A/N: I should be working on In Medias Res, but I had to get this out of my system. Pack as a family, set their first year of college. For some reason all ten of these people are included and part of the pack, and I don't know how or why that happened. Pure fluff, little plot.
Lydia was having a terrible week. She had made a tiny grammatical correction to something her professor had said at the beginning of the year, and he had given her the semester from hell as a result. He pointedly ignored her hand in the air whenever he asked the class to answer questions, and Lydia Martin was not used to being so summarily dismissed. Though it was finally the last day of finals week, and in three hours she wouldn't have to deal with the professor again, the semester couldn't end quickly enough for her. On top of the stress of exams, she was freaking out about where to apply to medical school, even though she was only a freshman, because she knew she wouldn't be able to handle living across the country again. Not with her pack in California. Lydia was the only one who had chosen to go to a college out of state, and though Yale was every bit as challenging and incredible as she had hoped for, she couldn't ignore the growing sadness and yearning for home that accosted her whenever she glanced at her phone and saw her background picture.
The photo was taken on her eighteenth birthday, when all ten of them had somehow managed to squeeze onto a couch at Derek's house. Scott was on one edge, with a laughing Allison held comfortably on his lap. One of Boyd's arms was sprawled across Scott's shoulders, while the other arm held Erica so close that she might as well have been on top of him. Her golden hair spilled onto Isaac as she looked next to her, beaming at Boyd. Isaac had his head tilted back against the cushions, smiling widely down the other side of the couch. In the center of the group, Lydia's legs covered Jackson's, and she sat nearly sideways and laughed as Jackson placed a tiara on her head with a look of adoration on his face that she was still in awe of sometimes. Lydia was leaning back against Danny, who looked like he was in the midst of telling a joke to Isaac. Stiles had an arm looped lightly around Danny's shoulders, and was stretching back with his other hand in an attempt to covertly place a birthday hat on the head of the Alpha. His eyebrows were furrowed in concentration, though he was half-smiling and his eyes were dancing. Derek, for his part, was the only one actually looking at the camera. His elbow was propped on the armrest of the couch, and he was leaning his head into his hand with a smirk on his face, looking relaxed and content and just happy.
Some days, this picture made her smile, and think of yet another story about the group to regale her roommates with. Like the time Scott and Jackson had lost a bet and wound up streaking through school, or the time Stiles had attempted to build a pool in Derek's yard on his own, which had ended in both a trip to the hospital, and eventually a professionally constructed pool. But most days, the picture served to painfully remind her just how long it had been since she had seen her crazy pack. She was currently in the midst of counting down the hours (okay, the minutes) until she could fly home for winter break. Though she had tried to get a flight that left two hours after her last final, recent storms across the country had resulted in a lot of delayed and canceled planes, and Lydia knew she would be very lucky to make it home that night. But she was thinking positively- nothing would keep her from seeing her makeshift family, one way or another. If she had to take a train or a bus or rent a car to take across the country, she was determined to spend Christmas with them.
Lydia walked primly into her last final, prepared to show the professor what a talented student he had ignored out of pride. She glanced one last time at the picture on her phone, smiling at the "good look on your test" text she had received from Jackson, and tried to concentrate with the prospect of home threatening to engulf her. She gathered her focus, and knocked the final out of the park- just as she knew she would. As she handed the exam in, she felt a weight lift from her shoulders, until she stepped outside and discovered that a snowstorm had started during the final. It had been snowy before, but another storm would probably not mean good news for her impending flight. She whipped out her phone impatiently, to check the weather report for the next 24 hours, and slowly walked toward her dorm with her head down. She was so engrossed in the weather that she didn't hear the laughter surrounding her until a snowball whacked her in the leg. Mouth falling open in shock and disdain, Lydia furiously turned around to face her assailant and give them the tongue lashing of a lifetime. What she was met with brought tears to her eyes.
The pack, all nine of them, were standing together not fifty feet away. They were in various states of weather-appropriate clothing, and her eyes caught on a t-shirt-and-shorts-clad Scott, who must have lost a bet or something. Stiles had leapt on Derek's back, and Derek was begrudgingly holding onto his legs while pretending to be annoyed. Allison looked like a magazine cover, with her boots and hat and scarf and the umbrella she was twirling above Scott's head to protect him from the snow. Erica was sitting on Danny's shoulders, sticking her tongue out to catch snowflakes in her mouth. Jackson was probably responsible for the errant snowball, as he, Boyd and Isaac were flushed from chasing each other around the courtyard, attempting to mash snow in each other's faces. But all of them stopped what they were doing when they saw her, and there was a loud chorus of "LYDIA!" before they raced toward her, slipping on the icy ground and grinning widely.
Jackson reached her first, and legitimately tackled her to the ground. He rolled as they fell so that she was on top of him, and didn't get soaked by the snow. She had just enough time to smile at him, wiping tears from her eyes, before Scott jumped on them, and someone (she suspected Stiles) yelled "DOG PILE!" And Lydia didn't even care that her hair was dripping with freezing water, or that her face was being smushed by Scott's chest, or that she suddenly had the weight of a pack of wolves on top of her, because she finally felt whole again.
As the pack disentangled themselves and stood, breathless and laughing, Lydia felt like she had a million questions. "What are you guys doing here?! When did you get here? How did you get here?! How did you know where to find me?!"
Jackson smiled gently, his arm draping casually over her shoulders. "We came to surprise you. I think we all know your dorm address backwards and forwards by now- thanks to your subtle hints about care packages- and it wasn't hard to find your room. And then we decided to wait for you to finish your test…and now we are officially sweeping you off your feet and taking you home," he finished, giving her a quick kiss before literally sweeping her off the ground. She laughed in surprise, and looked around at the pack.
"But…all of us?! Flights are being cancelled! Storms are rolling in," she finished anxiously, slipping out of Jackson's arms and reaching for her phone to show them the weather report.
Stiles smirked. "We drove!"
"We drove?" Derek cut in, sounding amused.
"Okay, Derek drove. You should see the van, Lydia, it's hilariously huge."
"Feels pretty small when you're squished between Isaac and Danny," Erica huffed, but she was smiling.
"We spent like half an hour figuring out the snow chains for the tires," Stiles continued.
"We did?" Derek asked, cocking his head to the side and smirking knowingly.
"Okay, okay, I did!" Stiles said, exasperated. "While you guys made a snowman and refused to be even a tiny bit helpful."
Lydia stared at them.
"Let me get this straight. You road tripped three thousand miles to pick me up from school?" she asked in disbelief. "But…that must have taken days! Didn't you guys have classes?!"
Scott rolled his eyes and grinned fondly at her. "We all got out last week. And it did take days, although the way Derek drives…" he trailed off hastily.
"What about the way Derek drives?" Derek asked in a deceptively calm tone, stepping slowly towards his beta. Scott began to dance out of his reach.
"You mean, besides the fact that you have insane road rage issues and drive forty miles above the speed limit and DEREK!-" Scott's laughter was abruptly cut off as Derek lunged, picked him up like a sack of potatoes and tossed him into a snow bank. "I'm in a t-shirt!" Scott whined, and Allison took pity on him enough to help wring out his now soaking clothing.
"We made record time, is what Scott was trying to say," Stiles put in, sending a quirky smile Derek's direction. "We barely stopped. And it was worth it to bring back our crown jewel from this friend-stealing college." Stiles looked around the campus with a haughty sniff, and Lydia laughed at Jackson, who was mouthing the words 'friend-stealing college?' with a raised eyebrow.
As they slowly made their way back to her dorm to pick up her belongings (which she had packed over a week ago, she had been so excited), Lydia took a moment to look around her pack, realizing that there was nowhere else in the world she would rather be than with them. With Scott, now wearing Derek's coat over his clothes, and Derek, who was rolling his eyes at Scott even though it was obvious how protective he was of the beta, and how much he thought of him as his little brother. With Allison and Erica, now sharing the umbrella and laughing together, and with four of her favorite boys, who were currently chasing each other in circles- Jackson eventually leaping on Isaac, before being pelted with snowballs courtesy of Boyd and Danny. And then Stiles was next to her- Stiles, who had become one of her closest friends in the last few years. She smiled at him.
"Was it a good surprise? I know it's still a long trip home." he asked her quietly, worriedly. She laughed, linking arms with him, and she hadn't felt quite this happy in months.
"Oh, Stiles. I'm already home."
A/N: I know. That was terribly cliché and sappy. I'm in a fluffy mood, sue me!