hadn’t gotten many chances to see the other girl since she helped save Stiles’ life. Kira was definitely growing on her. She was funny and pretty smart too. Lydia was determined to bring Kira into their group -- they could use another girl.

Stiles smirked, watching his best friend head up the steps. “Yeah, but he’s happy so.” He shrugged. Then he turned his attention to Lydia. “Okay, quiz me.” He grinned at her.

Lydia arched an eyebrow, “But you know them all,” she said with a smile, “Plus I don’t have any incentives,” she added even as she shuffled the cards.

“Good grades are the incentive,” he informed her.

Lydia chuckled, “But you get those without me,” she told him as she held up a card with the word ‘acid anhydride’ on it. “Define it.” Lydia said simply.

“An organic compound that has to acyl groups bound to the same oxygen atom,” he told her, leaning back in his chair.

Lydia bit the inside of her cheek. “You’re looking quite smug,” she said her tone amused. “It’s not fun when you know all the answers.” She said even as she dug for another card. “Where’s Ms. McCall tonight?” she asked casually while she searched for a harder word.

“She went to the hospital for awhile.” Stiles paused, cocking his head and looking toward the garage. “She said she had some paperwork she needed to do.” Suspicion flickered through him and he arched his eyebrows. “Huh. Interesting coincidence.

Lydia arched an eyebrow, “Oh did she?” She asked lightly. “Hmm,” she lifted a blue card with the word ‘chirality’ on it. “I guess paperwork is a popular thing,” she told him as she caught his gaze, her lip twitching at the corner.

“On a Friday night no less.” Stiles smirked, studying the card and reciting the definition. At least he wasn’t going to be behind in chemistry.

Lydia tossed down the card. “Friday nights are popular for paperwork,” she added with a glance, “I remember when Friday night was date night.” She responded with a dramatic sigh as she put the cards down again and leaned back in her seat. “I wonder if people still do date night on Friday,” she pondered playfully, “Flowers, candy, making out in dark theaters and cars.”

He snorted. “Wouldn’t know. Never been on an actual date. Like...ever.” He shrugged and rose to his feet, moving to kitchen portion of the room and rummaging through the cabinets. “So what kind of vegetable do you want with the meatloaf? Green beans? Peas?” he asked, glancing back over at her.

Lydia stared at him for a solid minute, “Wait, what...forget the vegetables I don’t care.” She said leaning forward. “You’ve never, I mean, that can’t be true...can it?” She asked herself mostly. “I’ve seen you with girls...I mean you know, um I’ve...yeah no that sounds weird too.” She waved away her words. “Not even one date?” She asked without judgment, just surprise.

“Well we can’t just have meatloaf,” he pointed out, looking between the two cans of vegetables and deciding on the green beans. He turned to glance at her, raising an eyebrow. “Oh, it’s true. I mean, we went to winter formal together but I think we probably both agree that didn’t exactly qualify as a date.” Plus the night had ended horribly. Thanks to Peter Hale.

Lydia tilted her head to the side, “Well I don’t know...I had a nice time. You were sweet, we danced...and then at the end of the night you kind of saved my life,” she added watching him closely as she spoke, “So you can probably add that to a successful date column,” she responded. Peter had told her about that when she went to see him with Derek, but Lydia hadn’t exactly found a minute to bring it up since then...until now anyway.

Stiles stilled at that, freezing in place for a long moment and holding his breath before turning to look at her with slightly wide eyes. No doubt she could feel his shock at her words. How the hell had she found out about that? He wanted to point out that yeah, they’d danced...and then she’d gone to look for Jackson. But he remained silent, just staring at her.

Lydia tried not to wince at the emotions that came from him in a rush. Not because they were overwhelming, but because she got a distinct feeling of Stiles feeling inadequate. At least momentarily. There was surprise and a few other things thrown in that she would file away for later. “I know that night was far from perfect.” She said quietly, “I know I was far from perfect.” She’d been too worried about Jackson to really care all that much about Stiles. “I was sort of bitch and I left you in the middle of our dance.” Lydia pressed her lips together. “I regret that now,” she said honestly as she tapped her fingers against the table.

Lydia swallowed hard and glanced back up at Stiles, “But if I had the night to do over...I’d stay you know.” She admitted softly. “I just...I’m a little curious why you didn’t just tell me what happened.” She should have known Jackson didn’t save her. He hadn’t been at the hospital when she woke up. Stiles had, which should have told her something then.

“You weren’t a bitch, Lydia.” Stiles shook his head, drawing in a breath and moving to find a can opener. This wasn’t a conversation he’d ever really expected to have with her and mostly he wondered how she’d found out the truth at all. “I knew you didn’t have those feelings for me, and I wasn’ know, I wasn’t expecting anything.” He pursed his lips, pouring the can of green beans into a pan and setting it atop the stove.

“As for the rest…” He hesitated. “I wanted you to have at least some good memory of the dance. I mean obviously the way it ended wasn’t good, possible ending for the night.” He didn’t look at her as he turned on the stove. Jackson may have been an asshole to her for the rest of the night, but he had shown up and taken her to the hospital, at least.

Lydia could feel his confusion as he spoke and when he finished she nodded. “I see,” she said lightly before answering a question she could practically hear him shouting even though he’d said nothing. “Peter told me you know. What you offered him,” she told him, her voice quiet.

Maybe it was time for her to clue Stiles in on the fact that she’d be open to a redo on their non-date...except this time Stiles is the only person she’d want to spend her night with. Lydia bit the inside of her cheek. “Stiles, maybe, if you wanted to we could-”

“Ready!” Scott called out stepped into the kitchen loudly cutting off Lydia’s words. He glanced at Stiles. “Do I look okay?” He asked brushing his hand down his shirt.

Stiles’ face went stricken at that, and he held his breath. He wondered if Peter also told her what he’d offered him that same night. Somehow he doubted it. It wasn’t a conversation he was sure he was ready to have. He wasn’t sure he’d ever really be ready to have that talk, really.

But he relaxed a little at the sound of his best friend’s voice as he reappeared, and he turned to face Scott. “Yeah, dude. You look fine.”

Scott grinned, “Awesome, she’ll be here in ten minutes.” He said as he plopped down at the table and smiled at Lydia.

Lydia returned his smile half-heartedly before gathering up the index cards on the table. “I’ll just clean this stuff up,” she told them lightly.

Stiles felt her disappointment and realized that even though he hadn’t wanted to, she’d wanted to talk about that night. He turned, looking at her for a moment. Soon, he thought, holding his breath. They’d talk about it soon whether he wanted to or not.

Scott frowned, “What’s going on?” He asked glancing between Lydia and Stiles.

Lydia arched an eyebrow and shook her head, “Nothing,” she responded with a smile, “You worry too much McCall.” Lydia pushed her chair back and stood. “I’m going to go run a brush through my hair before people actually come here. I can’t look this casual,” she said scrunching her nose.

Scott watched her for a minute and then smiled, “Of course not.” He joked as he watched her pick up the cards and glance at Stiles for a second before heading for the stairs calling out that she’d be right back.

Scott’s gaze drifted to Stiles, “Everything good?” He asked at the mixed emotions he was getting from Stiles.

Stiles watched her go, then sighed softly, rubbing a hand over his face. “She knows. About the night of the winter formal.” His voice was quiet. “Apparently Peter told her about it when she went to see him.”

Scott’s brows drew together, his mouth forming an ‘o’. He was silent for a minute. He scratched the back of his neck, “Okay...I’m failing to see an issue with that.” He told his friend continuing before Stiles could say anything, “I mean it’s a big deal, guys care about each other. Is it so bad if she knows?” He asked with a small smile. Scott was rooting for his best friend and Lydia even though they both claimed there was just friendship there, well at least that what Stiles claimed. Lydia had stopped actively denying it months ago.

Stiles scratched the back of his neck and let out a breath. “Kind of ruins the one good memory of the night with Jackson for her,” he said quietly. And he wasn’t convinced that was a good thing really.

Scott sighed and stood up from his chair. He walked over to Stiles and patted his friend on the back. “I have a feeling Lydia isn’t really looking at it that way. But if that’s what you’re worried about, talk to her or better yet you can feel her dude,” Scott grinned, “Listen to those feelings. But not now,” he added, “We’re having people over. You can deal with your Lydia issues later,” he joked trying to lighten the mood.

Scott was probably right about that, but he felt so conflicted about the whole thing personally. He was relieved when the doorbell rang. “That is...more than likely for you, dude.”

Scott grinned. “My date,” he said patting Stiles chest and then shifting forward and heading for the door. He was looking forward to spending some time with Kira. He gripped the handle on the door and pulled it open surprise crossing his face when he saw Allison and Isaac standing there instead of his girlfriend-well soon to be girlfriend-. “Hey guys, I didn’t know you were coming over,” he said with a grin as he opened the door wider.

Isaac smiled at him. “Stiles told us your mom made meatloaf and that we should come join you guys.” He hesitated. “That’s cool, right?” There was a hint of uncertainty in his tone and he looked back at Allison when she squeezed his arm.

Scott grinned and reached out tugging Isaac gently inside. “Of course that’s cool. I should have realized the second meatloaf was involved you’d be here,” he joked good naturedly. Scott’s gaze drifted to Allison and his expression softened, “Hey,” he said his voice light.

Allison smiled softly at him. “Hey,” she greeted in return. “He wasted no time dragging me over when Stiles texted. Your mom’s meatloaf must be amazing.” Her voice was light, too.

“You have no idea. It’s incredible,” Isaac informed her, moving inside the house.

Scott chuckled. He was about to close the door behind them when he spotted Kira. His face lit up, “You’re here,” he said once again opening the door wider.

Kira smiled back at him. “I am. I was invited.” Her voice was teasing.

Scott had a silly grin on his face as he closed the door behind her.

Isaac glanced behind him to see who Scott was talking to and he smirked when he spotted Kira. It looked like Scott was definitely pursuing what he wanted, as was Isaac. He slipped his hand into Allison’s and threaded their fingers together right as Lydia made her way down the stairs.

She blinked and then smiled, “Hey, I didn’t know you guys were coming over.” Lydia stepped off the last stair and made her way over to Allison catching her friends interlocking hands.

“I invited them,” Stiles spoke up from the kitchen. “Dinner’s not quite ready but it will be soon,” he called. “Make yourselves at home.”

Isaac nodded at the redhead, “Hi Lydia.”

Lydia glanced at Isaac amused, “Hi Isaac.” She shook her head and then leaned over enough to see Scott and Kira. “Hey Kira,” she said with a smile.

Scott placed a hand at the small of Kira’s back infinitely glad she and Lydia were getting along now.

“Hi,” Kira said with a bright smile at the other girl. “How’s it going?”

“Good,” Lydia said with a smile, “Have I mentioned it’s nice to have some girls here,” She said eyeing Scott before glancing between Allison and Kira. “I’m forever surrounded by boys.” She joked.

Scott snorted as he guided Kira further into the room, “You love us, don’t complain.”

Allison grinned, draping an arm over Lydia’s shoulders. “Here to save you, don’t worry. We’ll help balance out the testosterone.”

“Thank god,” she said with a grin. “Are we doing a movie with dinner, Stiles?” She called out loudly into the other room as Isaac shifted his head back.

“No screaming,” he said with a mock flinch.

Lydia just rolled her eyes as she waited for Stiles answer.

“Sure. We can if everyone wants to. Feel free to raid the collection downstairs or in my room for the better movies.” He grabbed some plates out of the china cabinet, setting them on the counter near the stove.

Allison glanced toward the stairs. “We’ll do that.” She grabbed Lydia’s hand and pulled her toward the steps.

Lydia glanced over her shoulder with a smile, “Come with Kira, let the guys take care of dinner.” She said already making her way up the stairs with Allison.

Kira hesitated, glancing at Scott for a moment, and then following the other two girls, leaving the guys alone in the kitchen.

Scott pouted, “Lydia’s in so much trouble,” he grumbled moving over to Stiles with Isaac listening as the girls laughed on their way up the stairs.

Lydia had guided them to Stiles bedroom shutting the door once they were all inside and plopping down on the bed. She grinned, “I haven’t had nearly enough girl time lately,” she commented motioning for them to find a seat. Lydia guessed she probably could have brought them into the guest room since all of her stuff was in their now.

The guys had been good about helping her bring everything over, but Stiles room, was much more hers than the guest room.

Allison arched her eyebrows; both surprised and amused at how easily Lydia made herself right at home in Stiles’ bedroom. And on his bed. Granted, she knew that most nights, the two of them were sharing a bed because Lydia had admitted that much to her the other day.

“You haven’t really protested all the guy time,” she teased, moving to sit down on Stiles’ desk chair, and rolling the chair over to Stiles’ collection of DVDs stacked neatly on a shelf in the corner.

“Well of course not, I like guys,” she grinned as she shifted back so her feet didn’t reach the floor.

Kira bit her bottom lip, “Maybe certain guys,” she said lightly.

“Specifically one who lives in this house and oh, interesting. To whom this bedroom belongs to.”

Lydia snorted, “I’ve claimed this bed as my own. It’s more comfortable than the guest room bed and it’s bigger,” and full of warm bodies, she added silently. “And excuse me, but if we’re talking about guys I think the two of you are way more smitten than me.” She glanced at Allison, “Don’t think I didn’t see the hand holding.” She pointed out to her best friend before her gaze shifted to Kira.

“And you baked a cake for Stiles, because you’re nice and because you totally have a thing for Scott,” she added with a knowing look.

“Not denying it,” Allison said casually, trailing her fingers down the stack of DVDs. But she smirked, pulling one out and holding it up for Lydia to see. “But somehow I don’t think Stiles bought a copy of The Notebook for himself.”

Lydia’s head whipped around in Allison’s direction. Her heart warmed at the sight of the movie. Just another reason she should have given Stiles a chance years ago. Lydia arched an eyebrow at Allison, “Stiles is a sensitive guy,” she commented with half a shrug, “I bet he really enjoys Allie and Noah’s story,” she explained.

Kira grinned as she sat on the video game chair near Stiles’ bed. “Or maybe he enjoys spending time with you.”

Lydia smiled, “Well I would hope so since it’ll be hard to get rid of me now that I sort of live here,” she responded with a slight laugh.

Allison smirked. “Well, I doubt the guys are going to want to sit through this one tonight.” Plus it was on the depressing side. She put it back into the stack of DVDs. “What about...Independence Day?” she suggested.

Lydia nodded, “I love Will Smith,” she said before pausing, “Don’t judge me.”

Kira tilted her head to the side. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen that one, but I’m okay with it.” She said with a smile. She didn’t really care what they watched. Kira was just glad she was invited and got to spend some time with Scott.

“Who doesn’t love Will Smith?” Allison asked, arching an eyebrow as she pulled the movie from the stack. She glanced at Kira. “Really? You’ve never seen it?”

Kira shook her head. “It’s probably the only Will Smith one I haven’t seen,” she said sheepishly, “Oh and that one where he comes back to earth with his son or something,” she shrugged.

“After Earth,” Allison supplied. “It was okay. Independence Day is one of his best, though.”

Lydia nodded, “I agree about Independence Day,” she told Kira, “I think you’ll like it.” Lydia said with a small smile. She was silent for a minute as she watched Allison turn the DVD cover over in her hands. “I think Stiles is coming back to school in a week or so,” she commented lightly.

“It’ll be good to have him back,” Kira said with a soft smile. Not that she’d spent a lot of time around Stiles in school, but she imagined it would probably be good for everyone, including Stiles, if he was back in school with everyone else.

“Yeah it will,” Allison agreed.

Lydia nodded. “It will definitely be better when he’s back,” she said picking at the fabric of her skirt before glancing between Allison and Kira, “We should probably head back downstairs. I bet dinner’s all ready by now,” she told them with a bright smile

“I hope so. I’m starving.” Kira rose to her feet, tucking some hair behind her ear and heading for the door.


Lydia put the last of the dishes in the dishwasher pushing it closed tightly, the sound of her friends arguing over who got what seat in the living room making her smile. Dinner had been nice and relaxed. It was good to catch up with Allison and Isaac and to get to know Kira better. The fact that everyone was mostly calm around each other was nice too.

There were a couple of mildly tense moments, but they passed quickly and without incident. Stiles’ emotions seemed pretty steady as did Scott’s. He seemed happier than usual, but Lydia couldn’t blame him. He and Kira made an adorable couple. Isaac and Allison did too. It didn’t go unnoticed to her that everyone was paired up. But that wasn’t important she guessed. Lydia had seen Scott tense up once or twice with the more than friendly physical contact between Isaac and Allison, but he’d released the tension quickly and without anyone outside of probably her and Stiles noticing.

Lydia made her way over to the cabinet and pulled out two bags of popcorn. “I’m gonna need an extra pair of hands,” she called out as she put one bag in the microwave and started it before moving to get two bowls for the popcorn. She pulled open the cabinet and stretched up struggling to reach the bowl. She huffed, without her heels she was at least three inches shorter. It was annoying. Lydia pushed herself up on her toes and attempted to reach it again, this time lifting herself as high as she could.

Stiles made his way into the kitchen, watching her for a moment, a smile tugging at his mouth at the fact that she couldn’t quite reach what she was trying to get. He rested his hands on her waist without thinking about it. “Need some help?” he teased.

His touch startled her making her jump slightly and she nearly lost her balance. “Jeez,” Lydia angled her head back, “Make a sound would you,” she told him before nodding. “I can’t reach,” she said with a sigh. “You guys put everything up so high.”

“I think I’m picking up Scott’s werewolf stealth,” he joked, steadying her easily. Once she was steady on her feet again, he reached up and grabbed the bowls down from the cabinet. “Here you go, Short Stuff.” He smirked.

Lydia’s mouth dropped open, “You’re a terrible person and we can no longer be friends,” Lydia said in one breath as she grabbed the bowls from him, a pout on her face. Her words were teasing, but she sent him a mild glare to show her disapproval of his new nickname for her. “I’ll have you know I am average height for my age and weight.” She pointed out right before the microwave beeped. “You can come up with a more creative nickname for me.” Lydia said while pulling out the bag of popcorn and carefully dumping it in one of the bowls.

He grinned at her indignant tone. “I am. I’m terrible,” he agreed, nodding solemnly. “But I’ll come up with a better nickname. Red?” He asked cocking his head. “No, too uncreative.” He tugged lightly on one of her curls and moved to put the second bag of popcorn in the microwave.

Lydia placed the second empty bowl by the microwave as she watched him. “Like Little Red Riding Hood?” she inquired as she leaned back against the counter amused, “What are you the big bad wolf?” Lydia smirked, “Though you lack the claws.” She pointed out teasing him. “I suppose it’s mildly better than Short Stuff,” she said distastefully.

“No, just red. You know, because of your hair. Though technically it’s strawberry blonde.” He smirked back at her at the comment about his lack of claws. “Strawberry Shortcake?” He laughed.

Lydia arched an eyebrow and held back a grin, “After the food because I’m sinfully sweet or after the cartoon character because I’m adorable and fun loving?” She asked while reaching for the half eaten bag of M&M’s on the counter that Ms. McCall had brought Stiles home yesterday.

“Because of both?” He arched an eyebrow, still grinning at her.

“Then I accept this nickname because it embodies all of my wonderful qualities.” She told him brightly a smile pulling at her lips as the microwave beeped again. She stepped forward and pulled open the door to grab the bag. “Did you happen to secure a good seat for the movie? Because I like this one.” She admitted listening as Isaac and Scott laughed about something in the other room. She held out the bag of popcorn to Stiles while reaching for the bowl.

He took the bag from her and opened it, dumping it into the bowl. “I figured the floor was as good a spot as any. But you can probably get Scott off the couch for a place there instead. You just have to give him that look.”

“You’re going to make me sit alone?” She asked as she shifted back to grab some water bottles from the refrigerator for everyone. “If you’re sitting on the floor that’s fine with me.” She added knowing the second the movie started the couples would most likely be sitting with each other. It seemed she and Stiles were the odd ones out at the moment.

“I didn’t figure you’d want to sit on the floor, but you’re most welcome to join me, SS.” He smirked.

Lydia rolled her eyes, but there was a smile on her face. “Well I’m certainly not going to cramp Allison’s style and try to cuddle up to her and Isaac, and somehow I don’t think Kira will be as keen to share Scott as you are, so looks like you’re stuck with me.” She joked lightly. Lydia grabbed a few bottle and paused, “You know, we should switch. I’ll grab the bowls of popcorn and you come get the water from me. You have longer arms; you’ll be able to carry more.” She told him.

“Wait, you mean because Kira and Isaac are here, we can’t cuddle with our best friends? That’s just not right.” His tone was light and he scooped up all the bottles of water in his arms and carried them into the living room, following her.

Lydia followed him into the living room amused. She handed one bowl to Scott and Kira who were on the couch and the other to Allison who was on the floor with Isaac.

Scott grinned, “Thanks.” He pointed to the other half of the couch, “We saved you and Stiles seats,” he told her with a grin as he rested his arm on the back of the couch behind Kira. No, Scott had not been listening to their conversation...that would be wrong.

“Awesome.” Stiles grinned at his best friend and then dropped down beside him on the sofa, patting the cushion beside him for Lydia to join him.

Lydia held up a finger and made her way over to turn off the lights.

Scott shifted his foot and bumped into Allison, “Sorry,” he said sheepishly.

Allison shifted over slightly, craning her neck back to look at him. “No big deal. Are we ready? Kira’s never seen this before.”

Isaac tilted his head back since he was sitting in front of Kira, “Really? It’s good, you’ll like it.” He said matter-of-factly. He didn’t think he’d ever met anyone who didn’t like it...then again his circle of friends was pretty much currently present. Isaac didn’t get out much. He hesitantly reached out and rested his hand over Allison’s as he watched Lydia walk back over to the couch and sit beside Stiles.

Stiles draped his arm around the back of the sofa as Lydia sat down and he handed the bowl of popcorn to her with his free hand. “Let’s get the party started.”

Lydia glanced at Scott and almost as if he felt her looking at him he turned his head. She pointed to the television. “Start it,” she said with a short laugh.

Scott glanced down realizing the remote was on his lap. “And for the second time,” he pointed the remote at the television and pressed play, “Here we go.” He said with a grin dropping the remote beside him as he let his hand fall on Kira’s shoulder, while his other shoulder rested against Stiles. He glanced around briefly at his friends...his pack and couldn’t help the grin that pulled at his lips. Things were finally starting to get back to normal and he couldn't be happier.


Melissa made her way into the Stilinski household, only taking a couple of steps inside before her gaze moved around the mess of teens that were all over the place. She blinked a couple of times. “I think they multiplied,” she whispered, looking back at Michael with raised eyebrows. “We seem to have acquired three more than usual.” A smile twitched at her mouth.

Michael closed the door quietly and stepped towards Melissa glancing over her shoulder at the teenagers littering the living room and he couldn’t help the grin that pulled at his lips. “I can see that,” he said amused as he rested a hand on the small of her back. “I wish I had a camera at times like these.” He told her quietly.

He tilted his head catching sight of Isaac and Allison, arms wrapped around each other on the floor resting against Scott and Stiles’ legs. “How in the world do they sleep like that?” He asked keeping his voice low.

She shook her head in amusement. “I have no idea.” Her gaze rested upon her son, whose head was on Stiles’ shoulder. Stiles’ head was on Lydia’s shoulder. Kira’s head was resting on Scott’s arm as they all lay clumped together like dominoes that had fallen over on the sofa.

“But.” She pulled her phone from her purse, shooting Michael a bright smile and then taking a couple of pictures with her camera phone. “We’re going to have to get you a better phone. You can’t miss out on opportunities like this, you know.”

Michael looked away from the kids and watched Melissa instead as she took pictures of them. His expression was soft as he rubbed his hand against her back. “That’s what I have you for,” he said softly. “But I guess a better phone would probably be good too,” he told her, “I could always use Stiles’ old one since he has a new one now.”

“There you go. I’ll even show you how to use it.” She patted his arm fondly, then guided him around the sleeping teens and toward the stairs.

“Now?” Michael asked with arched eyebrows as he followed her toward the stairs. He glanced at Melissa out of the corner of his eye as they made their way upstairs.

“Have other plans?” she teased.

Michael chuckled, “No,” he said shaking his head as they stepped into the upstairs hallway. He ran his hand down her arm and took her hand. Their dinner went well, really well and they’d had a good time. But they weren’t entirely sure where this was going so they had decided to keep it from the kids until they were sure that way they didn’t get anyone’s hopes up. “I left the phone on my dresser. I meant to give it back to him, but I forgot,” he said shaking his head.

Melissa laced her fingers through his as they headed for his room to get the phone. She sat down on the edge of his bed, waiting until he did the same, before flipping the phone on and giving him a few basic instructions on how to operate it. “I only know because Stiles showed me how to use my new phone a few weeks ago,” she admitted.

Michael chuckled, “That kid,” he shook his head as he rested his hands flat on the bed beside him. “He could program anything.” Michael told her lightly. He lifted his hand and pointed to the little decal on the screen, “What’s that mean?”

“Oh, that’s where you take video.” She pushed the decal on the screen, pausing when she saw several recently labeled ones such as “Dad,” “Scott,” and “Lydia.” She glanced at him uncertainly.

Michael hesitated, “Can we play those?” He asked her his chest tightening slightly as his heartbeat picked up speed. He didn’t know what the videos said, but a part of him knew they couldn't be good.

She hesitated, too, because she had the same feeling. Wordlessly, she moved to the door, and shut it quietly before sitting down beside him once more. “Are you sure?”

Michael ran his hands over his legs and nodded. “We need to know what they say,” he told her.

She drew in a breath, nodding slightly, hesitating for another second before hovering over the one labeled, “Dad.” She glanced at Michael sideways and then pressed “play.”

After a few seconds, they could see Stiles’ face appear on the screen. It was dark all around him, and he looked broken. Afraid. She’d seen him that way so many times in the recent past that it hurt seeing him on camera like that too.

“Hey, Dad,” he whispered, voice shaky. “I just...I want you to know how sorry I am. For everything I’ve been doing. If I could take it all back…” He shut his eyes for a moment and then opened them again. “But I can’t. And I can’t keep hurting people. I don’t want to hurt anyone else. Please know this isn’t your fault. And...don’t blame Allison’s dad. I called him here. I asked him to -- to stop me. Don’t be mad at him, and...please don’t arrest him. It’s the right thing to do.” He rubbed a hand over his face as he leaned back against a tree. “I’m so sorry. I wish that -- I wish I’d been the kind of kid you deserved. I know I wasn’t. But you’ve been a great dad anyway. I love you.” He looked down. “Take care of Scott for me, okay? Look after him.”

Melissa’s eyes were brimming with tears and when she blinked, they slid down her cheeks, horror filling her.

“And -- don’t eat bacon. It’s bad for your heart.” Stiles managed a feeble smile on screen. “Goodbye, Dad.” The video grew dark.

Michael stared at the small screen, his chest tight. It wasn’t couldn’t be real. He lifted his hand and ran it down his face, his eyes burning with unshed tears. Michael dropped his head and pinched the bridge of his nose. Stiles had wanted Chris Argent to end his life. Thank god he hadn’t. Michael had no idea what to say.

Melissa set the phone back down on the bed wordlessly, reaching up and laying a hand between his shoulder blades. She wasn’t sure what she’d expected when she’d clicked the video, but that definitely hadn’t been it.

Michael closed his eyes, a couple of tears slipping from his eyes. “He’s always trying to protect everyone else,” he told Melissa, “He doesn’t even realize...I have no idea what I’d do without him,” he whispered. “I had no idea it had gotten that bad...that he’d been that close. God,” Michael dropped his head into his hands as he shook his head.

Melissa shifted on the bed, wrapping her arms around him tightly. “Then we make him realize it,” she whispered. “Both of us. All of us.” She swallowed hard.

Michael wrapped his arms around her. “I have no idea if...if he still feels this way. If this is what he wished had happened...if he wanted to be saved.” He shook his head his arms tightening around Melissa. “God,” he whispered again not sure what to say or do at the moment. Too floored that his son would ever think of ending his own life.

“At the time he made this video, he was completely distraught,” she whispered. “But we’ll talk to him. We’ll make sure that he’s...that he’s not feeling like that anymore. Okay?” She rubbed his back gently.

Michael glanced up at Melissa, “I thought things were getting better...I mean, they seem to be don’t they?” He asked his chest tightening. “Do you think the kids know about this?” He asked quietly, “Scott and Lydia didn’t say much about what happened when they saved him...maybe this is why.”

“I honestly don’t know,” she whispered. “I think if Scott knew and he believed there was any chance Stiles felt like this still, he would’ve told us, especially when he went back to school. He wouldn’t have taken the chance.” That much she knew was true.

Michael nodded, “We should talk to him,” he said quietly. “God I’m sorry,” he said glancing at her, “This is not how I planned for this night to go, not that I was planning, but...I’m sorry,” he told her glancing down once again.

“Michael. You don’t need to apologize. Stiles and Scott come first. Always,” Melissa said sincerely. “That’s something that’s always going to be true for both of us.”

He nodded. “I just...It hurts that things got that bad and I wasn’t there to help. These kids go through so much and it’s so hard to protect them from things when they’re in the middle of them.” Michael said shaking his head with a sigh.

“You were there. We can’t be everywhere,” she said sadly. “As much as we want to protect them, their instincts tell them they need to protect us. I hate it.” She sighed, too.

Michael let out a short laugh, “Our kids are driving me to drink,” he joked, “How is it that they are constantly protecting us? And we’re good parents,” he told her. Michael let out a short breath. “I’ll never be able to unsee that.” He admitted.

She rested her head against his shoulder. “They grew up when we weren’t looking.” Because they hadn’t known where to look to begin with. If someone had asked her two years ago if she thought she’d be raising an alpha werewolf, she would have told them they were stupid.

Michael wrapped an arm around her. “They really did. I hate it.” He said gruffly.

“All we can do now is keep trying to guide them. Keep trying to protect them.” And hope that maybe once in awhile they would listen.

Michael nodded as he rubbed her back. He was silent for several minutes just trying to digest everything. He glanced at her and swallowed hard. “Did you want to stay here?” He asked, “Or you can obviously stay in the guest room. I know Lydia’s stuff is in there now but I have a feeling I should prepare myself for that room not to be used as much as I’d like it to be,” he said trying to lighten the mood. The truth was he didn’t particularly want to be alone. He wasn’t sure he’d be able to sleep after what he just saw.

“Why don’t we take a page from the kids’ book and try to watch a movie?” she suggested quietly, nodding toward the television on his nightstand. There was no way she was going to be able to fall asleep easily tonight. Not after seeing that video. Not until she knew that Stiles was okay. But she knew neither of them wanted to wake him from the group to pull him away and ask him.

He nodded, “That’s a good idea.” He said standing and moving over to grab the remote. He turned back around and hesitated, “You can make yourself comfortable,” he told her as he took off his shoes and moved to the head of the bed. “I usually lay on left is that, okay?” He asked while turning on the television.

She slipped her shoes off, too, setting Stiles’ old phone back on top of Michael’s dresser before moving to the right side of the bed. “Of course,” she assured him.

Michael smiled and climbed onto the bed flipping through the channels until he found a movie. “I think this might be one of the only things on,” he said lightly as he shifted on the bed.

“Casablanca.” She smiled faintly, lying down beside him and looking at the TV. “I approve.” She leaned over and kissed his cheek lightly before resting her head on the pillow.

Michael glanced at her and smiled letting himself lay down beside her. He rested a hand on her arm, his gaze on the television. “I’m glad.” He said quietly.

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