"This is sad."
"No it isn't," Allison says automatically, not looking up from her book. But she can't keep it up. "What's sad?" she asks. Sometimes she thinks she shouldn't have given Lydia a key to her apartment, but she'd probably miss it if she stopped letting herself in.
"Pretty much this entire thing," says Lydia, gesturing around. "It's New Year's Eve, what are you even doing?"
"Research for Professor Jenkins."
"Again, New Year's Eve. You're technically on vacation. Not that you understand vacation." She sighs dramatically. "You used to be fun."
Allison glares at her. "Excuse me for having life goals."
"I have plenty of life goals," says Lydia. "Which one of us is getting a PhD?"
"They don't offer doctorates in curing lycanthropy!"
Lydia grins, and Allison can't help grinning back. "Look, your research is awesome. You are awesome! But it's New Year's Eve, and you're sitting at home in your pajamas wearing special gloves to handle your really old book. That is not a healthy level of dedication. That is sad. You can take a night off," she adds, surprisingly gently, for Lydia.
"You're right." She closes her book, putting it away with care before she stands and brushes herself off. "Okay, what's the plan?"
Lydia pulls a bottle of vodka and a bottle of champagne out of her bag. It really didn't look like that large a bag. No one knows how to pack like Lydia. "I brought the party to you."
"Isn't this sadder?"
"Nothing is sadder," she says, giving Allison a thoroughly unimpressed look. "Also, I take what I can get with you these days. I just want you to relax, have a good time, and get kind of drunk."
Allison cuts herself off before she can make any of her standard arguments--Scott needs this, she needs this, a cure could free her family from their long legacy of hunting werewolves. This will make people's lives better, and maybe it will make up for all the ones she couldn't save in some small way.
But Lydia knows all that. Lydia moved to a new town with her--one with a less prestigious university than she could have gotten into--because she knew that, and because she understood. And because, well, she's Lydia. Allison doesn't understand all her choices, but she knows that Lydia will always have her back.
"I think I can do that," she says instead, and goes to find shot glasses.
A few hours later, they're pleasantly buzzed, but not as drunk and Allison would have expected. Lydia's got her feet in Allison's lap and is yelling at people's fashion choices in Times Square. It's nice, warm and comfortable, the kind of easy friendship she's never quite had, even in Beacon Hills. There were quiet moments like this, but never quite like this.
Maybe she's a little more buzzed than she thought.
"You're a good friend," she says. "You know me really well."
"Oh, yeah, duh," says Lydia, glancing away from the TV. "Are you getting all sloppy affectionate drunk? Do you do that? It's been so long I can't even remember. That is how long it's been since you had fun."
"I have fun," Allison protests. "But I could stand to have more fun," she adds.
"That's all I'm saying." She swings her feet out of Allison's lap and goes for the champagne. "Okay, almost midnight," she says. "Time for champagne. Do you have champagne flutes?"
"Of course not." She makes a face. "The dishwasher's dirty. I think I have free novelty mugs I stole from work."
Lydia rolls her eyes. "Wow, don't get too fancy. Go grab a couple. It'll do."
They fill up the mugs and head back to the couch. Allison snarks a few of the outfits as well, and the grin Lydia gives her makes her feel lit up inside.
That's probably why, instead of clinking her mug against Lydia's at midnight, she leans in and kisses her. It's soft and quick, and somehow familiar, maybe just because she's thought about it before, every now and then. It's just never seemed like the right time, not with Jackson and Scott and Aiden and a parade of people in their lives and things going on.
Lydia doesn't seem surprised. She lets the kiss happen for a second, and then Allison hears the sound of her mug on the table and Lydia's hand wraps around the back of her neck, pulling her closer. Allison puts her own mug down and then they're kissing--really kissing, hot and wet and perfect--and it's exactly what she hadn't quite figured out she wanted.
When Lydia pulls back, Allison chases her mouth for a second, and Lydia laughs. "Okay, before we go any further, I've got some ground rules."
"Three nights a week," Lydia says firmly. "Drinks or dates or just staying in and having sex. I want three nights a week. You need some time off anyway."
Allison laughs. "You're secretly not totally selfish."
"Not totally selfish," Lydia agrees, with a smirk. "Just, like, ninety percent. So, deal?"
"Perfect," says Lydia, and kisses her again.
It's shaping up to be a pretty good year, all things considered.