Part 2/2. This is more of a continuation than a simple POV switch. Hope you like! :)

Stiles is usually, like, 90% sure he's a real person. Maybe 95% sure. Somewhere between 90 and 95, in any case. It doesn't matter. That's not the point here.

The point is that the other possible option is that he's a figment of someone else's imagination. And really, no one should ever try to get him started on why that might actually be the case, because once he got stoned at a party and went off on anyone who would listen about how they might all just be figments of someone's imagination- but again, that's not the point here.

The point here is that right now Stiles is 99% sure he's just a figment of someone else's imagination. Lydia Martin's, to be specific.

Because sure, he dreams about Lydia on a regular basis. But those dreams definitely do not go like this.

In fact, he's not entirely sure he has control over his own body. She's peering at him in the darkness, muttering about how this is all a dream, and although he's agreeing with her in his head, his lips stretch into a smile and he's saying things he'd never have the balls to say in real life.

And the weird thing is, she seems to like it.

He watches her pupils dilate when he asks her what she wants him to do. How her breath hitches when he impulsively snags her around the waist and rolls them over and nuzzles his face into her neck like he's always wanted to do, and this part is definitely him. He's overwhelmed with the urge to press his skin against hers- not in a sexual way here, just in that way of warm intimacy, so he can smell her hair, feel her soft cheek against his. It's kind of heavenly.

When she says with an air of disgust, "I'm fantasizing about Stiles Stilinski," he's not even mad, just a little surprised.

He's pretty sure if this were his dream she'd be a lot more down with it.

So yeah, as soon as he realized (maybe the logic doesn't make sense, but give him a break, he's literally asleep right now) that this was her dream, he threw caution to the wind. Fuck it. Hell yeah, he's a figment of her imagination. He's totally on board and accepts that completely for the moment, doesn't bother to examine the logic behind his decision in favour of trailing his fingers up her inner thigh and listening to her rapid puffs of breath against his cheek, and kissing her lips repeatedly in light, feather-soft touches that provoke sighs.

Her alarm goes off and he groans, screwing his eyes tightly shut at its incessant blaring. "You couldn't set your alarm for ten minutes later?"

She doesn't say anything at all, just breathes heavily, so he opens his eyes and lifts his forehead off of hers. She's staring at him, and even in the dark he can catalogue the look of every feature on her face- green eyes wide, cheeks and lips flushed, hair strewn messily on the pillow. She's fucking gorgeous and he really cannot handle it right now so he just sighs and kisses her, one last press of their lips, and says, "Well, good morning," because apparently this is her dream so he might as well try to get her day off to a good start.

The moment he winks, everything ends.

But, unlike he suspected, his existence continues. He wakes up in his own bed, bleary-eyed and confused, and remembering every small detail of what just occurred in… his own dream?

He rubs his eyes with the palms of his hands, trying to make sense of what just happened. Well, it's not a traditional Lydia dream, that's for sure. His brain is really kicking it up a notch with the torture. Honestly, if Lydia is still questioning her attraction to him in his wildest fantasies, what chance has he got with her in real life?

Shaking his head at his own idiocy, he gets out of bed and gets ready for school.

He arrives to his first class with Lydia and makes his entrance nearly tripping over his own feet when he sees her. She's lounging in her seat, wearing an obscenely short skirt with heels and touching up her lipstick in the reflection on her phone. She looks up upon his flurry of movement, and unexpectedly, she doesn't give him her usual "pull yourself together" glance like she usually might in this situation but she's- is she-?

He's standing stockstill in the doorway blocking anyone from coming in because Lydia Martin is definitely blushing in his direction.

And that colour in her cheeks looks so much better in the daylight.

Someone breaks him out of his reverie by shoving him in the back, and he stumbles into the classroom. When he finds balance again, her head is bent studiously into the textbook, perfectly curled hair hiding her features from him. He considers saying something.

He doesn't.

Maybe she was thinking about something else. Maybe some really hot dude was behind him in the doorway. Maybe she had a fever.

(Maybe she was blushing because of him.)

He thinks about it, replays and feverishly overanalyzes the same scene over and over in his head. For the rest of the day. More like for the rest of the week. Not longer.

Because then it happens again.

He's gone to sleep, collapsed into bed at three in the morning- when he's suddenly blinking, sitting upright in a chair, in the dark. He's sitting at a desk at school in Coach's classroom and he'd think he'd just fallen asleep in class but well first of all, there's no one else here, second of all, he can see the full moon through the window, and third, Lydia is on his lap with her hands on his face, blinking right back at him with great confusion.

God, this just got fucking weird.

He looks at her for a second. She's wearing the clothes she wore to school that day (as is he) and an inscrutable expression. She presses her lips together, her gaze sliding around the room and back before finally murmuring uncertainly, "...Dream?"

This time when she says it, it's not in disgust, but rather curiosity. He figures that's a step in the right direction.

He's suddenly much too aware that his hands rest on her thighs. "Guess so," he replies, leaning back and trying to grasp control of a situation that he's rapidly losing control over. They stare at each other.

It's like she's waiting for him to do something. She's biting her lip, and he can see the way it changes the shape of her lip because his face is about an inch away from hers and he's far too aware of the sound of her breathing because the only other sound is the steady tick of the clock that regularly drives Stiles nuts during Econ tests.

He's surprised when she's the one that leans down and kisses him.

He's not complaining, at all. He goes willingly.

They simply kiss for a long while, the wet sounds of their lips meeting finally drowning out the enraging sound of the clock in Stiles' ears. He doesn't remove his hands from where they rest, but he doesn't let them adventure anywhere either.

When they break free to breathe, she's… just as into it as he is. He can tell by the way her pupils have blown wide, the way she's licking her lips.

"It's just a dream," Lydia says breathlessly, and he can tell she's speaking to herself more than anyone else.

"Dreams never hurt anyone," he helpfully supplies, and he's talking to himself, too.

Mutually reassured, they nod at each other, and lean back in at the same time. He lets his hands wander a little. Just a little. She doesn't seem to mind, if the little gasps are any indication. Meanwhile, her hands are everywhere, in a frenzy, as if she can't get enough- raking over his torso and arms, pulling at his collar so hard he's tugged deeper into her kiss, running fingers greedily through his hair, forcibly turning his head into different angles- with such rapid speed that he can hardly keep track. All he can do is hold on for the ride. She's practically molesting him. He loves it.

Like all other good things, it ends. One minute she's grinding down into his lap and he's attempting to keep some semblance of his cool, and the next it's over, and he's bolting awake on his computer chair. The sun's shining through the window, he can hear his dad walking around downstairs, and he's definitely going to be late for school.

He looks down and sighs. Well, he'll let Coach skin him, because apparently he has to take care of something first.

It's happened more than a few times now. She discovers through her own meticulous mental record-keeping that the dreams happen mostly when she's stressed, when she's exhausted and falling into bed, and when she's feeling vulnerable.

Everything is normal with him in real life. They smile at each other, talk about the latest brutal murder, and everything is, on the outside, the same. But something has changed. She doesn't know what.

Well, she does. It's her. She looks at him differently- she can't help it- and she knows he notices because his glances linger long after she's turned away, staring at her profile and trying to decipher what's going on in her head because that's just what he does.

She kind of hates that she knows him so well.

"Dreams," says the teacher at the front of the psychology class, startling Lydia out of her reverie. "What do they mean?"

Lydia notices Stiles' head coming up from the circle of his arms where he was probably shamelessly dozing, sitting up straighter.

"The Freudian concept of dreams," begins the teacher when no one replies, "was that they mean something more than what happens. He said there's a meaning behind every dream, something that a psychologist would be able to interpret to understand something beneath the surface that you don't even know."

Lydia sits up straighter, and Stiles' brow is furrowed in her peripheral vision, now fully awake.

"But now we know better," the teacher continues. "We know that you can't predict the future from dreams, and you can't deduce anything about their personality.

"Dreams come about because of incomplete information received by our cognitive centres, so our brain tries to make sense of them by coming up with scenarios. It is purely scientific."

"So… there's really no meaning behind dreams?" asks Stiles weakly without raising his hand.

The teacher pauses to deliver a glare for speaking out of turn but replies anyway. "I was getting to that. Freud wasn't completely wrong," she replies, strolling between the desks. "If you're stressed out about a test, you might have a dream that you failed the night before. It's your brain's way of coping, of making up scenarios to prepare you for their happening in real life. Emotions," she adds, stopping in front of Lydia's desk and tapping her fingers absentmindedly on the wood. "Strong emotions, about a particular subject, will often influence your dreams. So yes, there can still be some meaning derived from a dream, Mr. Stilinski. Does that answer your question?"

He gawks, blinks a few times, nods his head furiously, and bends down to his notebook to scribble something down. Lydia sinks lower into her seat.

As the teacher says, "Now let's move on to the five stages of sleep…" Lydia muses about what strong emotion brings about her regularly occurring dreams about Stiles Stilinski.

She settles on annoyance because she doesn't want to think about the alternative.

More often than not, the dreams are innocent. Happy.

Sometimes they just talk. He wakes up and they're both lying on the school gym floor on their backs, staring at the ceiling. She reaches for him, but he's in a morose mood. It's been a rough day. He kisses her and pushes her gently so that she falls back, but they're still shoulder-to-shoulder. She doesn't seem offended, and they lie there.

He doesn't know why, but after an eternity of comfortable silence he just starts talking.

He tells her about his ADHD. She tells him about her parents' divorce. He tells her about the day he fell in love with her. She rolls her eyes and tells him she's always known.

Another day they wake up in Stiles' bedroom, limbs tangled together, but instead of continuing on with the natural progression that position might lead, he asks her between lazy kisses to play a game of chess with him.

When she settles on the carpet across from him, furrowing her brow at the pieces laid in front of her, it's only a few moves in when she muses, "Since this is a dream, am I playing chess against myself?"

He doesn't know what to say to that. Because he doesn't know if this is her dream, his dream, or if it's real life and he's hallucinating, or something more sinister. He doesn't know, so he just says: "Why do you have to overthink everything all the time?"

"It's a valid question."

"Mmhmm," he says, unconvinced. "The more valid question is, why are you stalling? Can't think of the right move?"

In response, she moves her rook, and Stiles realizes, almost too late, that she's already almost got a checkmate. He quickly gets himself out of the situation, and when he glances up next, he can see that she's impressed.

He grins. "And you were sitting here thinking I was a complete id-" He doesn't get to finish the sentence because she's leaned forward to capture his bottom lip between his teeth, and he forgets about chess for a solid five minutes before they finally start to play again, faces flushed and hair wilder than it was before.

She wins the game, but after a hard-fought battle. Stiles thinks he sees a glimmer of respect in her eyes after he very nearly gets checkmate, but in the end it's her that pumps her fists into the air and shouts joyfully, "Checkmate!"

He pouts to hide a smile, loving her enthusiasm. She's grinning widely, something she doesn't do all that often in real life. He loves when her smile stretches her cheeks, reveals her teeth, makes her eyes sparkle in delight. His imagination is great at creating this image that he's rarely seen, apparently. "Next time I'm going to kick your cute little ass."

She snorts.

It's heaven, he decides later when he wakes up. This place that he has found in his mind- when he falls into bed with every worry weighing on his mind and wakes up somewhere with Lydia Martin bounding forward and he catches her and spins her around and she kisses him, long and hard and sweet, before letting go and saying hello.

He should have known it wouldn't last forever.

Lydia kisses him in real life, frantically trying to stop his panic attack. His lips feel too familiar.

"Why'd you do that?" he asks, breathlessly, almost sadly, which doesn't make any sense. She scrambles for a reply.

"When I kissed you, you held your breath."

(It was instinct.)

When he's dead, after his arms stopped thrashing while she held him down firmly until he drowned and died, she sits on a upturned bucket and cries into the cradle of her fingers. The same fingers that shook and slipped on the cold skin of Stiles' throat and couldn't find a pulse so that she could look up and nod to Deaton.

Someone tells her, at some point, to get some sleep. She's not sure she can. Her best friends, the people that are her everything, are dead in metal bathtubs and no one is sure (even Deaton, she can tell by the thin line of his mouth) if they can be brought back.

So yes, she's stressed out.

The only reason she relents, curling up on the couch under Scott's coat, Allison's scarf wrapped around her shoulders, is because if she falls asleep, she can have a piece of Stiles, too.

So she sleeps, soundly.

She doesn't dream.

And then she wakes up hours later and cries again because she understands now. Her dreams won't return because they're not just her dreams; they're his, too.

A kind of emotional tether.

She stops crying after a while.

He hasn't woken up.

He wakes up, but he's never the same again. None of them are. Their eyes are haunted. She makes light of it, of course, "look who's no longer the crazy one," she says smugly. She's just glad to have the three of them back, but she can't get what Deaton said out of her head. There's a darkness in their souls. There's a part of them, gone forever. She almost didn't believe that, but sometimes when Stiles looks at her, his eyes seem hollow. Almost... void.

She doesn't get dreams about Stiles anymore.

He still dreams about Lydia.

But not the way he wants to dream about her. He wants tickle-fights on Lydia's huge bed, laughing and shoving and ending in sweet peppered kisses across closed eyelids. He doesn't want what happens now: Not this sick, twisted version of what it used to be like, with her warning him in a seductive murmur that's not her own, begging him not to go to the door. Not these nightmares beginning with Lydia rising from his bed and ending with Stiles screaming because he doesn't know what's real. It makes him sick.

He doesn't want to dream about Lydia anymore.

Even when they've exorcised the demon from Stiles- and Stiles says this loosely, because he isn't sure if it really wasn't the other way around- he doesn't feel whole. He doesn't feel as full of life as he used to be. Everything's sardonic smiles, weary eyes. Life is void of colour: black and white, muted greys.

(Except her hair. Her hair is still strawberry blonde.)

Stiles doesn't really sleep much anymore. When he's stressed, he usually spends the night staring at the ceiling. But if he did sleep- he does wonder, sometimes- if he closed his eyes, if he'd end up in a bed with Lydia Martin.

He doesn't really trust himself enough to find out.

It's years later when the dreams start again. Stiles has never expected them to.

But then again, he never expected Lydia Martin to be his girlfriend, but here he is in college, with a beautiful and smart new girlfriend named Lydia Martin, and everyone and their uncle blowing up his phone since they officially got together to express their snide congratulations and tell him about their bets. He doesn't really care. It's been a long day, and he falls into bed and passes out.

It's not his dorm bed, no, it's his childhood bedroom. He still sees the red strings on the board, reaching down to photos and news articles and the blue walls and the well-worn, soft bedspread under his fingers. He's wearing the clothes he fell asleep in, a dark blue tee and print pajamas.

He notices her.

She's next to him on her side, facing him. Her eyes are shiny in the dark.

He's staring at her, and when he speaks, it's both calm yet surprised, but not unfriendly. "Why are you here?"

She doesn't reply at first. Reserved. Which is… different. She was always so free in these dreams. "I don't know," she says softly.

He sighs and sits up straight. "I thought these dreams were over. They stopped after…" he trails off, not wanting to go there right now. She doesn't say anything. Just lies back in the pillows to watch him.

He goes on, staring at his fingers. His head hurts when he tries to count them; he tries several times and then gives up, letting his hands fall back into his lap. "Is this real?" he asks her weakly. "I can't tell anymore, Lydia. It's so hard to tell." His voice breaks a little at the end because he thought those days were behind him for the most part.

She finally speaks. "It's a dream, Stiles."

He exhales shakily at those words. She's not done.

"But that doesn't mean it's not real."

He stares at her and she looks back solemnly, eyes half-lidded in the dark, hair strewn over his pillow and his blankets twisted around her ankles. He laughs, and it's the furthest thing from humorous. "What the fuck does that even mean?"

"It means that the tether is still here," she replies, and she says it wonderingly, as if finally realizing something herself. "I thought it was gone, but…"

The tether. Several things click into his head at once, and the reason that dream-Lydia is so real to him suddenly makes a horrific amount of sense.

"You're the real Lydia," he says.


"We're sharing a dream," he says.


"And you'll remember this when you wake up, too."


There's a blank silence. She doesn't say anything else, just looks at him. Meanwhile, he's running through all the countless dreams he's had with Lydia in them since this entire weird thing started.

"Oh my god," he says finally, running a hand over his mouth. "I said so much weird shit to you."

She laughs, the sound burbling up from her stomach, and she claps a hand over her mouth as if she wasn't expecting it to happen. He doesn't think she was expecting him to say that, and he knows there's more significance to what he's just learned, but at the moment he's stuck on the embarrassment of it all.

He rubs his hands vigorously over his face. "How the fuck was I supposed to know that, when I told you I nearly chopped off my finger with a blender when I was twelve, that you were going to actually remember it?!" Her giggling increases and he shakes his head, running through everything he's said… and, oh god, what he's done…

It clicks, and he's looking at her with new eyes.

"There's more than a few things I might not have said to you if I'd known it wasn't just a dream," she comments.

"'Might'?" He repeats.

She blinks and her brow furrows, as if she hadn't quite realized the significance of the exact words she'd said. But she shrugs and looks down at the comforter, picking at a loose thread. "Maybe I would have told you anyway." Her voice is soft, vulnerable.

He doesn't know what comes over him, but he places his hand to her cheek gently. "Me too," he admits, then pauses. "Well, I probably would've held off from mentioning the Dungeons and Dragons boxers, but, you know."

Lydia smiles again. She places her hand on top of his where it rests on her cheek and leans into it and Stiles feels like he knows heaven from the press of her lips into the cradle of his palm.

"Lydia," he croaks.

"Shh," she murmurs, and her hand travels up his arm to pull him down. He falls beside her, and she curls up against him.

"Lydia," he says again into her hair, lost. "Why?"

"Either be more specific or shut up," she advises, voice muffled against his chest. He grins.

"Why is this happening again after so long?"

She's quiet. "I don't know."

"But you have a theory."

He feels her nod against his shoulder. "We lost parts of ourselves. I think our tether got lost too." She exhales. "Maybe we just found it again."

Maybe we found us again.

There's no words needed. His arms circle her back unconsciously, drawing her closer. She raises her head and pulls him down for a kiss.

He props himself up on his elbow to return it, one hand cradling her face. Unlike many a dream, there's no ferocity. There's just a heat that's been burning in the back of his soul since the day he met her, and it grows in warmth the longer he touches her.

They're still kissing languidly when the scene shifts and the room falls away, and Stiles dimly registers he's back in his dorm room, the sunlight is streaming through the window, but Lydia is still spread out beside him like she was when they both fell asleep.

"Morning," she says sleepily when they part, green eyes still half-closed. She's the most beautiful thing he's ever seen.

He sighs happily. "You know what this means, right? You've liked me since high school."

"Shut up," she says, but it's without heat.

He winks cheesily. "Make me."

She snorts and hauls him in for another kiss, but he's grinning too widely so it doesn't really work for more than a peck. In exasperation, she pushes him off of her, and he falls off the narrow bed.

"Hey," he complains, "that was just rude. I think my elbows are bruised." He lifts his arm to look at his elbow. "You should kiss it better."

She huffs, grabbing her phone from the bedside table and scrolling through her messages.

Well, if she's not going to, he reasons, someone should. He attempts to bring his elbow to his mouth. It isn't working. Huh. He's never actually thought about the fact that he cannot touch his mouth to the tip of his elbow. For some reason, it's infuriating.

Lydia looks down at him at that moment, watching him redouble his efforts from where he's sitting on the floor. "Stiles," she says, "what are you doing?"

He seizes the opportunity. "What do you want me to do?"

She throws a pillow at his face. He catches it, laughing, and soon even she can't help but join in.

If life with Lydia is a dream, he thinks happily, he never wants to wake up.

A/N: I'm on tumblr at arrowcave. if you liked this, please consider leaving a review. I LIVE FOR THAT SHIT. Thank you so much for reading :)

EDIT 12/01/2015: There will be a sequel to this fic because I'm a piece of trash and someone gave me inspiration for it. haha.

EDIT 02/28/2016: The sequel is POSTED, but as a separate fic because it got really long. It's called "Voluntary Apnea" and you can find it on my page. Thank you :)