We have reached the end of a massive journey for me. This is probably the first time I've finished a story longer than 6,000 words since 2009 when I wrote a (completely crap and entirely self indulgent) novella for an assessment. So thanks for sticking with me through it all. You guys are seriously the best.
I'm not sure if I'm actually planning on continuing on with more Teen Wolf Fan Fiction for a while, because I'm in a really burnt-out state at the moment and I need to take some time for myself to figure a few things out, but there will still be a couple of things that I'm going to post as soon as I can. The first is a short story that I actually submitted for assessment before I realised that it worked really well for Lydia (pre-Teen Wolf), so that'll be up as soon as I get permission from my Uni. The second is a prize which Iwannabelikeme has graciously offered to share. She's requested a short, canon romance so that'll be up as soon as it's done, and for those of you who haven't got me on author alert, it's going to be called Start of Time. That may be a little while away though. I want it to be really, really excellent. Patience, grasshopper.
Okay, last AN out of the way for this story. I love you guys. I really do. So here's the (short, but important) final instalment of Circles. It's called Graduation, and it's from Lydia AND Stiles AND Allison's POV because a) you all really seemed to enjoy that last time I did it, and b) I didn't want to end it entirely through one of their perspectives, because I love Lydia and Stiles equally.
Allison was looking in the mirror of her compact. Her graduation robe was free of crinkles and stains, and she was making sure her hair wasn't frizzy and she didn't have lipstick on her teeth before her father took some photographs. She and Scott were standing with Stiles and Lydia, who were being doted on by their parents. Melissa was fussing with Scott's tie while he tried to ward her off, Stiles and the Sheriff were laughing with Lydia and her mother, and Allison's father was double checking the exposure settings on his camera. So much has changed in a year, Allison thought. And it was true. After Lydia had left Stiles' house yesterday afternoon, she had booked over to visit Allison and fill her in on all the details of her newfound sex life and Stiles' status as a sex god. Allison chucked at the memory. She was so glad that two of the best people she knew had finally found their way together and that they were so good for each other. Lydia was level-headed, but had a tendency to be a bitch if she didn't get her way or if she was disappointed. Stiles brought out her good side, and in turn his own hyperactivity was calmed by Lydia's soothing presence. They were unequivocally equal in both good and bad, and complemented each other so well that Allison was surprised that the two of them hadn't figured it out sooner. Though, she mused, they are both incredibly dense sometimes, for two people who claim to be geniuses.
"What are you thinking about?" Scott asked as he slipped his arms around her waist, his mother finally having let him loose from her lecture on tying his tie.
"Just Stydia," Allison replied, giving him an uncharacteristically cheeky smile.
"You have not given them a couple name. You have! And it sounds like an STI! That is so them!" Scott laughed, tickling her rib cage. Allison let out a shriek, her laughter burbling out of her.
"Stop it, Scott," she whined, gasping for breath.
"Say 'Scott is the greatest boyfriend in the world, and I promise to never give us a couple name' and maybe I will," Scott breathed into her ear, only just audible over her gasping breaths.
"Scott is the greatest boyfriend in the world, and I promise never to use our couple name apart from telling him right now that it's Scallison," Allison choked out. Scotts hands stopped moved on her waist, but before she could catch her breath, he had picked her up and thrown her over his shoulder.
"That is a crime punishable only by being carried around like a sack of potatoes," Scott told her and started off into the large crowd of students cueing to start to file into the seats provided for the graduates.
"How long do you reckon it'll be before Allison uses her latent hunter skills and kicks his ass into next week?" Stiles asked her.
"I'm betting five minutes," Lydia told him, "but I wouldn't necessarily hold my breath. She's been known to be violent when manhandled. You should have seen what she did to Isaac a couple of years ago. He looked like Draco Malfoy when Harry used the Sectumsempra spell on him. It wasn't pretty."
"I remember Isaac saying something about that. Well, maybe she'll go easy on Scott since, you know, they're sleeping together and all," Stiles said doubtfully. There was a look shared between them, and then the couple burst into laughter so hysterical that it took five minutes to calm them down.
"Miss Martin. We need you up at the front for your Valedictorian speech," the principal called to her. Lydia replied that she'd be there in a minute before turning back to Stiles and wrapping her arms around his neck.
"Want to know a secret?" she asked him.
"I want to know everything about you," he whispered back to her. Lydia smiled and shivered inwardly.
"I'm nervous. Can you even believe that? I've faced down a Kanima, dated werewolves and screamed at death and I'm scared about giving a tiny speech," Lydia confessed, pulling back slightly and meeting Stiles' eyes.
"High School really puts your life in perspective, doesn't it?" Stiles asked her sardonically. "Look, Lyds. I've read your speech. It's phenomenal, and I personally can't wait for the rest of the student body to hear it and find out what a sexy genius you are. But, if you get nervous, just look at me. I'll be right there in the audience supporting you, because I love you."
"I love you too, Stiles. And that was exactly what I needed to hear," Lydia smiled at her boyfriend, dimpling.
"Good. Now, off with you, Valedictorian. You have a very important speech to give," Stiles told her, releasing her waist and squeezing her hand before wandering off to find the 'S' section of students. Lydia smiled after him for a second. In the last few days she was the happiest she remembered being in ages. Stiles brightened up her world, and she was surprised that her love for him had already strengthened. She knew it was the chemicals in her body creating a physical bond that tied in to their emotional connections, but Lydia loved it all the same. She was finally feeling like herself again. Lydia gave an excited chuckle, and felt for the palm cards in her pocket. She was about to go and surprise everyone in true Lydia Martin fashion.
"… And now our class Valedictorian Lydia Martin will be presenting her speech. Please welcome her." There were shocked faces all around the room as Lydia ascended the stage. There was still applause, though, and Stiles clapped along with the rest of their cohort, whistling loudly and smiling straight up at his beautiful girlfriend. She was waiting patiently while they adjusted the microphone slightly, because she was tiny even in heels.
"Thanks, everyone. So I know that you all know me. I'm Lydia Martin. I wear heels practically all the time. I'm not afraid to say what I think, even if it hurts people's feelings. I'm a little narcissistic." A ripple of laughter floated through the crowd, and Lydia gave a beautific smile before continuing. "But that is all just information about me. That's not who I really am. High School is a really hard place, and I've only just begun to realise that I probably made it a lot harder for some of you. So today I wanted to take some time to rectify that a little. When you leave Middle School, you have a whole summer of anticipation to stress about who you're going to be in High School. Some people get makeovers and become instantly popular. Others develop acne or decide to spend the summer playing video games with their friends and not caring at all. But the one thing that none of us do is think about who we're going to be after school is over. It doesn't even occur to us. Four years is a long time to be herded together in a place where nothing seems to be real, or to matter."
Lydia took a big breath then, and Stiles could see her hands shaking slightly on the podium. She met his eyes and her hands steadied. Stiles nodded at her and mouthed that he loved her. She gave him a tiny smile and began to speak again.
"We are all leaving this building today with the notion that who we are is set in stone. But I want you all to know that you don't have to be what this place made you. You all thought that I was just some vapid princess for the most part. But I am technically classified as a genius and I have a full scholarship to study Molecular Biology and Medicine at Stanford University. And— you're all going to be completely shocked at this— I am in love with Stiles Stilinski."
The collective gasp that ricocheted through the audience was incredible. Lydia laughed out loud into the microphone and Stiles gave the people staring at him bemused looks. When the chatter quieted, Lydia read the final sections of her speech.
"Now, I know all the teachers and parents are probably going to be wondering what that has to do with going out into the world. My answer is this: nothing. But that's kind of the whole point. High School is a time in your life where you are supposed to experiment with who you are. The thing is, you can't let it define you. I'm incredibly lucky to have found someone that accepts who I am no matter what, but we all have time to figure it all out. We all have bright and beautiful futures to go and live, so don't let who you were here define who you are there. Congratulations my fellow graduates. We're all going to be amazing. I know it. And I'm a genius, so you know I'm right!"
Stiles was the first on his feet, followed by Scott and Allison in their respective places in the crowd. Lydia waved to the student body before accepting her diploma and exiting the stage. The principal began to call out names, and the senior class graduated, one by one. Allison was clapped first out of the remaining friends, followed by Scott and finally Stiles. And then it was over. The four friends converged on each other, hugging and laughing.
"I can't believe it's finally over!" Allison exclaimed, hugging Lydia tightly.
"I can. Now I can finally take some challenging courses," Lydia laughed, returning the embrace before capturing Stiles' hand. He smiled down at her.
"We better go and see our parents. They're probably dying to get some more photos," Scott said, grimacing. Allison smiled and pulled him away, leaving Stiles and Lydia alone. Stiles untangled his hand and wrapped his arms around her waist.
"So, Martin. What now?"
"Right now? Probably photographs and a party to get ready for."
"I meant after school. Have you got plans for after the summer? I hope you're not going to let anything define you."
"Hey, you started it! You were a regular Obama. Really inspiring. But you still didn't answer my question."
"Well, Stilinski, I believe we have a University to conquer."
"Sounds like a plan."