For Beacon Hills, the next few weeks were positively normal.
Jackson returned to school to be the center of attention. Even death hadn't changed his public persona all that much. He swaggered around the hall with Danny, bragging about the lacrosse game he hadn't even been mentally present for, and made out with Lydia in the hallways. The two of them were together again, hopefully for good this time. They'd both been through enough over the past few months.
Isaac was back in class too, though managing it had been something of a miracle. After everything that had happened, no one at school seemed too bothered to look into Isaac's claim that he had moved in with his "sort of estranged uncle," whom I assumed had been played by Peter. They'd only asked enough questions to ensure that Isaac was safe-ish, had a bed, and enough money that he didn't need to be put on a lunch welfare program. After that, it was no questions asked.
And after weeks of studying, we'd all made it through our finals unscathed. Lydia was guaranteed perfect marks, not that anyone was surprised. She'd had a rough couple of months, but nothing that was going to dampen her IQ. Even Scott got through most of his tests. He'd have to take a few classes in summer school, but he'd only been relieved that they weren't going to hold him back. At the very least, we'd all gotten through alive. That was more than we would have dared to hope for a few months ago.
Not everything was normal, of course. There had been an absolute uproar when Jackson had reappeared at his home completely unscathed, and very much not dead. His parents had been equally relieved and outraged, and ever since had been waging a bit of a war on the county hospital. There was a rumor going around that everyone on staff was going back to medical school, forced to take classes to distinguish the difference between live patients and cadavers. However, since Mrs. McCall still had a job, we were pretty sure that wasn't entirely true.
While Jackson wasn't acting much different on the surface, there were still subtle differences. He didn't snap at people as much as he used to, and he had an unnaturally tight cap on his temper. It helped that he'd been spending some more time with Derek and Scott. His time as the kanima seemed to have changed his mind about the necessity of having a pack. It was important to have people who could keep you in line, help you learn, and bail you out when you were in over your head. Scott—and then a very grudging Derek—had agreed to help him learn how to control his powers—how to focus on an anchor and stay centered on a full moon. One mistake, and his new powers might overwhelm him. I think that was something Jackson feared even more than the rest of us.
We still hadn't heard from Erica and Boyd. I wanted to believe that they had made it out after Mr. Argent had let them go, but they hadn't checked in. Isaac hadn't been able to contact either of them, and it was difficult not to get worried.
It was also proving difficult not to worry about Gerard. Scott had explained everything that happened in the warehouse in gruesome detail, right up to the part where Gerard vomited a fountain of black blood and collapsed on the ground. Still, no one had been able to find him. The school board was scrambling, seeing as that was the second principal to mysteriously go missing in the course of one year. And if there was no magical cover story for Gerard's absence, that meant only one thing. No one had heard anything from any of the Argents.
I wasn't sure how long I was planning on avoiding it. I wasn't sure how long I could avoid it even if I did never want to face reality again. But eventually, reality caught up to me.
I answered the front door, not entirely surprised to find Allison on the other side of it, playing with her fingers and staring up at me through her lashes.
"I'm sorry, I—I should have called to let you know I wanted to stop by. I kept trying to text you, but I didn't know…" Allison bit her lip. "Um…can I come in?"
I debated for a moment before stepping aside. Allison gingerly stepped through the doorway, as if the floor beneath her was about to collapse at any moment. I closed the front door behind her, and she jumped a bit, whirling around to face me.
"What's up?" I asked as casually as I could.
Normally she would have laughed at that—such a simple question to ask what she'd been doing for the last month since her mom had died—but she didn't. Instead of putting her at ease, my tone seemed to dishearten her. She frowned.
"I wanted to talk to you. Is…um, where is everyone?"
"Miss Natalie's at work, my mom's out grocery shopping, and Lydia's out with Jackson again."
"Oh yeah, that's—that's good. They're together again, right?"
"Yeah. It's been nice."
There was another awkward silence, and suddenly the words began to pour out of Allison's mouth like rapids. "Sadie, I am so sorry for everything I've done over the past few weeks. Over the past few months, really. I want to say that Gerard was manipulating me, but I know that's not good enough. I don't want to make excuses. I've—I've been a really terrible friend to you and I completely understand if you don't want to forgive me. I got so caught up in my mom's death that all—all I wanted was to make it all go away. And I thought that killing Derek would do that. And I was so focused on revenge that I—I completely forgot that the one person who really knew what I was going through was my best friend. I never should have blamed you for what happened, any of it. I know that—that if you'd known what was going to happen, you would have told me. You wouldn't lie about something like that. And I'm sorry for saying that you would."
I nodded, shifting a but uncomfortably. "Well…thanks."
I knew they weren't the words she wanted to hear, but it was hard to say anything else. This was the closest I had been to Allison since she'd attacked me, since she'd pinned me against the wall and held an arrow to my throat. I didn't feel like I was in any danger now, but still…that wasn't something that was going to be easy to forget.
But Allison didn't seem to have expected much more than that. She nodded firmly, and looked down at her hands. "Is there anything I can do…?"
"I don't know," I said honestly. "I think it might just be a time thing. I mean, you could start by apologizing to Isaac."
"I don't know if I can do that."
I blinked at her in surprise. "You don't know if you can apologize to him for slicing and dicing him like a turkey?"
"No, not like that. It's not because I don't want to, it's just… My dad and I—we're leaving."
Allison looked up quickly, just as surprised as I was. But the word had come as naturally as the first. They couldn't leave. Allison couldn't leave.
"Yeah," she said tentatively. "After everything that's happened, we thought it might be best to just…get away from it all. He wants us to go to France. He's really been thinking about the whole hunter thing. I think he's looking for some kind of answers about our family, so…we're leaving in a few days."
"But…you're coming back, right?"
She pressed her lips into a small, sad smile. "I don't know. I sort of thought no one would mind."
"You thought Scott wouldn't mind if the love of his life moved to Europe?"
"I already talked to Scott. I can't be with him when I'm like this. I told him about France, and…we broke up."
"Okay, then—then forget Scott! What about the rest of us? What about Lydia? What about…Beacon Hills?"
"Sadie, my mom killed herself in my room…sitting there in my bed. I…I can't stay there anymore."
My heart sank. This had not been the way I'd been expecting the conversation to go, though why I hadn't seen it coming was a mystery. Allison had lost her aunt, her mother, and now her grandfather, as twisted as he may have been. For a while, she'd lost herself. And what was their left to do when that much was taken from you? Derek had gone to New York, I had come to Beacon Hills, and now Allison was leaving too. And while I couldn't relate to everything she was going through, not wanting to stay in the same place was something I could definitely understand.
"Look," I started softly, taking a small step toward her. "I know how hard it can be. I lost a lot when my dad died. A lot more than just my dad. I didn't know how to talk to my mom for a while, and I lost a whole lot of my friends for a whole lot of different reasons. And then I moved to Beacon Hills and I lost my home. My mom and I thought that moving would help us get away from everything, but…all it really meant was starting over from scratch, and not having my dad there to help us. So if you want to move out of your house, I get that. If you…want to go to France and stay there then, I get that. That's your decision to make as a family. But I don't want you to lose your friends. And I don't want to lose you, Ally."
She sniffled, and then gave me a very shaky smile. "Is it okay if I hug you now?"
"Yeah. Come here."
Allison ran for me, and in a matter of seconds we were squeezing the life out of each other. We were both holding back tears, and both failing pretty badly. It wasn't for any one reason. It felt like one part "I miss her," one part "I've missed you," and one part "I'm going to miss you." Whatever we were feeling, we were a mess. It took a few minutes to get it all out. When we finally stepped back from each other, it was with weak giggles and wiped eyes.
"I'm sorry," Allison said again, shaking her head. "I just wanted to stop by and let you know what was going on. I didn't mean for it to be this big thing."
"Allison, you're one of my best friends. Of course it was gonna be this big thing."
"Yeah, I know I was being stupid, but…"
"No, I'm not saying you're being stupid. I just mean—I still care about you. No matter what."
She grinned. "I was trying to pack, but I just couldn't manage to get anything done. I needed to come see you first."
"I'm glad you did. And listen, if there's anything you and your dad need help with, let us know. Mom keeps asking me to remind you that she's here for you guys, just as much as I am."
"Well, maybe not just as much," Allison said with a wink. "But I'll definitely let you know. Maybe we can get lunch before I go? You, Lydia and I?"
"Yeah, I'd like that." I hugged her again, and walked her out to the porch. "Thanks for coming by."
We stood there for a moment, but made a mutual, silent decision not to say that one word. We were going to see each other again. Allison wouldn't be in France for the rest of her life. Even if she moved there, she would visit, or we would visit, our we'd all go somewhere in between. This wouldn't be goodbye.
Allison climbed into her car, waving as she pulled out of the driveway and up the street. I hadn't realized how heavy I'd still felt until she left. Now that the air was cleared between us, the weight had been removed. Everything wasn't perfect, but it was certainly better.
I made it about halfway up the stairs before my phone went off in my pocket.
"Just around the corner. Waiting out front."
Typical. I rolled my eyes, grabbing my backpack and tucking my phone in the pocket of Stiles's lacrosse sweatshirt. I'd hardly taken it off since Stiles had given it to me. Even if it was something of a bribe to forgive him, the cliché romance wasn't lost on me. I liked wearing my boyfriend's sweatshirt, and being able to say that it was mine.
By the time I'd finished lacing up my sneakers, the pale blue Jeeps was parked at the end of my driveway. Scott jumped out of the passenger seat, taking my bag as he opened the door for me.
I smirked as I climbed past him. "You two are late."
"No, we are not late," Stiles contested from the front seat. "We were waiting. Scott could hear that Allison was at your house."
I glared as Scott climbed back into the car. He passed me my backpack with a sheepish smile. "Sorry."
"Will you ever not eavesdrop on my conversations with other people?"
"Hey, I wasn't eavesdropping. Just because I knew she was there doesn't mean I was listening in. I know how tune you out."
"Right," I scoffed.
Stiles kicked the Jeep back into gear, glancing at me in the rearview mirror. "So? How'd it go?"
"It could have been worse. She apologized and…I've really missed her."
"We all have," Scott agreed.
I glared at the back of his head. "Yeah, well we all haven't known about her moving to France in a couple days."
"Hold on, she's doing what now?" Stiles asked, nearly turning all the way around in his seat.
Scott actually lifted his arms over his head to shield himself. "I'm sorry! She asked me not to say anything until she had the chance to apologize to you!"
"Yeah, and the only reason she had to apologize to me was because she jumped to assumptions after you asked me not to tell her the truth about her mom!"
"Well didn't she ask you not to tell me the truth about Matt?"
"Yes, she did. Which I was also mad about."
"And then, you guys didn't tell me about Peter."
"You were dealing with your mom. There wasn't a good time to tell you."
"There's never a good time to tell someone about someone like Peter coming back from the dead. You should have told me anyway."
"Okay, fine. How about you never telling Stiles and I about your plan to stop Gerard? Which, incidentally, had been going on for months!"
"I didn't have a plan the whole time! I was still working it out with Deaton! And Stiles was dealing with his dad, and then your birthday came around and I felt bad talking to you about it because you were dealing with you were dealing with your dad…"
"Well, you should have told me anyway!"
"Guys!" Stiles interrupted, waving his hands wildly. "Is anyone else not bothered by the fact that Allison didn't feel the need to tell me that she was moving to another country at all? I mean, come on. I know we're not as close as you two, but we're all friends, right? I should know about this, right?"
Scott sighed. He turned himself in his seat so that he could face Stiles and I fully. "Look, you're right. This year had been really messed up, and if there's one thing that I've learned, it's that I have to be better. Life's not gonna stop just because we have other things to worry about. We have to talk to each other more. So no more secrets. If there's a problem, we talk about it—whether it's because there's something supernatural going on, or because of something completely normal. Okay?"
Even though I agreed with him, I pouted, avoiding his eye. Scott sighed.
"I'm sorry for not telling you about Allison, and I'm sorry for not telling you about Gerard. And I'm sorry for asking you to keep things from your friends when I knew you didn't want to."
"I know you are. And I'm sorry for not telling you about Peter, or about how Matt was stalking Allison. You're right. From now on, we'll be better."
Scott smiled, holding up a hand to bump fists with mine. I rolled my eyes but returned the gesture.
Stiles scoffed from the driver's seat. "Am I not included in this pact? Am I a part of this conversation?"
"You're part of every conversation," Scott laughed, punching Stiles in the arm. "We're gonna be better right? You'll talk to me?"
"Yes, okay, I'll talk to you!" Stiles groaned, rubbing his arm. "It's not like I've got a lot to hide from you guys anyway. But for real, should I be concerned that Allison hasn't told me about France?"
"I don't think so," I said. "I'm not sure if Lydia knows yet either. I think she's probably waiting until she has a better idea how long she'll be gone for."
"So is this a vacation or a life choice?"
"They don't know."
Stiles let out a low whistle. He threw a quick glance at Scott, and then my reflection. "Is this not something we're worried about? I mean, I sort of like the idea of Beacon Hills without the hunters, but without Allison…"
"She'll come back," Scott said simply.
"How do you know?"
"Because this place means a lot to her. We mean a lot to her. Everything's gonna be okay."
Stiles met my eyes in the mirror, but I just shrugged. I couldn't put it into words, but I felt the same confidence that Scott did. It wasn't so much of a thought as it was a pure feeling. A fact. Allison wasn't leaving us just yet.
We pulled in through the school's back gate, the Jeep bouncing along as we rolled over the grass. Stiles drove directly onto the lacrosse field, right over the painted lines that had faded since the season ended. We parked on the smooth grass between the benches and filed out. Stiles offered me a hand to help me down from the Jeep, and kept a hold of it as we walked around to the back hatch.
"So you really think she's gonna come back to you?" he called over to Scott.
"Yeah, I know she is."
"Okay, but how can you know that?"
"I don't know," Scott said earnestly. He tugged out his lacrosse bag, then stacked Stiles's equipment on top of it with ease. "How did you know Sadie was gonna come around after Lydia got out of the hospital?"
"Um, because she told me that she was gonna come around after the hospital."
"She could have changed her mind."
"Please," Stiles scoffed, pulling out a large blanket and locking the trunk shut. "Sadie and I are inevitable."
"Please don't make third wheeling any harder than it needs to be."
I snorted at Scott's grimace, and pulled the blanket out of Stiles's hands. "I apologize on his behalf. Besides, really I'm the one third wheeling today. You two just do your lacrosse thing, I'll do my reading thing, and we'll all get along fine."
I headed back to the front of the Jeep, dropping my backpack so I could spread the blanket over the top of Roscoe's hood. Before I could, Stiles snatched the blanket back to do it himself. He scrambled to straighten the corners, then offered me a hand and sunk into a deep bow. "M'lady."
"Gross," I laughed, but accepted the help as I climbed up onto the Jeep. Stiles handed me my backpack, and then pulled a brown paper bag from behind his back. He dropped it next to me in an overly casual way, where it landed with a very pointed thunk. I raised an eyebrow. "And this is…?"
"Oh, this? I don't know. What could this be?" Stiles opened the bag and began pulling things out. "Wow, look! It's your favorite lemonade, and a bag of your favorite chips, and—oh! There's even some chocolate chip cookies. Damn. It looks like you are all set then, look at that!"
I sighed, closing my eyes for just a single moment of peace. "Stiles. You have to stop doing this."
"Doing what? Giving—Giving my girlfriend things she loves because I want to show her I love her? What's wrong with that? Why's that a bad thing?"
I gave him a short, unimpressed look. Stiles sagged.
"Okay, so I'm still trying to fix everything that I screwed up. I'm just trying to show you that I'm here for you, one hundred percent, whatever you need. I just want to prove that I'm sorry."
"Stiles, I know that you're sorry. But this is not how you fix something like this. You can't just bribe me off with cookies and potato chips. It's just gonna take time."
"I know." Stiles sighed, leaning his elbows on the Jeep's hood. "I was a dick. And I was being stupid, and selfish and…"
"And scared," I said firmly. "Stiles, you had just gotten the crap kicked out of you by a trained assassin. I know we'd come close before, but that was the first time one of use really got hurt. I know you were trying to protect me. I just—I don't want our relationship to turn into some twisted Winchester dynamic, you know? You lie to save me and then you get hurt, and then I have to lie to save you and then I get hurt. It's just gonna keep building up. We just have to accept that we both know the risks, and we both want to help our friends. That means that we're in this together. No more lying. It's like Scott said. We have to talk to each other, or this isn't going to work."
"'This' as in the pack, or…'this' as in us?"
I bit my lip as Stiles looked up at me. "Honestly? Both."
"Yeah," he said, sagging slightly. "Yeah, I guess I knew that."
"How about this?" I pulled his hands off his face, tugging him until he was standing between my knees so I could look at him properly. "This summer, we make it all about us. We figure out who we are as a couple when we're not running around trying to save Beacon Hills and risking our lives every other night. We go on a couple of normal dates, we make out a bit, we work on actually talking to each other about everything that's going on in our lives."
Stiles raised his eyebrows. "Sorry, you lost me a bit after the making out…"
I narrowed my eyes, and smacked the back of his hand.
"Ow! Okay, yes. I promise. This summer is about you and me, me and you. Us."
"Good. Because I like the sound of that."
I leaned off the front of the Jeep, pulling his face to mine so that I could kiss him. Stiles spread his hands over my knees and slid them up towards my hips. I'd just began to hum my approval when Scott let out a strangled noise from the lacrosse field.
"Agh! Guys, come on! Third wheeling, remember?"
Stiles groaned, but I kissed him on the nose. "Go get your lacrosse on. We've got all summer, remember?"
"I know. But what if something else comes to town and tries to kill us before school's back in session? I just want to make the most of the time I've got." He kissed me again, running his tongue over my lower lip.
"Fine!" he yelled, pulling himself away from me. "Just get in goal and help me make team captain like you promised, okay? God, you're such a mood killer."
I sniggered as I pushed myself back onto the Jeep, leaning my back on the windshield and ripping open the bag of chips Stiles had bought me. It might not have been the world's best apology, but that didn't mean I was going to let them go to waste either.
"Hey, you know what I just realized?" Scott said from his place in front of the goal. "I'm right back where I started."
"What do you mean?" Stiles asked.
"I mean no lacrosse, no popularity, no girlfriend. Nothing."
"Dude, you still got me."
Scott grinned. "I had you before."
"Yeah, and you still got me. Okay? So, life fulfilled."
"You're so melodramatic, Scott," I called, rolling my eyes. "You're not back where you started. You've got superpowers, a special plan for every full moon, and a bunch of friends who know about it. But hey, don't listen to me. My arrival apparently counts for nothing."
"Sorry, Sadie. You're right. I'm really glad we've got you."
"Even if it means I have to suffer through you and Stiles making out all the time."
Stiles launched a lacrosse ball at Scott, which flew by about four feet to Scott's right. Scott burst out laughing, and Stiles soured.
"Sure, laugh it up. By the end of this summer, I'm gonna be so good I'm gonna replace you as team captain. Now remember, no wolf powers."
"No, I mean it. No super-fast reflexes, no super eyesight, no hearing—none of that crap, okay?"
"Okay." Scott shook his head, beating his lacrosse stick against the goal posts. "Come on!"
Stiles flipped the stick in his hand, weighing the lacrosse ball and lining up the shot. At the last moment, he stopped short. "You promise?"
"Would you just take the shot already?"
I knew what was going to happen before it did. Stiles shook himself off, lined up the shot and, after a deep breath, hurled it toward the goal. This time it flew true, heading straight for the goal. Then, Scott's lacrosse stick whipped out of nowhere. He caught the ball, spun around and hurled it back at Stiles before any of us could blink. Stiles had to throw himself out of the way, squawking in surprise as I cackled.
"I said no wolf powers!"
"What? I didn't do anything!"
The two of them started to bicker, arguing about what Scott was and was not allowed to do when helping Stiles, and how Scott was supposed to help Stiles get better if he wasn't allowed to play well. I shook my head and pulled my backpack closer to me.
I knew that Stiles was right about the summer. We didn't have any assurance that some new creature wouldn't come hurtling out of the woods and kill us all on sight. But we were never going to have that kind of assurance. We couldn't let it stop us from living our lives. We had to appreciate every monster-free moment we had, and make the most of it. So this summer was going to be about all of us. Healing friendships, developing relationships, moving forward in the normal part of our lives. And somehow, I had a feeling that the summer was going to be okay.
I unzipped my backpack, pulling out a pad of sticky notes and a library book. As long as Stiles and Scott were distracted, I was going to get a head start on my summer reading. It was time to delve into Heart of Darkness.
A/N: That's it! We did it! It took us three years, but we did it! Season two is done! What a great birthday present to myself.
I know I said I was going to post this yesterday, but I wanted to finish the first one shot first. That being said, you can all proceed onto Our Time Now, a series of one shots that will cover the pack's summer, which I've already begun to publish.
I don't like to ask for reviews, but would love to hear from all of you. Cranking this out has been difficult, and I've been down on myself a bit this year (as I'm sure many of us have been in 2016.) I hope that you'll continue Sadie's journey with me, because I've been touched and honored by every message you've sent.
So, onwards and upwards to better things, yeah? Happy Holidays.