She stays home from school on Monday, lying in bed with her covers pulled up over her head. Moving just doesn't seem like an option, and she honestly doesn't want to face the prospect of having to return to school to think about Emerson and the Cold War and quadratic equations when there are much more pressing things on her mind: like the fact that a pack of werewolves almost killed her last night.
"I don't want to talk to anyone," she tells her mom when Mrs. Martin comes in to check on her. "And I don't want any visitors."
"Not even that boy you've been seeing?" her mother asks, concerned. "You know, the tall one. Real cute, dark hair. What is his name again? Something with an 'S'..."
"Mother! I am not 'seeing' anyone," Lydia snaps. "And no! I don't want to see anyone."
Later, when she comes downstairs for dinner and asks if anyone came to see her today, her mother shakes her head with a shrug and returns to her magazine.
Lydia tells herself she has no right to be even a little disappointed.
When she returns to school, She makes out with Aiden in the janitor's closet, mostly because she wants to erase the scent of Stiles from her skin, wants to stop replaying the feel of his lips on hers over and over, wants to be Lydia Martin, Queen Bee of Beacon Hills High once again, without the werewolves and druids and sacrifices. She wants to be normal again. She wants to be un-in-love.
Because she can't deny it any more. When Aiden pushes her up against the door and kisses her, all she can think is, I miss Stiles. Every move of Aiden's makes her ache for Stiles' touch, for the way he laughs, and how his body moves. She wants to talk to him, tell him all her secrets, keep him safe.
And just like that, she can't lie to herself anymore: she is in love with Stiles, and there's no going back.
Pushing away from Aiden with a sudden intake of breath, Lydia says, "I have to go," and practically hurls herself out of the janitor's closet. It's lunch period, so Stiles could be anywhere at this point, but she makes a beeline for the cafeteria.
He's there. Of course he's there, but he's not alone. Across from him, laughing like they're good old friends, is Amy Miller, and even though Lydia knows that girl-on-girl hate is a tool of society to keep women from realizing their own potential, she can't help hating the brunette a little bit, can't help but pick out all of her flaws and deconstruct them down to the last inch. But before she can work herself up, she lets it go, deflated, because here's the truth: no amount of hatred directed at Amy Miller is going to make Stiles forgive her; she's not really sure what, exactly, will, if anything.
As if on cue, Stiles chooses that moment to glance around the cafeteria and when his eyes focus in on her, it's as if he can't decide whether to be angry or just sad. He offers a little wave that she can barely return.
She flees, and spends the rest of lunch period in the bathroom, sobbing.
The text reads: Meet at school. Need help.
It's 9:34pm, and Lydia hasn't spoken to Stiles in three days. A year ago, this would have been nothing unusual, but these days, they hardly ever go an hour without communicating in some fashion, and she feels the loss full force.
The text sends her head spinning.
It wouldn't be so disturbing if Stiles - or Scott, for that matter - had been at school today, but as it is, neither showed up for history or physics, or English, either.
"Where could they be?" Allison whispered over half-eaten lunches. Lydia had given up pretending she didn't care because the truth was, no matter how much she had tried to push Stiles away, she could hardly deny that the boys had become two of her closest friends - that, on top of her recent revelation about Stiles, they meant something to her, that their well-being mattered.
So this text message is alarming, to say the very least, and, she thinks, perhaps not even sent by Stiles at all.
Knowing this, the most logical thing to do would be to put the phone aside and wait, search for other clues, but Lydia knows this might be the only thread of evidence she gets, so, reckless or not, she's going to follow it. She has to.
She doesn't want to call Allison - three people in danger is more than enough - but even if she might be the brains of their friendship, Allison is most definitely the brawn, and there's no way she is going into an abandoned school building this late at night without the protection of her werewolf-hunting best friend. Especially that school building, so prone to the supernatural as it is.
The building appears empty as they park the car and get out to survey possible entrances. Some navigation directs them to a side entrance, obviously already used by whoever sent Lydia that text. Just before they go charging in, Allison grabs her arm, restraining her momentarily.
"Wait," she says quickly. "Do we, you know, have a plan?"
"It's kind of hard to have a plan, Allison, when we don't actually know what's going on. Now, come on."
The hallways are dark and so silent, you could easily hear a pin drop, but the only sounds that echo down the hall are those of their footsteps. Then, suddenly, a shuffling sounds from around the corner, and out burst Scott and Stiles, frantic. The practically run smack-dab into Allison and Lydia.
"What are you doing here?" Scott demands, stopping momentarily; Stiles looks over his shoulder in terror, breathing heavily.
"Lydia got a text from Stiles. We thought -"
From around the corner bursts Derek, in werewolf form, more errant than any of them have ever seen him. Grabbing Allison's hand, Scott leads them all down the hallway and through a set of double doors, which they block with a table. It won't last long, but it'll at least hold Derek off for a moment.
"We've got to get you guys out of here," Scott says, moving quickly once more down the hall as the sounds of Derek's struggle against with the door follow them.
"Wait, Scott, no way," Stiles says, grabbing his shoulder. "We're not just leaving you here alone." Turning the corner, Scott throws open a door that leads to a set of stairs.
"Look, we all know it's me that Derek wants -"
"Um, since when?" Lydia interjects as they wind their way up the stairs. "Exactly what is happening? Why are you all even here?" Opening another door at the top of the staircase, they all exit onto the roof of the school. "Ah, well this is great. Perfect escape, really," she says, rolling her eyes.
Stiles sighs, running a hand through his hair. "Deucalion kidnapped Cora, brought her here and told Derek to meet him. Scott," he says, punching his best friend a little harshly in the arm, "decided to play the hero and accompany the pack to get Cora back."
"Long story short, Deucalion injured Cora," Scott continues, "and says the only way he'll help to save her is if Derek kills his pack. I guess he just forgot that I am not actually part of his pack, but after Deucalion cut his sister's throat, he kind of lost it, so I doubt he even knows what he's doing."
"So what do we do?" Allison asks urgently. "I mean, Lydia got Stiles' text, but we weren't sure -"
"Wait, what?" Stiles says. "What text? I didn't send a text."
"No," a new, voice cold interjects. "I did." The kids turn to face Deucalion, who stands a mere ten feet away, observing them with a sinister grin on his face - or at least, he would be observing them, if he still had his eyesight. As it is, he is just as menacing either way. He takes a few steps toward them as Lydia searches vainly around for a way off of the roof.
"You?" Scott asks. "But - why?"
"Don't you see, Scott?" Deucalion asks, taking another step forward. "It quickly became apparent to me that it wasn't actually Derek that I wanted but you."
"Yes, you see, you are quite the unusual specimen of a werewolf. By all rights, you should either be part of Derek's pack or you should be an Omega, so easy to kill that you would be long dead by now, what with all of the...scrapes you get in to. Yet, you are neither. In fact, you seem to be an Alpha all on your own. Just as strong, if not stronger, than Derek, so I want you in my pack." His grin widens a little, and the kids all shudder. "The only thing you have to do is get rid of your pack."
Scott glares at him. "What does that even mean? I don't have a -" He cuts off, eyes widening as he takes in Deucalion's meaning. "Never," he breathes. "I'll die first."
"Then I will just have to start killing them myself, won't I? Who should I start with, eh? The pretty redhead?" He takes a step toward Lydia, and Stiles steps in front of her fiercely, muttering, "Don't touch her."
"Ah, a touchy subject, it seems," Deucalion says, moving away. "Well then. What about the werewolf hunter, your little girlfriend? Or the other one, little - Isaac, is it? Where is he, anyway? Oh yes... here he is." And so Isaac appears, struggling against Kali, who has a strong hold on him as she drags him around the corner and tosses him at Deucalion's feet, putting one foot onto his chest to keep him pinned down.
"Stop it!" Scott cries, stepping forward. "He's part of Derek's pack, not mine. Leave him alone!"
"So you admit it?" Deucalion asks. "You do have a pack of your own?" Scott shakes his head, remaining silent. "Which will it be, Scott? Either you kill them, or I start doing it. So which will it be?"
And then Lydia does something she hasn't done in a very long time - she gets reckless. Grabbing one of Allison's arrows, she removes herself from the group and flips around to face Deucalion, holding the point of the arrow threateningly close to herself. "The way I see it, there's just one flaw in your plan."
"Lydia, what are you doing?" Allison asks urgently.
Speaking to Deucalion again, she says, "If we kill ourselves then Scott won't absorb the power that he could get from us - which, regardless, doesn't make much sense to begin with as only one of us is actually a werewolf, but I've stopped trying to make sense of these things - and what good is he if he doesn't absorb any of that power, huh?" She pushes the arrow closer to her torso threateningly.
"Lydia, stop it!" Stiles says desperately.
"I'll do it!" she says grandly. "I'll kill Stiles, and Allison, and Isaac, and then I'll kill myself, and then Scott will be an Omega, and you and I both know he's useless to you then."
Scott shakes his head, taking a step toward her. "Lydia, what are you talking about?"
Deucalion, meanwhile, just rolls his eyes. "Kali, just shut her up, would you?"
And in that moment, Lydia's entire, hackneyed plan goes off without a hitch. Kali, abandoning her stance over Isaac to leap towards her, allows the younger werewolf a chance to get off the floor and, though harried by his struggle, turn werewolf with a strangled cry to the heavens. Scott, suddenly understanding the gift Lydia has just given him, follows suit, launching himself at Deucalion, who, slightly thrown by this turn of events, must take a moment to get his bearings, giving Scott a chance to launch an offensive attack rather than a defensive.
Isaac, meanwhile, leaps forward onto Kali's back, giving Lydia the chance to scurry away as quickly as possible toward Stiles, who has helped Allison climb higher onto the roof to gain a better vantage point. Allison pulls out her arrows swiftly, launching them into the midst of the battlefield to aid Isaac and Scott.
"Call the police," Lydia urges Stiles. "It's the only chance we have at scaring them off."
"Already done," Stiles answers, grinning at her. "Listen, Lydia -"
He is interrupted by the fierce howl of another werewolf joining the battle. The twins leap into battle with Scott and Deucalion, and Stiles, seeing the imminent end for his best friend, rushes over toward the action, jumping onto the back of the twins. It disorients them just long enough to get them away from Scott in order for him to reposition himself, but at a price. Ethan and Aiden fling Stiles off of their back, tossing him to the edge of the roof. Menacingly, they approach him and, with a swift kick of their left foot, throw him, screaming, from the building.
"Stiles!" Lydia screams, trying to rush forward, but Allison holds her back, turning her best friend into her comforting embrace, and Lydia sobs, unabashedly, into her arms. The rest of the battle is a blur; she remembers the whir of sirens, how the Alphas all escaped in fear of exposure; she remembers a cop carrying her down the stairs of the school building, Scott and Isaac's wounds being tended to. The next thing she knows, she is sitting in the back of an ambulance, a blanket wrapped tightly around her, too numb to think.
Stiles is dead. It consumes her; it is her only feeling, the only thing she will ever know from this moment on. He is dead, and she never got her chance to make things right between them.
But she should know by now that whatever kind of life she's living - as occasionally awful as it might seem to be - the perks of the supernatural surrounding her everyday life is that nothing conceivable is entirely impossible, and this is one of those times the impossible wins out: Because she looks up just in time to see Sheriff Stinlinski round the corner of one of the ambulances, talking to a tall, lanky boy with dark hair and big brown eyes who looks strikingly like Stiles and -
"Stiles?" she says once, but it's too quiet. Tossing the blanket from her shoulders, she stands and calls, "Stiles?"
He looks over at her - oh god, it really is him! - then back as his dad, who claps him on the shoulder and waves him away. He turns on his heel to walk towards her, but she is already charging towards him, throwing her arms around him in the tightest embrace she has possibly ever given.
"But, how?" she asks as she pulls away. "How did you - ?"
"Would you believe me if I said that Derek caught me?" he replies, and she lets out a very wet laugh, tears streaming down her face. "No, but seriously, he actually caught me. It was really kind of- "
Before he has a chance to comprehend what is going on, she plants her lips upon his, kissing him more fervently even than he did after their brush with death in her car. He doesn't have a chance to reciprocate, and she's already pushing him away rather violently.
"Lydia!" he cries, putting his hands up in self-defense.
"You scared the shit out of me!" she yells, furiously wiping away the mascara that is running down her cheeks.
"I-I'm sorry." He runs a hand through his hair, licking his lips once, his eyes searching her face for the answer to a question she thinks she probably understands all too well.
"Well?" she asks after a few moments.
"Well, are you going to stand there like an idiot," she asks, taking a step forward and grabbing him by the front of his jacket. "Or are you going to kiss me?"
It's the best first/third kiss Lydia ever experiences.
She leaves the crime scene as quickly as they'll let her, but of course, the adventure never really can contain itself, can it? When she pulls out the keys to her car, she feels a pair of eyes upon her back. Flipping around, she comes face-to-face with Deucalion, presumably alone, not that that fact is any kind of comforting at all.
"I'll scream," she threatens. He laughs.
"And you really think that would protect you? Lydia, was it?"
"If you kill me, Scott will kill you," she warns, taking a step back.
"I have no doubt," he says, sighing slightly. "But don't worry. I haven't come to kill you."
"Then what do you want?"
He pauses. "That was your plan all along, wasn't it?" he finally says. "You knew that if you started talking enough to distract Kali and I, then one of us would try to shut you up, giving Scott and Isaac the advantage of a distraction."
Lydia says nothing.
"You're rather smart for a human, aren't you, Lydia?"
"And for a werewolf, you're kind of dumb," she snaps back.
Deucalion chuckles at this. "Yes, very smart. But you play the little fool."
Lydia studies him, weighing her answer carefully. "In my experience, letting people underestimate you is sometimes the best tool you have."
He smiles, pleased at her response. "There's something else, too," he adds. "The smell of - death upon you." He passes very close to her, leaning in to catch a whiff of her scent as Kali appears from the shadows to offer him an arm of assistance. "Maybe it's not Scott I should be after at all." He lifts a hand, waving goodbye as he walks away from her. "Goodnight, Lydia Martin. I'm sure we'll meet again."
"I'm sure," Lydia mutters and gets into her car as quickly as possible.
"I'm so sick of feeling like nothing we do is ever resolved," Stiles says the next morning as he, Lydia, Scott, and Allison walk to Physics. "Just once, I'd like for us to battle the bad guys and win."
Scott grins. "Yeah, keep dreaming, buddy. I think it's going to take a bit more strategy than we've been using to beat these guys."
"Besides," Allison adds with her own grin, "I'd say at least one thing got resolved last night." She looks pointedly at Stiles and Lydia's interlaced fingers. Lydia tries her best not to blush and fails. It's odd; her relationship with Jackson never made her blush like that. She decides it might be better not to think about what that means quite yet.
"Yes, well," she says primly. "Not much thanks to you, Miss-I'll-tell-Amy-Miller-he's-free-as-a-bird." Allison lets out an indignant scoff, still grinning.
"Please. If I hadn't convinced Stiles to take Amy to the dance, you two might never have gotten together. So really, you should be thanking me."
Scott shakes his head as they approach their classroom. "I don't know. I think it was pretty inevitable."
They enter the classroom, but Lydia tugs Stiles back briefly and, pulling him down to her, presses her lips swiftly against his.
He grins as she pulls away. "What was that for?"
She smiles back at him. "Stiles, have you learned nothing? When a pretty girl kisses you, it's best not to waste time questioning her motives." Tossing her hair over her shoulder, she walks into the classroom, sliding into the seat next to Allison's.
She knows, now, that she might never have a 'normal' life again, but she's beginning to think that might be okay. After all, isn't normal entirely a matter a relativity anyway? So instead of shoes and Jackson and formals, she's creating a new normal - a normal with werewolves and druids, with stake-outs and Scooby-Doo-like clues, a normal where her intelligence, not her beauty, is what makes her valuable, a normal with Stiles, Stiles everywhere, in her car, by her locker, in her bed, a normal with fewer friends, maybe, but truer ones.
Maybe that's the kind of normal she's always been looking for.
That night when she dreams, she isn't running anymore.
A/N: Et c'est tout, mes cheries! Thanks so much for reading, and be on the lookout for my NEXT Teen Wolf fic, which will probably be Stydia, if I choose to pursue the idea that's been floating around in my head.