a/n: i got this idea from a listing of tropes, and the date peepers one caught my eye, and my life is basically in gravitational orbit around these two during the summer, so. also, i don't ship stiles with cora as anything other than a plot device to make lydia jealous. i'm sorry, but i don't see these two kiddos with anyone but each other. story title comes from the j. brice cover of it girl by jason derulo.
boy, give me twenty-five to life
Allison shakes her head for what has to be the thirtieth time in the past hour, sighing as she peers through the goggles. "I don't know, Lyd...won't this upset Stiles?"
A pause. Lydia puts down her newest textbook on Applied Combinatorics and caps her pink highlighter with more dramatic flair than strictly necessary, fixing the brunette with a considerate gaze. "You know what upsets me, Allie? Stiles doesn't get jealous."
She looks at her skeptically. "At all?"
Lydia shakes her head resolutely, turning in her seat to scowl at Stiles' Jeep, parked on the other side of the lot. "Not with Scott, or Isaac, or Derek. Despite my inability to keep my appreciative comments about our werewolf posse's physiques to myself...nada. I mean, over-the-top possessiveness is never cute, because I fail to see the appeal of the misogynist society we find ourselves enduring, but─"
Allison laughs. "And yet you have no qualms about dragging me on a stakeout to make sure no funny business is happening with Stiles and Cora," she points out, shrugging absentmindedly when Lydia glares at her. "Maybe he just doesn't have reasons to be jealous," she offers, tilting her head in the redhead's direction. "Does he?"
"Of course not!" she shrieks, appalled. She can't deny that the brunette's veiled accusation is justified, though, since she did cheat on Jackson for five minutes with Scott, and Lydia grimaces at the reminder of how blatantly superficial she used to act, adjusting in her seat so she's facing her best friend. "Just so you know, for being a werewolf huntress and a proficient archer─subtlety? Not one of your strong suits." Allison has the good sense to look contrite before Lydia whispers, "I would never cheat on Stiles."
Allison smiles. "I believe you."
She scoffs, rummaging through radio stations until she settles on some alternative station that Stiles introduced her to when they first started dating, bobbing her head up and down to the beat of Mumford and Sons' newest single. Allison raises an eyebrow at Lydia's choice of music, but doesn't comment.
The redhead cranes her neck, trying to catch a glimpse of Stiles or Cora through the glass windows that are far too obscure for her liking. Her stomach churns as she plops back into her seat, deciding that if Cora is making an attempt at enticing her boyfriend, she doesn't want to see it; she'd just rather deal with the unendurable torture and glare-from-afar part of the ordeal.
"Could you...?" she asks, trailing off as she inclines her head in the diner's direction.
"Nope. No way. Lydia, you're being ridiculous; Stiles has been in love with you since before he knew that girls didn't actually have cooties," she explains thoughtfully, reaching out to give her hand a squeeze. "I think it goes without saying that he'd never let himself get roped into a situation where he'd be risking his relationship with you."
Lydia eyes flicker towards where she knows her boyfriend is sitting and purses her lips, considering. "Remember freshman year? When you were talking about how impossible it was to stay away from Scott and I couldn't relate to what you were saying?"
"Remember what it feels like...all of those times in school when you see him standing down the hall, and you can't breathe until you're with him. Or those times in class when you–you can't stop looking at the clock because you know that he's standing right out there waiting for you. Don't you remember what that's like?"
"You said you'd never had that kind of boyfriend."
"And I never did," she reiterates, lips quirking up at the reminder that even now, after being in a relationship for so long, she can always count on him to be there, waiting for her to complain and ridicule whatever teacher is making the sad attempt at acting like they know more about the material than she does while he takes her books from her arms and intertwines his fingers with hers. "Until Stiles, that is."
Allison looks at her then, and Lydia thinks that she must be gauging the conviction in her gaze, because it is only after seven seconds of intense scrutiny that she looks back toward the diner and nods. "Okay."
"I'll go scope 'em out from the inside." She reaches across Lydia to open her glove compartment, pulling out a Chinese ring dagger and tucking it into the waistband of her jeans. When the redhead looks at her questioningly, Allison shrugs. "You do remember the town we live in, right?"
Lydia grabs Allison's forearm before she can open her door, fixing her with a steely gaze. "Being sleuth is key! Don't give away the objective." The brunette laughs, and Lydia mockingly laughs back at her, tightening her grip. "Seriously, you may think dealing with this is a joke, but I know Stiles, and he is so eerily perceptive that, should the day come that he finds himself bitten and howling at full moons, I genuinely fear for humankind."
She rolls her eyes, but gives her a thumbs-up. "Got it."
And then she's out of the vehicle, stalking across the dimly lit parking lot in a manner that illustrates the arduous training she's had to undergo over the years. Lydia's stomach growls and she moves hastily to sit in the driver's seat, rolling down the window before her best friend's hand can reach for the door's handle.
"Allison!" she whisper-shouts, smiling apologetically when the brunette sharply turns toward her, her impatience clear even through the vast expanse of night. "Get me a strawberry milkshake!"
Staking out her boyfriend generated a lot more hunger than she would've initially presumed.
Because of their stakeout, Allison enters the diner already knowing that Stiles and Cora are seated in a booth at the far right of the diner's more secluded section of the lobby, making it almost embarrassingly easy for Allison to put on her hood, go in unnoticed, order Lydia's milkshake and some chili cheese fries for herself, and take a seat in a table for two where she can have the best vantage point while remaining completely unseen by the two people she's been roped into spying on.
Allison shakes her head at the reminder of her best friend's antics.
All is fair in love and war, she muses.
Through narrowed eyes, she watches Stiles and Cora, eating their hamburgers as they chat animatedly. She's laughing at something that Stiles presumably said, head thrown back in glee as her hand reaches over to lay atop his. He seems unperturbed by the action, and sooner than Allison would've expected, Cora removes her hand, returning to her food.
After a minute of them enjoying their food in silence, she sees Cora look up at him, wearing a shyly hesitant expression before she starts talking. For the first time, Allison wishes she was a werewolf so she could possess that nifty supernatural hearing talent. As it is, she's human, so she has to settle on watching Cora give Stiles a pleading glance, and Stiles nodding empathetically before making wild gestures with his hands.
Cora grins, and it's then that Allison can't help but understand where Lydia is coming from with her paranoia. She knows Cora isn't a bad person, per se, but one thing she is is stunningly beautiful, and Allison's skin crawls with the thought of what she'd do if it were Scott sitting across from the younger Hale at that moment instead of Stiles.
Let's just say the Chinese ring dagger wouldn't be tucked in the waistband of her jeans in favor of a location that she'd find much more...satisfying.
She gives her head a firm shake to clear it of its straying thoughts and focuses back on Stiles and Cora, but the only thing that worries her from what she's seeing of their interaction is the absurd amount of fries Stiles keeps stuffing into his mouth─seriously, that can't be healthy.
Out of her peripheral vision, she notices the person at the front counter signaling to her that her order's out, and she slinks out of her seat, taking the route towards the counter that's hidden from the objective's line of sight. As soon as her food is paid for, Allison raises her hood to obstruct her face from view and walks toward the entrance.
She allows herself a limited peek in Stiles' direction and smiles, happy with the fact that she can relay a smug report back to Lydia; she knew there was no way in hell he would ever─
It's at that exact second that she notices that Stiles has managed to leave a long trail of ketchup from his lower lip to his chin, and she can do nothing but watch in unadulterated shock as Cora smiles and reaches out her thumb towards him.
She's briefly reminded of Jackson wiping some chocolate from the edge of her lips before licking the remnants of his own thumb and internally shudders at the memory of the predatory gleam that swam in his blue eyes. If Cora has the same intention, she's not sure she'll be able to tell Lydia she has nothing to worry about.
She's so preoccupied with the wave of disbelief that keeps mounting itself up inside of her that she doesn't notice that her simple trajectory has veered off-course and she's about one step away from running into one of the diner's tables.
She lets out an embarrassing shriek as her foot gets caught in one of the table's legs and she trips, the soles of her Converse against the tile emitting a noise that seems to echo throughout the diner. She notes with some relief that her food is safe, and before she can even think to look over to where Stiles and Cora are seated to see whether or not she followed through with 'tidying him up', she realizes that her hood has fallen backward and she curses, making a beeline for the entrance.
As fate would have it, before she can wrap her hand around the door's handle, she hears a familiar voice from behind her, calling out, "Allison?"
Abort mission! Retreat, retreat!
She closes her eyes shut tightly as she slowly pivots to face him, cursing all things good and holy to the fiery pits of hell due to this unforeseen rift in their plan. She forces an easy smile, but when she notices that he has a napkin to his face, wiping away the remnants of the condiment's staining, it becomes more natural.
The temptation to stick her tongue out at Cora is almost too strong to resist.
"Hey, Stiles," she greets, trying to keep the amount of times she blinks to less than five per second. "What─what are you doing here?"
He points his thumb back to where Cora is seated, watching their exchange with a knowing smirk. "Oh, nothing I was just grabbing a bite to─" the easy smile that graces his face begins to dissipate as he looks down to the plastic cup she's holding, recognizing the dessert all too well. When his eyes meet hers again, there's accusation in them. "That strawberry milkshake wouldn't happen to be for a particular strawberry blonde I'm dating, would it?"
It takes every ounce of training her father's instilled into her instincts for her to keep the impassive expression from slipping off her face. "No, it's for me."
"Oh, really? Because I happen to know that you're allergic to strawberries," he counters, smiling. "One of the perks of being forced to listen to my infatuated best friend rant about everything relating to Allison Argent during freshman year."
She anticipates the quirk of her lips at the mention of her boyfriend and how adorable he is, but bites her tongue and manages to keep her expression aloof. "Well, he got it wrong. I'm not allergic to strawberries, I'm allergic to blueberries."
"Blueberries...like your favorite pancakes?"
She doesn't miss a beat. "I don't even like pancakes; I'm more of a waffle girl."
"That's not how I remember it."
She scoffs, looking at him like he's completely insane and totally not on-point with everything he's just said. Lydia was right─the level of Stiles' awareness when it comes to his surroundings is downright creepy. "Well that's how it is─maybe you should get checked for an early onset of Alzheimer's."
Before his right eye can go into full-on twitch-mode, he raises his arms in mock surrender, tilting his head toward the dessert. "Alright then, big shot," he challenges, "drink it."
She stills. "Um...what?" Her eyes widen, and she looks down at the milkshake in her hands as if it's going to grow teeth and bite her. She looks up at him again and tries for an innocent smile. "I'd rather not."
He rolls his eyes in exasperation, shaking his head. "Renowned werewolf hunter, huh? Where's Lydia?"
"Huntress," she corrects, but his scowl intensifies, so she just points to the entrance, where the parking lot is visible through the glass doors. As the door closes behind him, Allison closes her eyes and rubs her hand over her face in defeat, muttering, "so much for sleuth."
She sighs and walks over to Cora, who's looking at her with a mixture of amusement and faint irritation in her expression. Allison holds out her bag.
"Chili cheese fries?"
She hears the diner's bell chime beside her, but doesn't look up, too engrossed in reading the latest scientific journal about how autoimmune encephalitis causes isolated psychiatric episodes.
"Nice job of getting in and out in under six minutes, Allie," she commends distractedly, holding out her hand for her strawberry milkshake, rolling her eyes when her hand is still empty after several seconds. "Don't tell me you forgot to get my─hey baby! I didn't know you were─"
He glares, crossing his arms over his chest. "Cut the crap, Lydia."
"Okay," she says, clearly contrite.
For someone who very rarely stops talking, the length of time with which Stiles seems determined to stretch out the silence is ridiculously impressive. The bell chimes behind them after several moments, and she turns, glaring murderously at Allison, who keeps mouthing 'sorry' and holding up her strawberry milkshake─now with extra whipped cream and cherries─as a peace offering as she treks back to her car.
Lydia sighs and turns back to Stiles, whose eyes are still trained on the asphalt beneath their feet. "Are you upset?"
His eyes widen as he looks at her disbelievingly, arms flailing about. "I don't know, should I be upset that the girl I've been in an exclusively monogamous relationship with for the past eight months doesn't seem to trust me when I've given her no reason to believe otherwise?"
He scoffs, and she backpedals.
"Okay, Stiles, I let you drive my car and pick the snacks at the movies and I even let you choose what you wear on a daily basis. Not to mention all those times my life was weighing on your fingertips and I didn't bat an eyelash. Just look at me now," she grins, twirling for good measure, "perfectly healthy, dating a boy who's endearingly fond of plaid and whom I can always count on to get me the right kind of M&M's."
His eyebrows crease. "Then why...?" he trails off, lips joining in a grim line as his hand reaches up to scratch at the back of his neck. When his eyes meet hers again, she doesn't miss the unconcealed sadness in them. "Do you really think I would cheat on you?"
She shakes her head voraciously, stepping forward as she reaches up to cradle his face in her hands, wanting nothing more than to ease the worry in his expression. "I know you wouldn't," she responds, pausing to worry her bottom lip, "at least not wittingly."
He lets out a huff, nodding concretely. "Damn right I wou─wait, what?" He's blinking a mile a minute, pursing his lips as he cranes his neck towards her. "C-come again?"
She rolls her eyes at his inability to see something so obvious and steps back.
Normally, she finds it endearing how he wouldn't be able to register someone's attraction to him even if they came up and laid one on him right then and there, but within her frame of mind, where she's mulling over how someone could very possibly be coming on to him─her sweet boyfriend, who's physically incapable of denying anyone anything─this particular trait of his goes from endearing to infuriating within the span of a nanosecond.
"Stiles, in this relationship, I'm the one that was nine years, four boyfriends, and several near-death circumstances behind realizing my feelings for you," she explains, fiddling with the sleeve of her denim jacket. "Other girls aren't as deceptively blind as I was determined to be." She glares at him then. "Especially not ones who constantly make it a point to accidentally keep touching you even when your girlfriend is standing right there."
His mouth falls open in disbelief and he shakes his head, clearly trying to come up with an explanation for all the very true things she's just stated.
Over the past couple of months since Cora's been back, it's no surprise that she's been there with her, and Stiles, and Scott, and their entire bandwagon of supernatural misfits, trying to piece together the latest threat to the Beacon Hills community. While Lydia doesn't mind Derek's little sister disrupting the well-oiled machine that they've constructed since before their junior year ended, she does mind her gripping Stiles' arm, or ruffling his hair, and don't even get her started on the time she walked in to Derek's foundry-slash-basement-slash-lair to see Cora, red-faced and giggling, holding on to Stiles' thigh for dear life.
Even now, after three weeks have passed, she thinks about that particular instance and she wants nothing more than to rip that girl's throat out.
She's pretty deep in formulating a plan to carry through Cora Hale's murder when Stiles' voice takes her out of her reverie.
"I'm sure it's her thing, y'know; everybody has a thing; yours is deceptively downplaying how smart you are while still managing to make everyone feel like they're beneath you, mine's sarcasm with a side of extreme and slightly dangerous flailing, and hers just happens to be increased display of affection. What's wrong with that?" he asks, hands reaching up to rub soothingly down her upper arms.
She tries to cling on to the anger that prompted her to behave like the psycho girlfriend she never wanted to be, but she can feel her body relaxing into his touch with each passing second. Every single time they have an argument, Stiles jumps ship from being annoyed to needing to alleviate her irritation so fast it gives her whiplash. She glares up at him, peeved at how easily he can get her to bend in whatever way he desires.
Realizing he's expecting her to answer his question, she snorts. "Absolutely nothing, except when it's directed at you. I never see her playing grabby-hands with Isaac, who just so happens to be the only single one out of the entire Scooby gang, I might add."
"Exactly!" he yells, clapping his hands together and throwing his head back, beaming up at the sky. He fist pumps the air then, looking at her with a gleam of absolution in his eyes. "Yes! I knew you'd understand even when you don't understand."
"Stiles!" Fortunately, saying his name effectively stops him before he can gyrate his torso and swing his arms in a manner that no one needs to bear witness to right now. Or ever, for that matter. She narrows her eyes. "What are you saying?"
His grin widens, but he catches sight of the no-nonsense tilt to Lydia's eyebrows and rushes to explain. "Cora likes Isaac. The reason she asked me to come here is to get advice. I mean, it figures she would need it; the girl's spent the last several years running to keep herself off the grid after her entire family burned to a crisp." He winces. "I highly doubt that sleepovers and Cosmo quizzes were high on her list of priorities."
"Wait, wait," she holds up a hand, eyes furrowed in confusion. "So...you're telling me that Cora asked you for dating advice?"
He shrugs, looking at her pointedly. "She wanted the viewpoint from someone in a committed, successful relationship."
She frowns. "Well, why didn't she ask me?" Before he can answer her─and she knows what the answer would be; she's not exactly your biggest fan or you're not exactly the most apporachable of people or well, remember that time you accidentally shot her foot with a nailgun?─she dismisses the question with a flippant wave of her hand. "Nevermind, I don't care. Well, you could've said that from the get-go and saved me from infiltrating Allison's arsenal of high-tech weaponry, but okay," she nods, gesturing towards the diner behind them. "Get back to playing love guru, if you want."
He's gaping at her, like he fully expected at least another couple of arguments before they could reach a viable solution, but then he sends her a goofy grin, and she's glad to see that the thinly-veiled irritation in his eyes has been replaced with the adoration he only ever reserves for her.
"So you do trust me."
She smiles, reaching out to lace her fingers through his, giving his hand a reassuring squeeze. "More than anyone."
"You just don't trust her...?"
"Hell no." He chuckles, and her lips quirk up as well before she jabs her index finger into his chest, looking up at him through narrowed eyes. "Which is why I'm warning you; if she so much as accidentally breathes in your direction with anything but platonic intent, I hope you know there's several things in Allie's car that I could use to maim her, and I won't think twice about it."
He groans and steps forward, reaching for her waist and pulling her flush against him. Lydia's hands fly to his chest and the corner of his lips tilt up as he leans down to nip at her earlobe. "And I hope you know how sinfully hot you are when you're jealous."
She giggles, pushing him away enough to look pointedly in Allison's car's direction, but then she sees her through the windshield, lying in the driver's seat with her body reclined against the window, absolutely beaming as she talks to someone on the phone. Lydia rolls her eyes at the fact that after three years of multiple ups and downs, Scott and Allison still obtain the ability to make her want to gauge her eyes out at their unbearable cuteness.
She smirks up at him. "Oh believe me, I'm aware."
She reaches up, pulling him down so that he's level with her before leaning her forehead against his. Standing with him like this, she can't fathom why she ever thought she needed to go out of her way to ensure he wouldn't be tempted to do something that would jeopardize what they have.
Still, Lydia can't say she regrets it; if anything, following through with this stakeout chased away any lingering insecurity that might've been itching to pounce at the first sign of discrepancy in her relationship with Stiles.
She feels his large hands joining at the small of her back, and she smiles, slanting her lips over his, her hands moving to bury themselves in his hair as he lifts her off the ground.
She thinks back to Scott and Allison; the perfect target for bitter, unhappy people to aim their hate toward. Then she considers how she and Stiles must look, like something out of a fairy tale with their embrace, clinging on to each other like it's the only thing they've ever known how to do, and she decides that making other people want to gag at the utter amount of perfection in your relationship might not be the worst thing in the world.
"I love you," she whispers against his lips.
She remembers a time when the thought of saying those words to anybody made her throat go dry and stomach fill with the worst kind of jitters, but with Stiles, the words have never felt more like breathing, and quite frankly, she can't even recall a time where her days haven't started and her nights haven't ended with telling him she loved him.
They live in a world where the tomorrows are more dreaded than anticipated and the yesterdays are best left forgotten, and the setting and circumstance is constantly evolving as they learn to live within the secret world she's not sure they'll ever grow accustomed to.
High school relationships may seem petty and inconsequential in the grand scheme of things, but she wouldn't give up the boy before her for anything. Not his frantic movements, or his beaten up hunk of blue metal that he calls a Jeep and that she'll never admit to being fond of, or the way his beautiful brown eyes light up when she says those three little words that he never seems to tire of hearing.
"I love you too, Lydia."
Just like she never tires of the fervent emotion in his voice as he repeats them back to her.
She grins. "I know."
After pressing a final kiss to his lips that promises more later on, Lydia reapplies her lip gloss, tosses her hair, and walks back to her best friend and her strawberry milkshake, at ease with the knowledge that whoever dares to try and steal even a fraction of the devotion he holds for her will be fighting a losing battle.