Author's Note: Hi again! So, after watching the latest episode, I will now officially call this story slightly AU as my version of events will clearly be different from what actually happens. Thanks for all the kind words! Glad that you're enjoying the story just as much as I like writing it!

"I was living in a devil town

Didn't know it was a devil town

Oh Lord, it really brings me down

About the devil town, about the devil town."

Tony Lucca, "Devil Town"

"You need to sleep." Kira comments softly as she takes a small bite of her sandwich. Scott's lies before him on the plate, untouched. He's in shock; he's pretty sure, as the adrenaline of everything that had occurred today was finally wearing off. Weariness and fatigue settle into his veins and he blinks, his eyes suddenly feeling like they are full of sand. The young woman across from him notices this and with a tight frown, gracefully rises from her chair. She comes to his hide and manages to grasp his hand within hers, holding it tightly. "Scott, it's okay."

"It is?" Stiles is back, but at what cost? Never, in all his wildest imaginations, had the teen werewolf thought of this scenario. His best friend is alive and back in control, but Lydia . . .

"Hey." Kira nudges him gently, a smile alighting on her ruby lips. Her presence is soothing and just having this little bit of intimacy between them calms his racing nerves. Lydia is his friend—the two of them had grown closer ever since her whole incident with Peter—and he considers her part of his pack. She's smart; who knows how many problems she's solved for him, but there's so much more to her than that. She's funny, romantic—he's caught her watching The Notebook more than once after a particularly stressfully weekend—as well as fiercely protective of her friends. She's stood up to creatures that could kill her with a simple shove and she's saved his life, not to mention Stiles' during that incident at the motel. She hadn't hesitated then and laid her life on the line for them so Scott wouldn't give up on her now.

She would pull through.

She had to.

"Thanks." He manages to get out through the lump of emotion around his throat as she takes the sandwich and places it on the nearby counter. She regards him carefully, like one might regard a home repair project. Then, before he can ask her what she's thinking, she's helping him out of the chair and leading him down the hall. She stops outside his bedroom door and pushes it open.

"Get some rest." She orders softly. "I'll wait up for your mom. If I hear anything about Lydia, I'll let you know."

"You don't have to." He halfheartedly protests because she must be tired too and though she hadn't had the opportunity to get to know Lydia like everyone else, she still must be a little bit shaken by the day's events. "Kira, I can—"

"You can get some sleep before you pass out," She interjects quietly. "I'm happy to finally be helpful." Something sparks in her eyes and he relents. She presses a kiss to his cheek before finally nudging him towards the door. She waits until he lies on his bed before turning and heading back to the kitchen. The teen stares up at his ceiling and tries to think of nothing.

Images of a bloody Stiles holding Lydia's ashen body fills his mind.

"No." He screws his eyes shut and wills them away. Lydia would recover. She would get better. "She will."

He had to believe in that because if he lost another person close to him, Scott knew he would break.


"Chris." She greets tiredly as she steps off the elevator and into the parking lot. Her keys jingle in her hand as she moves towards the experienced hunter. "Alison is with Lydia." He nods, then opens his mouth to say something before thinking better of it and shutting it. "Everything okay?" That's a stupid question, she thinks, considering that they were on the verge of losing someone once again. How had Scott managed to deal with this before so long?

"The nogitsune," He starts and Melissa freezes, wishing that she never had to hear that name again. The monster wearing Stiles' face brought nothing but chills up her spine. "From what I understand, Lydia was able to use a spell to banish him."

"Yes," Melissa nods her assent, overhearing that bit from Alison. "That's what I gathered." At that, the hunter shook his head and shifted his weight from side to side, almost nervous. "Chris, what is it?"

"The thing is," Alison's father starts, locking onto her gaze. "You can't banish a nogitsune. Not completely, that is." Melissa's stomach drops; her fists clench up.

"She is Stiles' emotional tether—" She wants to scream out, but it simply passes through her lips as a mere whisper.

"Which made the spell work," Chris works out. "But the spirit of the nogitsune would've . . ." His voice trails off as he finishes his train of thought in his mind. The mother stiffens because she knows what he's going to say, but desperately does not want to hear it.

"Chris." That snaps him out of it. His head snaps to attention and slowly, he drags his eyes to hers. Melissa feels her chest tighten; she can barely breathe.

"I think the nogitsune intends to kill Lydia along with itself."

And the world that Melissa McCall knew shatters around her once more.

He remembers the dance.

He remembers the way her arms felt she wrapped them around him. He remembers the way his heart skipped a beat when she smiled at him after he complimented her. He remembers the exact shade of eye shadow she wore because it brought out her eyes even more than usual. He remembers how her strawberry blonde hair curled ever so slightly and whenever she moved, it reminded him of ocean waves.

He remembers the desperation that coursed through his veins when he saw her collapse onto that field, her crimson blood mixing with the dirt beneath her. He remembers begging for her life and forfeiting his own. He remembers waiting at the hospital and the relief that came when he saw she was okay.

I'm going to bring you back.

The picture shifts from the dance and into a dark warehouse. He remembers the knife sliding into her petite form and the expression of pain twisting up her beautiful face. He remembers waking up and seeing her not breathing—

He gasps as his eyes fly open.

In the darkness of his room, he tries to control his pounding heart and shallow breaths. He sits up slowly and tries to find some sense of inner calm. The digital clock on his nightstand informs him that it's almost six am; he's been asleep for almost ten hours and yet, he still feels exhausted.

"Stiles?" His father stands in the doorway, a haggard expression on his face. He's been up for awhile and his cellphone is clutched in his left hand. "You okay?"

"What's wrong with her?" He can sense it, deep within himself. Maybe it's due to his bond with Lydia; maybe not, but he knows that expression on his father. It's an expression that has led to nothing good so far. His father hesitates. "Dad—" The sheriff sighs before coming to stand at the edge of the bed.

"This isn't your fault." He prefaces.

"Just tell me!" He snaps. Then, softly. "Please."

"Alison's dad thinks the nogitsune is in Lydia's mind." That bites like a bullet. "And that, it intends to kill her and itself."

At that moment, Stiles is pretty sure that his heart stops beating.

Author's Note: Next chapter, more action and more Lydia! Please review if you have a moment. Thanks!