Scott had disappeared. That was the first thing Lydia noticed as she swung open his bedroom door. His bed was neatly made. His homework was stacked smartly on the desk. The floor was clear. But his window was wide open, and the curtains billowed out in the soft breeze.
Lydia frowned. This struck her as odd, as Melissa had told her only seconds before that her son was upstairs, in his room, doing homework - which he clearly was not. In fact, Scott McCall was nowhere to be seen. The room was empty.
"Melissa?" Lydia called, stepping back into the hall, "Scott isn't here,"
There was a sound of footsteps on a wooden floor, before she appeared at the bottom of the stairs, a frown carving itself into her face.
"He isn't?" this was obviously a surprise to her too, "But I spoke to him two minutes ago. He said he had homework to do,"
"He hasn't even got his homework out," Lydia informed her, before turning to go back into the room. Melissa hurried up the stairs behind her.
The room was still spotless as far as Lydia could see. There was no note, or anything else to suggest why he wasn't there. Only the wide open window suggested that something was wrong.
"Did he go through the window?" Melissa asked, looking concerned, "Would he do that?"
"I don't see why he would," Lydia admitted, walking over to it. She ran her finger along the window sill, looking for anything out of the ordinary. Part of her hoped she found nothing, and that Scott had simply popped out the front door unnoticed to go the shop. But of course, that wasn't possible; it was Beacon Hills. A beacon for the supernatural and super dangerous.
She got up onto the bed, tucking her hair behind her ears. Clambering across it was the only way to reach the window, as it was right above the pillows. She wanted to look out of it. Melissa didn't pay her any attention; she was too busy trying to call Scott on her phone, but only succeeded in reaching the voicemail. The sound rang across the room.
She leaned through the open window, glancing down into the garden below. Directly down, there was mostly grass and a couple of half decent flower beds. The rest of the garden was mostly bare. But Lydia supposed it made sense; Melissa was a single parent. She didn't exactly have the time to fuss over her garden when she was busy working at the hospital.
There was nothing else out of place that she could see. With a sigh, she reached out for the handle on the open window in order to close it, only to freeze. She felt herself have a sharp intake of breath.
"What is it?" Melissa demanded, turning to face her, "Did you find something?"
Lydia grimaced at the crimson on the outside of the window sill, and the frame around the glass.
"There's blood on the window," she whispered.
"What do you mean, there's blood on the window?" Stiles Stilinski's voice ordered, echoing around the room. Lydia winced and turned the loudspeaker off, hoping she hadn't interrupted Melissa's own phone call too much. She could imagine his face only too clearly - a glare which explained how he felt on its own - impatient and worried.
"I mean there's blood on the window. How else would you like me to explain it?" she snapped back. As helpful as Stiles was trying to be, he wasn't being particularly helpful at that moment in time. Lydia thought that "irritating" would be a slightly more accurate description.
"I was just checking! Where did he go? Is it Scott's blood? - please don't say it is. Did you see-"
"I don't know! How am I supposed to know? I wasn't even here Stiles. I just called you because I thought you might like to know that your best friend is missing,"
"Okay, fine. Stay there. I'm coming over," there was a pause as Stiles presumably leaned away to grab his keys and get to the jeep, "Is there anything else there?"
"I haven't looked," Lydia admitted. She wasn't surprised that he was coming. After all, it was his best friend. "Melissa is calling Argent too. She thought he might be able to find something,"
"Oh, um okay. Great. I'm just gonna call Malia now. She might be able to pick up a scent, so I'm gonna hang up now...bye,"
"Bye Stiles," she said, raising an eyebrow. He sounded slightly distracted. She hoped he wasn't trying to reverse out of his drive way while on the phone. Last time he'd done that, he'd knocked the letter box over.
"Chris is coming," Melissa informed her as she put her phone down, "But he may take a while, he left Beacon Hills to pick up something up,"
"How far away is he?"
"An hour. Maybe an hour and a half at the most,"
"Okay," she nodded and turned to look at the window, "Maybe we should look to see what else we can find. I don't know what else to do,"
"Maybe we should just wait for an expert. I have no idea what I'm looking for," Melissa admitted.
Truth be told, Lydia had no idea what she wanted to look for either - maybe more blood. She just wanted to do something helpful. Every second she spent doing nothing, she felt was being wasted. Scott could have been in trouble, and every second counted.
"I'm going to look outside," she replied after a moment, ignoring the other woman's suggestion, "I just have a feeling,"
Melissa didn't stop her, so Lydia escaped from the room and hurried down the stairs. It occurred to her that she'd never been in the McCall's back yard, but she knew where the back door was. It was also lucky that she knew where the keys were kept (thanks to Stiles, who always helped himself to them as if they were his own) because the back door was locked.
Once she'd opened the door, she stepped through and closed it softly behind her.
It was obvious that the garden wasn't something that was used often. The grass reached well past her ankles, and was in desperate need of a cut. Next to the door, there was a lone flowerpot, which seemed to be containing something that looked suspiciously like weeds. The rest of the garden wasn't much better.
She picked her way through the garden, moving towards the flowerbed that was below Scott's window. There were actual plants there, but they looked as if they'd been there a while - though they did seem to be doing fairly well on their own.
Kneeling down, she searched through the plants, looking for anything that might have dropped. Every few seconds she had to pause to tuck her hair behind her ears, and she found herself wishing that she'd brought a hair bobble with her. It was hard to look at anything when she had strawberry blonde curls hanging in front of her face. But it didn't seem to matter; there wasn't anything to find anyway.
After around five minutes, she gave up. All she was going to do was come across a huge spider or some other form of creepy, filthy creature and she didn't want to risk it.
She stood up and turned around. Malia was coming towards her.
"Is Stiles here?" she asked. Malia nodded.
"He ran upstairs. But I followed your scent out here,"
"I was looking for clues," she admitted, folding her arms. She hadn't realised how much of a breeze there was.
"I can smell blood," Malia came to a stop beside her and looked up, "I thinks it's Scott's blood,"
"I had a feeling it was," she sighed, her worst suspicions confirmed, "Can you smell anything else?"
"Yes - Scott's scent. But I can't pick anything else up. All I can smell is gravy,"
Lydia turned to give the were-coyote a look, eyebrows raised.
"Melissa was cooking," Malia explained, before grabbing her wrist, "Come on, I want to look in Scott's room,"
Lydia grudgingly allowed the were-coyote to drag her back towards the house, before they both paused again. A phone was ringing, somewhere in the garden. The shrill sound pierced through the air. They shared a look and turned back around again.
Malia of course, with her amplified hearing, found the phone first in the grass near the back of the garden. It was was Scott's black Samsung, and there was a single crack across the top of the screen. Lydia sighed. It looked like GPS tracking wasn't going to work, though, admittedly, she hadn't actually thought about it.
She gently pried the mobile out of Malia's hand, before turning it on. Despite the large crack, the screen still worked, so she was able to unlock it and answer the incoming call.
"Scott?" asked Stiles voice.
"Wait. How do you know his phone password?"
"I know everyone's password. His phone was just lying in the grass - it's cracked. I think he must have dropped it," she said, turning it on loudspeaker and examining the crack. For all she knew, the crack could have already been there. Scott didn't exactly have a good reputation when it came to electronic devices.
"Already?" Stiles sighed, "He got a new one two weeks ago because he lost the other one,"
"Did you find anything?" she asked him, ignoring the phone comment. They couldn't afford to get off topic.
"No. There's nothing here - part of me feels like there should be something else. But I don't want to start jumping to conclusions...you know? I'm just waiting for something else to happen - like what Deaton said: Regression to the mean. The last few months have been really good, so at some point, things have got to get really bad again in order to balance it out more, right?"
"Maybe," Lydia replied thoughtfully. She'd been thinking about it herself ever since they'd defeated the dread doctors. It had always been in the back of her mind - deep down, she was waiting for something else to happen. It was the price to pay for disturbing the Nemeton and turning it into a beacon for the supernatural. There never seemed to be any more than a few months between each incident.
"So you're saying something else wants to kill us?" Malia asked, frowning.
"Pretty much," Stiles confirmed, "Do you want to look at the blood and find a scent?"
"No. I already have it," Malia turned and stalked off, heading towards the back of the garden. Lydia watched her go, wishing she would wait, before glancing back down at the phone.
"I'm going to follow Malia," she told Stiles, "So hurry up,"
She hung up before he could answer and turned to follow the were-coyote. Malia had already made it to the fence and was running her fingers over it thoughtfully.
"Did you find anything?" she asked, walking over. She cursed herself for wearing little brown wedge heels. As nice as they looked, they were not suitable for walking through long grass and uneven ground. The same went for the rest of her outfit; the pink, white and green flowered dress that nearly reached down to her knees was also a disadvantage.
"Only Scott's scent," Malia replied. She was wearing denim shorts and a plaid green and pink shirt along with black converse shoes. Despite the colours being an awful combination (she should really have taught Malia how to dress with even a little fashion sense by now) she couldn't help but think the clothes were a lot more practicable for the outdoors.
Lydia watched the were-coyote wander up and down the fence, her face showing nothing but concentration. She assumed she was looking for the point where the scent was strongest, though it was hard to tell with Malia.
"Got anything yet?" Stiles called, running up to them, Lydia's leather brown shoulder bag clutched in his hand, "Hey, you forgot this," he added.
"Thanks," she said, taking it and sliding the strap over her shoulder. She'd left the small bag in Scott's room when she'd opened it to find her phone. After the call she'd made she completely forgotten about it. However, now she had it again, she slid the cracked phone into it as it bumped gently against her hip.
"Scott's scent leads over the fence," Malia decided suddenly. Stiles and Lydia looked up just in time to see the were-coyote scale the fence and hop over it. Lydia huffed.
"I am not climbing over the fence," she told Stiles stubbornly. She didn't have a choice anyway; climbing in heels was never a good idea, especially if she had a dress on.
"You won't have to. There's a gate over here somewhere," he gestured at her to follow and moved further along the fence. If he hadn't shown her the gate, she would never have known it was there. The wooden gate blended in perfectly with the rest of the fence, except it had a small rusty padlock on a handle. She hoped it wasn't locked.
Fortunately, it wasn't. Stiles pulled the padlock off and dropped it on the floor, with the air of someone who had done this many times before. It took him a moment to move the handle, as it had grown stiff with age and little use. Finally though, he tugged the gate open, and the two of them darted through.
Malia was waiting impatiently for them on the other side. She looked cross.
"Well?" Stiles asked, flapping his hands at her, "Let's get going!"
Malia rolled her eyes and jogged off, leaving Stiles and Lydia to hurry after her.
It was going to be a long day.