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The Hope To Keep On Going

Chapter Text

It'd been six months. In fact, it'd been six months to the exact day when Stiles came into her apartment and sat on the edge of her bed. "Lyds?" he'd asked. "Hey, Lydia, it's me."

She poked her head out from underneath the comforter she was cocooned in and said, "Hey, Stiles."

"Hi, Lyds." He watched her closely. "The doorman let me in. He knows me as...as Jordan's brother."

It made Lydia's stomach sink. She wanted to cover her head back up and slip into a deep sleep. She had sleeping pills for this very occasion. She had gotten them after...well, after it happened, and just kept getting them refilled. And she didn't have to work if she didn't want to. Sure, when it happened, Lydia had been in the middle of her junior year of college, studying mathematics, but she just quit. Just dropped out, because she felt like her life was ending.

It'd been six months to the very day since Jordan - her life, her love, her very best friend - had died over in Afghanistan. Six months since she had gotten the news. She wanted to crawl into a hole and die because she had loved him so very much and then he was just...he was just gone.

So she just was. She locked herself in her apartment, didn't go for her morning jogs, she didn't even have friends over. She was quite content in just existing. Of course, Allison and Kira understood - Lydia had known they would - but they would sneak in with the keys they had made that they got from her mother. Natalie Martin was a wonderful woman, and a wonderful mother at that, but she did whatever she could to make sure that her daughter had what she needed. And she was the only one who had an emergency key. But when Jordan had been killed in that bombing, she got concerned.

"Lyds?" Stiles said gently. He licked his lips and watched her closely. She poked her head out of her cocoon and just watched him, her green eyes brimming with tears. "I know it hurts, Lyds. God, I know it does. It hurts just as much for me, Scott, Melissa and my dad. But you've gotta go on living. Lyds, Jordan - he would want you to live."

The words twisted in her gut. She didn't want to think about that. She knew that Jordan would want what was best for her - he'd always wanted what was best for her - but moving on without him just felt every kind of wrong.

"I can't," Lydia finally said after a few moments had passed. "Without him, Stiles...it hurts too much."

Finally, Stiles sighed and said, "Move over, Lyds." She did as he asked and he lay down next to her, wrapping his arms around her, he enveloped her in his warmth and, feeling safe for the first time in months, she drifted off.

-x-

When she woke up, she wasn't surprised to see Stiles asleep. What she was surprised at, however, was that Allison and Kira were in her room, watching the two of them sleep. She licked her lips before saying, "God, you guys are being creepers."

"We're not creepers," Kira said. "I came over to make sure you were okay. We hadn't heard from you in almost two weeks, and I wanted to make sure you were still alive."

Lydia sighed, "I'm here."

"I see that Stiles had the same idea we did," Allison said after a moment. "I mean, how long has it been since we've seen him here, Kira?"

Kira shrugged, "Not sure. I wasn't aware that the two of you were still friends."

It was true; Lydia had pretty much avoided Stiles, Scott, Melissa and the sheriff after Jordan had died. There were too many bad memories attached, and she was worried hanging out with them was going to just make them tumbling back. After two months of that, though, both Stiles and John had shown up at her apartment, telling her they needed her. They were the only link to Jordan, through each other, and they needed to be together.

Jordan's parents had died when he was a kid. The sheriff took him in, because Jordan's dad worked at the station, too. John was just a deputy at the time, but Jordan had no other living family and John was not going to let the kid go into the foster care system. Jordan was two years older than Stiles, but he adapted well and he and Stiles bonded and talked to each other like brothers. Jordan's bond with Stiles was different than Scott's, but they cared about each other just as deeply. That's one of the reasons it killed John and Stiles when he had died - they felt like they'd lost another member of their family, and Lydia remembered Stiles saying that it hurt just as bad as when his mom had died.

Because Jordan was so close to John and Stiles, he had also been close to Scott and Melissa as well. Melissa and the sheriff had started dating when the kids were about sixteen, and by the time they graduated from high school, they were engaged. Jordan was just another son to the both of them.

"He let himself in earlier," Lydia answered. "The doorman let him in because..." her voice trailed off. Luckily, she didn't need to finish her sentence, because Kira and Allison understood.

"He's Jordan's brother," Allison said softly. Lydia just nodded.

It wasn't very long after that that Stiles lazily opened his eyes. He looked and saw Allison and Kira sitting in the room and talking to Lydia in hushed whispers. "Hey guys," he said, looking at them.

"Hey Stiles," Kira said. They hadn't known Kira as long as they'd known Allison - she moved out to California almost three years ago to start college, but they'd known Allison since high school - but right away, Kira and Scott became a thing, and Stiles was glad. Kira had become one of their best friends in such a short period of time, and Stiles loved her.

"So, Lyds," Allison said, breaking the silence, "Kira and I were gonna go out. Get dinner, maybe take in a movie. You wanna come?"

Lydia sighed, "Sorry guys, I just don't think I can tonight."

"Lyds," Kira said gently, watching her friend, "I know it's been hard for you since Jordan died. I get it, okay? But you need to start living again. For the last six months, you've done nothing but stay in this apartment. I know you've got a trust fund and everything, but what happened to your plans of getting your PhD? You don't even leave to go grocery shopping."

"I know it, but I just...I can't move on, Kira. Not without him."

Allison and Stiles watched each other before Allison spoke. "How about we have dinner here, Lyds?" she asked gently. "I mean, do you have groceries in the house? If not, we can always get takeout."

Lydia sighed, "I kinda just wanna be left alone, guys."

"Lyds," Stiles said, and for a moment, she had forgotten he was next to her. "I think time with your friends would be a good idea, don't you? I mean, it'd just be nice to spend time with you for a little while."

Lydia sighed. "Okay," she finally said. "I guess so."

-x-

Allison managed to find food in Lydia's cupboards, although she had no idea how they got there. Lydia hadn't been out of the apartment in six months, not since she had gotten back from Jordan's funeral. When she asked Stiles about it, he just looked at her and replied, "Natalie. She shops for Lydia, and even comes over here to put the groceries away and replaces the ones that have gone bad. It's the only reason that Lydia's survived this long."

"God, Stiles," Allison said, grilling chicken to put in a salad, "What the hell are we gonna do? She's still a mess."

"It's only been six months," Kira said, coming into the kitchen. She grabbed a can of Coke out of the fridge and then sat down at the small table by the wall. "I mean, I get that's a long time, especially for someone like Lydia, but she's grieving. I get that it still hurts."

"Of course it fucking hurts," Stiles snapped. Then he sighed, "Look, I lost him, too. So did Dad, Melissa and Scott. We all miss him a lot. But we haven't isolated ourselves. I just...I love her, you know, and I know that Jordan would not want her to be like this. One of the things he loved about her was the fact that she was so alive and fierce. She's lost that since he's been gone."

"He was ripped away from her, though, Stiles," Kira said. "Look, I'm not trying to take sides or say that she's going through more than you or your parents, Stiles, but she was ready to spend her life with him and the next thing she knows, he's gone. It's got to hurt in a way that you can't even imagine."

Stiles sighed. "I guess," he said reluctantly, "but my point still stands. We all lost Jordan, and we all miss him just as much. He was our family, too."

"Look, guys," Allison said, cutting up vegetables for the salad she was making, "I don't want you guys arguing about this. Kira, the Stilinskis and McCalls lost him, too. But Stiles, so did Lydia. You guys miss him just as much, but in a different way. Now, can we please drop this?"

Stiles and Kira apologized to one another before Stiles said, "Sorry, Ally. I'm just really frustrated, you know?"

"Look, Stiles, I get it," Allison said, dishing up dinner. "I understand how you can be frustrated. But different people grieve in different ways and in different times. Maybe together, all of us, I think we might be able to help her start to live again."

Chapter Text

When Stiles walked into Lydia's apartment the next day, he walked into the middle of a fight Lydia was having with her mother.

Well, fight was such a strong word, and not entirely accurate. Natalie Martin was sitting in the recliner in Lydia's living room, legs crossed at the ankles and watching her daughter intently. Lydia was standing, pacing back and forth. Stiles had known Lydia for a long time and he knew that she only did that when she was really frustrated. They both glanced up when they heard Stiles come in, but didn't say anything right away.

"Hey guys," Stiles said, not really sure what to say here. "What's going on?"

"I'll tell you what's fucking going on," Lydia said, shooting a look at her mother. "She's sending me to a death group."

Stiles glanced at Natalie before cocking an eyebrow and saying, "Uh...what?"

"It's not a death group, dear. It's a support group. It's a place where people who've lost loved ones can go to get support, hence the name. They understand what you're going through, Lydia, and I think it's important that you go."

"I don't see what's wrong with that," Stiles said. He saw the look Lydia shot him, but tried not to let it bother him. "I mean, this has been really hard on you."

"I don't need help!" Lydia exclaimed, but Natalie just watched her daughter.

"Everybody needs help sometimes, dear," Natalie said.

This whole scene was almost unbelievable to Stiles. He would believe it, though, just because he'd known the Martins for a long time, but it still made him laugh internally. Lydia was freaking out, practically yelling at her mother, but Natalie was the picture of calm. She didn't even look fazed at all. She didn't even look the slightest bit angry. She might have passed for worried, but she really didn't look that, either.

"I think it's a good idea," Stiles said, trying to ease the tension between Natalie and Lydia. Well, the tension he could tell Lydia had, anyway. "If it makes you feel any better, I'll go with you."

Lydia looked up at him, shocked. "You'll go, too?" she asked in a small voice.

"Of course I will," Stiles said. "You weren't the only one who lost Jordan, Lyds. I think it'd be good for the both of us."

-x-

"So you guys are going to the support group together, then?" Scott asked later that day, during their weekly video gaming marathon. With them in college, they didn't have a whole lot of time anymore, especially with them both working, but they managed to get together once a week to game.

Stiles shot at a zombie onscreen before looking at Scott, "Of course I am. Lydia is my friend and I've been worried about her for a long time. She isolated herself from everyone, and you've known Lydia as long as I have - it was really out of character for her." Stiles paused before looking over at Scott, "Besides, dude, I lost him, too."

"You sure this has nothing to do with the fact that, even after all this time, you're still madly in love with her?" Scott asked. Stiles paused their game and looked at his best friend incredulously.

"You're not as subtle as you think you are, Stiles," Scott said, watching Stiles' confused expression. "Besides, man, I remember when Jordan and Lydia started dating in the first place. Don't you?"

Of course he remembered. They had been sixteen and Stiles had been madly in love with Lydia for a long time before that. He had had his eye on her ever since the third grade when she, in front of everyone, told Stiles that he was an idiot for thinking that the Tyrannosaurus Rex was the best dinosaur because it was big. When she started to list the reasons that other dinosaurs were better than him, Stiles was hooked. In the beginning, it was her brain that he was in love with. She was smart, so fucking intelligent that she could tell you twenty reasons why you were wrong and make you believe that you were a complete idiot by the end of it. He knew he had felt that way more than once.


It was the summer vacation between tenth and eleventh grades for Stiles, which meant that Jordan had just graduated in May. Stiles loved having him as a brother - Jordan meant a lot to Stiles, and they had grown close since the sheriff had taken Jordan in when he was eight. Sophomore year had been a milestone to Stiles, though, because he had finally gotten Lydia Martin to notice him. Sure, they weren't a thing, but she knew he existed, and they even talked to one another and hung out. You could even say they were friends. That was one of the things that Stiles had wanted more than anything.

During the summer, Jordan was working part time filing paperwork down at the police station. He was going off to college in the fall, and Stiles was pretty sure that this was a way that the sheriff could spend a little more time with Jordan before he went off. Of course, he was just going to Berkeley, but Jordan had pretty much been like a son to John for the last ten years and he worried about him. Besides that, everyone at the station loved him, and they were pretty sure that Jordan was going to make a great cop one day.

Scott was busy that summer, his job at Deaton's animal clinic taking up most of his time, and Stiles didn't really have anyone else to hang out with, so he was almost glad that first day when Lydia showed up on his doorstep.

"What are you doing here, Lyds?" Stiles asked, his voice still laced with sleep. Hey, it was the first day of summer vacation and she showed up at his house at nine in the morning. Who the fuck even did that when they could sleep as late as they wanted?

Lydia smiled, nodding to the three plastic containers in her hands. "I want to go down to the police station," she said simply, as if that explained anything.

"Okay," Stiles said slowly, it sounding more like a question. "That actually doesn't answer my question, Lyds."

She gave him a look that made him feel like a complete idiot before sighing deeply and saying, "I want to go down to the police station. Last night, my mom and I made cookies and she made me promise that I'd take some down to the sheriff. I actually had to hide them so my dad wouldn't get into them, and here," she handed Stiles the top container, "This one's for you. My mom thinks you're a nice boy. But anyway, I don't wanna go down there alone, and everybody knows that you practically live down there. So I thought you could go with me...I mean, if you wanna."

Stiles nodded, "Sure thing. Give me twenty minutes to get dressed and brush my teeth." He motioned into the house and Lydia stepped over the threshold, "You can watch TV or whatever. I won't take that long."

"I know," Lydia said, setting the containers down on the coffee table and then settling on the couch behind them. Stiles ran upstairs to get ready as he heard Lydia turn on the TV.

They had decided on taking Lydia's car and before long, they were down at the station. Stiles spotted Jordan as soon as they walked in.

"Hey man," Stiles said. Jordan grinned at him. They made small talk as Lydia went into the sheriff's office.

"Is that Lydia Martin?" Jordan asked Stiles after she had gone. Stiles watched his brother carefully.

"Yeah," he said slowly. "Why?"

Jordan shook his head, "She's grown up. She's beautiful now."

"She was beautiful before," Stiles told Jordan. Jordan just shrugged.

After delivering the cookies, Lydia and Stiles stuck around for a few minutes, chatting with Jordan. On the way back to Stiles' house, Lydia cleared her throat before saying, "So...your brother's really grown up."

Stiles nodded silently.

"He ever say anything about me?"

"Where is this going, Lyds?" Stiles said, trying to keep the jealousy out of his voice. Here she was, his first crush, his first love, starting to sound like she was going to ask Stiles to set her up with Jordan.

"Well, I was wondering..." she started, but then paused. "You think you could introduce us? You know, formally?"

"You've known Jordan for years, Lyds," Stiles said.

"Yeah, but I haven't actually talked to him in forever. I thought you could break the ice for us a little bit, and..." her voice trailed off. But Stiles got what she wasn't saying.

"You want to date my brother," Stiles stated, trying (and failing) to keep the envy out of his voice.

"If you're not cool with that, I won't," Lydia said. "I just thought that since we're friends, you could put in a good word for me."

Stiles nodded, hating himself, "Sure, Lyds. I can do that."

After that day, Lydia and Jordan were seen around a lot of the time together. When Jordan left for Berkeley to go to college, Lydia was known to drive up there every so often and spend the weekend with him. Even though Stiles had the biggest crush on Lydia, he felt her happiness was more important, and that's all he really cared about. He needed her to be happy.

"Dude, everyone knew how you felt about Lydia," Scott said, talking as if Stiles hadn't zoned out in the first place. "When she and Jordan showed interest in one another, you stepped aside, 'cause you're a good guy. You're a nice guy and all you care about is her happiness. I get it, man. But even after all these years, you still love her, and I get that. But if you wanna do this group therapy thing with her, I think you should. I mean, you've got it practically the worst out of all of us."

"Why's that?"

"Because you lost your brother, but at the same time, you love Lydia. And she's taking Jordan's death really hard, and you have to see her deteriorating like this. It's gotta be really hard on you, man."

Stiles shrugged, "I wanna see her happy, man. I mean, yeah, I love her, even after all this time, even though she was engaged to the guy who was practically my brother, but at the same time, even if she never picked me and moved on to someone else, I'd still wanna see her happy. That's all that matters to me."

Scott clapped him on the back. "C'mon, man," he said. "This shit has gotten so depressing." He motioned to the zombies on the TV screen, "Let's kill these motherfuckers."

Stiles smiled, "Sure, Scotty." That's when they decided they were done with the emotional talk, and Stiles was perfectly fine with that.

-x-

They were lying in bed together, one of Lydia's favorite positions to be in with Jordan after making love. He was spooning her from behind, her head rested on his arm, which was stretched out under her. He kissed her shoulder before saying, "Hey, Lyds?"

"Hmm?" she answered him.

"I've been thinking," he said. She rolled over so she could see his face.

"I think I wanna go into the army," he said. "I've been thinking about it a lot. My parents, you know, they were both in the army. That's how they met, in fact. And I...I've always wanted to do their memory some good, you know. I think I should do this. But if you aren't okay with it, I won't do it. Us, together, I want to make sure everything is a partnership."

Lydia watched him carefully before saying, "Uh...if this is something that you feel like you need to do, I'm not going to stand in your way. I want you to be happy."

"Lyds, you make me happy," Jordan said. "You'll always make me happy. But I just..." his voice trailed off.

Lydia nodded, "I get it, babe. If you feel like you need to do this, then I want you to."

"It'll only be for a couple of years," Jordan said, kissing her on the forehead. "Then you and I can be together and very happy."

When Lydia woke up, she was extra groggy. She hated dreams like that. Everything was fucked up in her head, and she dreamt memories like this pretty often. The psychiatrist that her mother had made her see after Jordan died told her that this was a normal part of the grieving process. While grieving was different for everyone, Lydia couldn't help but feel like she was cursed.

She glanced at the clock, which told her that it was only five after eight. She knew that Kira got up early because she and Scott went running before Scott's ten o'clock class and they liked to run the path in the woods that Kira had found a while ago while exploring. Honestly, leave it to Kira and Scott to turn running into a couple's activity. They'd probably be back by now, so she reached over and grabbed her phone off the nightstand.

Kira answered on the second ring, "Hey, Lyds. I wasn't sure I'd hear from you in a while."

"Yeah," Lydia said, sighing. "Look, Kira, I had a dream and I don't really wanna be alone right now. Are you busy? I mean, do you have class?"

"Not today," Kira said after a moment. "Scott's got class at ten, but I'm free all day. You want me to come over? I can be there in twenty minutes."

"Hey, if it's okay with you, stop and pick up some donuts and chocolate milk. I have a craving and I'll pay you back once you get here."

"Sure," Kira said. "It'll probably be more like half an hour, then."

"It's fine," Lydia said. "I want to take a shower, anyway."

After they hung up, Lydia got out a simple light blue dress and that's when she realized - not only was today the first day she actually felt like wearing clothes in who knew how long, but this was Jordan's favorite dress on her. After a few moments of debating it in her head, she decided to wear it anyway. Maybe it'd make her feel close to him. Ever since Jordan's funeral, she'd been wearing mostly pajamas. But for some reason, she actually felt like wearing clothes today.

She reveled in the way the hot water felt on her skin and felt a million times better after getting out. She was in the middle of getting dressed when Kira walked through the front door and yelled to Lydia that she was there.

When Lydia went down the stairs and into the living room, she saw Kira standing there with Scott. Scott watched Lydia closely for a few minutes before saying, "Hey Lyds."

"Scott," Lydia said. "I didn't expect to see you. It's been a while."

Scott nodded, "Yeah, it has. I've got class in an hour, but I wanted to check up on you. I mean, I know that Stiles was here yesterday, but we've known each other a long time and I wanted to make sure that you're okay."

Lydia nodded, "Sure. I'm doing better today than I have in a while, to be honest."

"You're wearing actual clothes today," Kira said, setting the box of donuts on the coffee table and handing Lydia the gallon jug of milk. Lydia went to put it in the fridge.

"I felt like it," Lydia said when she got back. "I haven't felt like it for a while, but I thought this was a good day to do that. Besides, in case you haven't heard, my mom signed me up for a support group thing, so I've gotta get used to dressing in normal clothes and going out in public again. I might take a walk or something later just to get myself used to the outside again."

"I think that's a good idea," Scott said. "I mean, we all love you and want to be here for you, Lyds, and the way things have been going...we've been worried."

Lydia nodded as she picked up a donut out of the box. She bit into it as she sat down on the couch.

"So, you had a dream," Kira started, picking out her own breakfast and sitting down beside Lydia. "Wanna talk about it?"

Lydia shrugged, swallowing before saying, "I, uh...it was about Jordan. I dream my memories sometimes, and that's why they hurt so much. It feels like the wound is being reopened so it can rip me apart one more time."

"I'm sorry about that," Kira said genuinely. "That's got to hurt."

Lydia nodded, "It does. I just...Kira, I miss him so fucking much and for a long time it felt like I'd never be able to move on. And now, things are getting better, and Stiles is going with me to that support group thing tomorrow, but I...I never wanna forget him. Never."

"And you won't," Kira said. "I know you probably won't believe me, but you're never gonna forget your first love. And even if you do move on, you're not hurting his memory, Lyds. Jordan would want you to be happy."

Lydia sighed, "I guess you're right."

"Of course I am," Kira said, making Lydia laugh. Then, after Scott told them he had to go to class and kissed Kira goodbye, Kira looked at Lydia, "You wanna queue up Netflix or something? Let's watch a movie or something."

Lydia nodded, "Sure. Sounds good."

Chapter Text

Lydia was surprised about a week later when John showed up at her apartment around four in the afternoon. It was a Friday, and while Lydia was now used to Stiles showing up, she hadn't actually seen his father in quite a while.

They stood there for a couple of minutes, just looking at each other, before John cleared his throat and said, "Can I come in?"

Lydia nodded and stepped aside. She noticed that John was carrying a box. He set it down on the coffee table before looking at her, "I know it's been about six months since Jordan died, but I got a package today. It's his personal effects that the military sent to me, since I was his guardian and he didn't have any living relatives." John watched Lydia for a good moment before saying, "I brought them because I figured they should belong to you. You guys were engaged, and as far as I'm concerned, you were a part of this family."

Lydia could feel the tears start to leak from her eyes when she leaned over and pulled John in for a hug. He hugged her back for a moment, and when they pulled apart, Lydia looked at John, "Thank you. I mean, I really appreciate it."

John nodded and sat down on the couch, with Lydia taking the seat beside him. "I was gonna have Stiles drop them off," he said, watching her closely, "but I just figured it was something that I should do myself. Besides, it's been a while and I wanted to see you."

Lydia nodded, "I'm fine. I see Stiles quite a bit now, and we go to that weekly support group thing together."

"I know he was going with you," John said as Lydia got up and grabbed a bottle of water for each of them out of the refrigerator. "He asked me and Melissa if we wanted to go, too, but we're both busy."

Lydia handed the water to John and said, "Well, thank you for these. I appreciate it."

"Look, Lyds," John said, watching Lydia closely. "I know that you lost Jordan, and I know you probably don't feel like you're a part of the family anymore." He cleared his throat and then took a drink of his water. "I want you to know that Jordan was not your link to the Stilinski family, okay? With you having been engaged to Jordan, and with you and Stiles so close, I've been thinking of you like my daughter for a long time. Don't think that just because Jordan's gone, you should stay away, okay? I love you like you're my own kid.:"

Tears were starting to leak from Lydia's eyes, but she didn't want to cry right now. Instead, she said, "Thank you, Sheriff. I think of you guys as family, too."

"Good," he said. "And call me John, please. But for now, how about you come around for dinner tomorrow night? Stiles said you've been getting up and out more often now, so I thought a nice family dinner would be good. You bring your mom, too, if you want."

"Can I think about it?" Lydia asked timidly. "It's not a no, it's more like, I want to think about what I want to do. Is that okay?"

Standing, John nodded and said, "Let Stiles know what's happening. Just make sure you tell him; you know how much he hates it when he cooks and nobody shows up."

Lydia laughed, "Yeah. I'll definitely let him know."

"It was good seeing you, Lydia," John said, walking towards the door. "Hopefully I'll see you tomorrow."

Lydia gave him a quick hug before saying, "Yeah, we'll see."

-x-

"What's that box?" Stiles asked later that night when he came through Lydia's front door. He didn't even knock anymore; Lydia was pretty sure that Natalie had given him a key as well. "It wasn't here the last time I was."

"Your dad was here earlier. He didn't tell you?" Lydia asked from where she was browning beef in her open kitchen. "I thought he would've."

"He didn't mention," Stiles said. "But then again, he and I didn't really talk today. He was busy with a case."

Lydia nodded. Then she looked at Stiles, "You staying for dinner?"

He shrugged, "Sure. Is that okay?"

Lydia nodded, "I'm making tacos."

"Fine." Stiles sat down at the kitchen table and then looked at Lydia. "So are you gonna tell me what the box is?"

"It's Jordan's stuff that the military sent your father. That's why he was here. He said I should have it."

"Have you looked inside it yet?"

"God, Stiles, nosy much?" Lydia asked, adding the seasoning to her beef. "Does it matter whether I have or haven't?"

"I was just curious," Stiles mumbled. Lydia sighed and then looked at him.

"I'm sorry, Stiles," she said. "I'm just in a bad mood right now."

Stiles nodded. A couple of minutes passed and neither one of them said anything. Even though it was silence, it was comfortable. That was one thing that Lydia really appreciated about her relationship with Stiles; when they were quiet with one another, it was never uncomfortable or awkward.

Once dinner was done and they sat down to eat, Lydia said, "Your dad invited me to dinner tomorrow night."

"Really?" Stiles asked. When Lydia nodded, he said, "So, are you gonna come?"

Lydia shrugged. "I haven't been inside your house since..." her voice trailed off, but they both knew what she didn't have to say. Lydia hadn't been inside the Stilinski house since Jordan had left for Afghanistan. The last time she was in that house, Jordan was alive.

"I could ask Dad if we could have it at the apartment," Stiles said, mentioning the apartment that he shared with Scott and Kira. "I'm sure he'll be okay with it."

"I know that he would," Lydia said, "but you shouldn't have to do that. Not just for me."

"Look, Lyds," Stiles said after a moment. "If anybody understands what you're going through right now, it's Dad. He was a real mess after my mom died. He gets what you're going through. It really wouldn't be a big deal, and I know Dad would be cool with it."

"It's fine, Stiles," Lydia said. "I can easily go into that house and be perfectly fine."

"So does this mean you're coming?" Stiles asked. He looked hopeful. "'Cause that would be really awesome. Y'know, to have dinner with you again."

"You're having dinner with me right now, Stiles," Lydia said. Stiles sighed.

"That's not what I meant," Stiles said. "It hasn't been a Stilinski family dinner with you in a while. I think it would be fun."

Lydia licked her lips and then looked at Stiles, "Sure. I'll be there."

Stiles' face broke out into a huge grin, "That's great, Lyds. I'm sure Dad'll be thrilled."

-x-

"What was I even thinking?" Lydia asked Kira and Allison as she paced back and forth in her bedroom that night. After Stiles had gone, Lydia had called Kira and Allison to come over. They sat in her bedroom, on her bed, and just watched her. "I can't go over there tomorrow night. I haven't actually been in that house since..." her voice trailed off. Her breaths started coming out ragged and that's when Allison jumped up. Lydia wasn't known for having panic attacks, but they did happen sometimes, and had started after Jordan had died. Allison steered Lydia over to the bed and sat down beside her, rubbing her back and trying to get her to breathe. She whispered soothing words into her ear and tried to calm her down. After about ten minutes of that, Lydia's breaths started to change and she was breathing calmly once more.

"That's one of the reasons right there," Lydia said, once she was breathing normally. "I might have a fucking panic attack right there in the living room. They don't need to see that."

"They love you, Lyds," Kira said, speaking up. "They're not gonna care."

"Well, maybe I do," Lydia snapped. Then she sighed, "Look, I know that they're trying to connect with me. I get that. And I love them - I really do. It's just...they were my connection to Jordan, and now that he's gone..." her voice trailed off.

"I know it's hard, Lyds," Allison said. "But they're family, and if you ask me, you guys need each other." She sighed, "The way you avoided the Stilinskis and McCalls after Jordan died...it did more harm than good, if you ask me."

"She's right," Kira said. "They missed you, and Scott always told me that he felt bad because you wouldn't be avoiding them if they didn't have that link. This is something you need to do, Lydia. You guys need each other."

Lydia sighed, "Sure, I get it." She watched the other girls carefully before saying, "I hate to kick you guys out, but I need to go to bed. You don't have to leave, but..." When her voice trailed off, Kira and Allison looked at one another before nodding.

"I need to go anyway," Allison said, getting up. "I've got a shit ton of homework this weekend. Isaac's coming over early tomorrow to help me get started."

"Me too," Kira said. "We'll see you later, Lyds." Lydia hugged each one of them in turn, and they left. When she settled down in bed, Lydia drifted off in what she hoped would be a dreamless sleep.

-x-

Jordan once told Lydia that he loved running in the preserve. He liked the scenery, and he liked how peaceful and quiet it was. He ran the trails back by the Hale house and even though, technically, that was private property back there, he and Derek were friends, so nobody really cared.

"Why are we out here again?" Lydia asked Allison that day. Allison unpacked her gear, handing the bow and a practice arrow to Lydia.

"Because," Allison said, setting up a target, "colleges look for extracurricular activities on applications. I thought it'd be a good idea for you. Besides, you like learning new things. Haven't you ever wanted to try?"

"There's a difference between you and me, Ally," Lydia said, watching her friend carefully. "The difference is that you actually have good aim. You're not going to accidentally shoot someone."

Allison just waved a hand dismissively, "Give it a try, Lyds. What could possibly happen?"

Allison spent the next half hour teaching Lydia how to stand, teaching her how to hold the bow and shoot the arrow. "It's easy," she had told her, once Lydia was ready to try to shoot the arrow on her own. "I know you can do this."

Lydia drew the string back and shot the arrow. It missed the target, just like she knew it would, but then they heard a blood curdling scream. Lydia dropped the arrow and started running to where she heard the scream. She was horrified when she saw Jordan crouching on the ground, an arrow in his leg.

"Shit," Lydia said, coming up to him. "I'm so sorry. Oh my God, oh my God."

"Lydia," Jordan said through clenched teeth as Allison started tending to his leg, "I need you to calm down right now, okay? Panicking isn't going to do a damn bit of good."

Allison got the arrow out and wrapped a towel around his leg as a tourniquet. She looked at Lydia, "He needs to go to the hospital."

"Great," Lydia said. They helped him to the hospital, though, and Lydia was grateful that Melissa was working. While another nurse took Jordan back, Melissa looked at the girls, "What happened?"

"I shot him," Lydia said, feeling like she was going to hyperventilate. "Oh my God, I fucking shot him."

"Lydia accidentally shot Jordan with an arrow," Allison said to Melissa. She steered Lydia over to a chair in the waiting area and started rubbing her best friend's back, trying to get her to calm down. "It was a total accident. I didn't even see him, and I was looking around."

"Lydia, you need to breathe," Melissa said, noticing that Lydia was in the starting stages of a panic attack. "C'mon, match my breathing." She grabbed Lydia's hand and put it on her pulse point on her wrist. "See how steady my pulse is, how steady my breathing is? Try to match it."

It took about fifteen minutes, but Lydia managed to get it under control. Of course, that was when the sheriff and Stiles came bursting through the door.

"What happened?" John asked, looking from Melissa to Lydia to Allison. "Is he okay?"

"He's going to be fine," Melissa said to John. "Dr. Connors came and talked to me about it. He was shot in the calf, and it's going to hurt for a while, but no permanent damage was done."

"He was shot?" John asked. "Who the fuck shot him?"

Lydia was starting to panic again. Oh God, she was definitely going to go to jail for this. Stiles sensed Lydia panicking, though, and he came over to her and started rubbing her back. He helped her through it a lot quicker than when Melissa had done it, and John looked at her. "You shot him?"

"It was an accident," Lydia said. "Ally was teaching me how to use a bow and arrow. We were in the preserve, with targets. I didn't see him. I'm so sorry, please don't send me to jail for this."

John sighed, "Jesus Christ, I told him not to run in the preserve for this very reason." He ran a hand over his face and then looked at Lydia, "It's fine, sweetie, okay? Just breathe. I'm not gonna send you to jail for this. It's going to be okay."

After Jordan was released from the ER, Lydia came over every day for a week. It was summer vacation; she didn't really have much else to do and she wanted to fix her mistake. That's when they really started to click. She would bring him cookies and talk to him for hours. It was then that they realized how much they really liked each other, and even though Lydia was sixteen, it was that summer that Jordan had asked her on their very first date. The sheriff seemed to be cool with it, and Lydia knew her parents wouldn't care. She'd been seen around with college guys, so this wasn't anything new. Her parents weren't exactly neglectful, they were just...distant.

When Lydia woke up from her dream/memory, she was a little groggy, so she just lay in bed for a while, remembering. Even though she had shot Jordan in the leg with an arrow, Jordan had seemed to take it in stride. It quickly became a joke between the two of them, and nobody really understood, but that was just the way they were.

As Lydia lay there, she hoped that even though Jordan was gone, her dinner with the Stilinskis for the first time since his death would be a good one.

Chapter Text

Lydia was nervous.

She knew how ridiculous that sounded. There was a time where the Stilinskis were practically Lydia's family, and she went over there to have dinner with them all the time. John and Melissa were practically extra parents that weren't really hers, and they watched over her and talked to her, and even lectured her when she did something wrong. She had no reason to be nervous.

John had told her that he wouldn't be home until after six, and even though Stiles had his own apartment now, he always came home to have dinner with John and Melissa at least once a week. He was going to Beacon Hills University, as well as the rest of their friends, so it wasn't that far for him. Even though Lydia knew that John wouldn't be home until after six, Lydia found herself at the Stilinski house a little after four. She just hoped that Stiles would be there.

She stood at the front door for a while. She let ten minutes turn into fifteen turn into twenty, and then the door was being flung open. Stiles stood there, flour on the old, faded BHPD shirt he was wearing and a mess of flour on his forearms.

"Why are you just standing out here?" Stiles asked.

"How'd you know I was here?"

"I saw you out the window," Stiles said.

"You're a mess," Lydia laughed.

"Yeah, well, I'm making cookies. Sugar cookies; they're Melissa's favorite and she needed a pick me up. She's been picking up extra shifts at the hospital and I just wanted to do something nice for her."

Lydia nodded. Stiles motioned for her to come in, and he shut the door behind her. "So why were you just standing out there?" he asked her again.

"I was fighting off a panic attack," Lydia replied, deciding to be honest. She didn't miss Stiles' frown when she said it, though.

"Since when do you have panic attacks?" Stiles asked, heading back into the kitchen. Lydia followed him.

"Since Jordan's death," Lydia said quietly, hoping that Stiles wouldn't catch it. Instead, he just looks at her.

"Oh, sweetheart," Stiles said, not even aware that he just gave her a pet name. "I'm so sorry."

Lydia nodded, "It's fine. I deal with them when they pop up. I just really don't want to have one while I'm here in front of your dad and Melissa, you know?"

"I used to get them a lot, after my mom died," Stiles said, going back to shaping cookies. "I know how they feel."

Lydia nodded, "Yeah, I get it."

"You wanna help me?" Stiles asked suddenly. "I mean, I'd appreciate the help if you want to do it."

Lydia smiled, slipping off her jacket and putting it on the back of one of the chairs in the dining room, setting her purse on the table. "What do you want me to do?"

They spent the next hour baking cookies for Melissa. Lydia was pretty sure that Stiles wanted her to help to give her something to do. Stiles was going to culinary school and even worked at a bakery, so he loved baking and was good at it. He had always been that way - when they were in high school, whenever he was upset or stressed, he used to bake, and everyone used to complain that they were going to weigh 300 pounds by the time that Stiles was done with them, but Lydia knew they secretly enjoyed his treats.

After the cookies were cooling on the rack, Stiles and Lydia went over to the couch in the living room. Lydia felt a little awkward, not really sure what to talk about. Luckily, Stiles started talking so she didn't have to.

"How's your mom?" he asked.

Lydia wasn't expecting the question, but she shrugged, "She's fine."

Stiles nodded.

"Look, Stiles," Lydia said, and Stiles looked at her. "I feel like this is awkward between the two of us. Is something wrong?"

"Wrong?" Stiles asked, frowning. "No, of course not."

"Really," Lydia said. It was a comment, not a question, and Stiles knew that Lydia could sense that there was something wrong with him. "Because, usually, you talk my ear off, but right now it's like you're trying not to say whatever it is in that little brain of yours. You wanna tell me what that is?"

Stiles sighed, "I just...we've been friends a long time, Lyds," he said, looking at her, "and I was wondering..." his voice trailed off. He just couldn't do it. He had woken up that morning with the express intent of telling her what was on his mind. Telling her that he loved her.

He felt weird about it at first. Hell, when he awoke at ten that morning, he made a frantic call to Scott, and even though he was working that morning, Deaton had let Scott talk Stiles through the panic attack that was brewing in his chest. "Tell her how you feel, dude," Scott had told him. "I mean, the worst she can say is no. And you and Lydia have been friends a long time, and even if she does reject you, she's not gonna make you feel shitty or make fun of you or anything."

He had tried to talk himself into it. That was one of the reasons he was baking that afternoon. What he had told Lydia was true; the cookies were for Melissa, but baking took Stiles' mind off things. It was a coping mechanism that he had formed in high school when he found a bunch of his mom's old recipes in the attic. Apparently his dad had moved them up there a while ago, and cooking made him feel closer to his mom.

But here, faced with the very reality of telling Lydia how he felt, Stiles just couldn't do it. He couldn't tell her. So, instead, he cleared his throat and said, "I'm gonna go visit Jordan's grave tomorrow. I thought you might wanna come with me."

Lydia watched him carefully before saying, "Sure, Stiles. It's been a while since I've been there, so a visit is overdue."

Lydia had been madly in love with the guy that Stiles considered a big brother, and he didn't want to risk his friendship with her by telling her something this big. It'd just have to wait.

-x-

"So you didn't tell her?" Scott was asking later that night. Stiles sighed.

"No, I couldn't, man. You can still tell how much she misses Jordan, and I just...I can't tell her something that big. There's no way I can. I'm gonna let her get her mourning out of her system, and maybe, after she decides she wants to date again, then I can tell her."

Scott sighed, looking disappointed, as he sat at the kitchen table while Stiles was mixing dough in a big bowl. "What are you even making?" he asked.

"Homemade donuts," Stiles answered.

"And who do you think is gonna eat those?"

Stiles shrugged, "You can have some. I'll give some to Ally and Kira and Isaac, and maybe I'll take some down to the station."

"I thought you were trying to get your dad to eat healthier."

"Between me and your mom, we've gotten pretty much everything we can when it comes to him," Stiles answered. "Besides, Derek loves these things, and maybe he'll take them home to Braeden, and maybe he can take some to his sisters, too."

"You act like there's going to be a ton left," Scott said.

"This batter will make a ton of these things," Stiles answered. "But that's beside the point. Lydia and I are going to go and visit Jordan's grave tomorrow."

"Is that wise?" Scott asked.

Stiles nodded, "Yeah, sure. It doesn't matter that I'm in love with Lydia; she was my friend first and I intend to be the best friend I can be to her right now. It's only been six months since the funeral and everything, but I want to give her enough time to get over his death."

"Get over it?" Scott asked. "You make it sound so easy."

"I know it's different for Lydia than it is for us," Stiles said. "Yeah, Jordan was my big brother and I miss him. He was like your big brother, too, and I know how much you, Dad and Melissa miss him as well. But Lydia...dude, she was engaged to the guy. She was ready to spend the rest of her life with him, and all of the sudden, he was just...he was gone. I mean, I want her to move on as much as everybody else, but...dude, I just don't wanna make this weird for her."

"That's a good idea," Scott said. "Just do what you're comfortable with."

"There's nothing to worry about, Scotty," Stiles said. "Everything's gonna be fine."

-x-


"I really don't want you to go," Lydia said, the night before Jordan was to be deployed to Afghanistan. "I mean, I'm gonna miss you a whole lot."

Jordan smiled weakly, "I feel like I need to do this, Lyds."

"I know," Lydia said. "And I don't want to ruin your plans - not that you can go back on them or anything. Don't worry about me, okay? I'm going to be fine here, and I've got Scott and Stiles to look after me."

Jordan nodded, "I know. They're gonna take good care of you while I'm gone."

There were so many things swirling around in Lydia's head, and she knew that the big one was the fact that he could get killed. Jordan could die over there, but she wasn't stupid enough to voice that fact. She wanted Jordan to do what he needed to do, and he couldn't be worrying about her while he was defending his country. It was something that he needed to do, Lydia understood that much, and she didn't want his mind elsewhere during the fight.

Then Jordan surprised her by turning to her and saying, "Lyds, I want you to promise me something."

"What is it?"

"If something happens to me over there, if I actually do die, I want you to promise me that you'll date again. I want you to find happiness, okay? I want to make sure that, even if I do die, you're going to be at peace. So just promise me that if something happens to me, you aren't going to give up on life, okay?"

Lydia let out a shaky breath before saying, "Jordan, it's not like that. You're not going to die."

"It's war, Lyds," Jordan answered. "You never know what's really going to happen. I just need you to promise me this."

Lydia nodded, "Sure, Jordan. I promise."

Unlike the other memories that Lydia kept having about Jordan, this one stuck in her mind. When she awoke from that dream, she just sat there for a moment in her bed, dumbfounded. Were her dreams trying to tell her something?

She had never given much thought to dream interpretation. Allison had been convinced in high school that every dream meant something, but Lydia was more logical and was pretty sure that the mind just worked in mysterious ways.

Glancing at the clock, Lydia realized that it was still the middle of the night - 3 AM. She knew that Stiles was probably still up, though, so she sent off a text. It was just a basic, You up?

She wasn't surprised when, not even two minutes later, she got a reply text, Yeah. Something wrong?

Lydia sighed before texting, Can I call you?

The response Lydia got to that was her phone ringing. She answered it when she saw that it was Stiles.

"Something wrong, Lyds?" Stiles sounded concerned.

"It's nothing to be truly concerned about," Lydia said, sighing. She ran a hand through her hair and then said, "I'm having dreams. And I don't wanna be alone right now. I know it's the middle of the night, but nobody else is a night owl like you are, and..." her voice trailed off.

Stiles seemed to understand, though, when he said, "I'll be over in twenty minutes. Maybe sooner than that, I'm not sure. I'm putting on my shoes right now."

"Thanks, Stiles," Lydia said softly. She knew that she could depend on Stiles, and that gave her a warm fuzzy feeling inside. She didn't want to question why, but she knew that Stiles would do anything for her, and she was pretty sure she'd do anything for him, too.

Chapter Text

"So, do you wanna talk about it?" Stiles asked as soon as he came into Lydia's bedroom and sat down on her bed. "I mean, it may help."

"It wasn't a nightmare, Stiles," Lydia said. She sighed and ran a hand through her hair. "It was a dream - a memory."

"You dream your memories?" Stiles asked. "Is that even normal?"

Lydia shrugged, "The mind works in weird and mysterious ways. I saw a psychiatrist after Jordan's death, and he told me that what's normal for some people isn't for others. People grieve in all kinds of different ways."

"And this is the way you're grieving? Panic attacks and dreaming your memories?"

Lydia shrugged again, "I just...I don't like being alone after I have a dream like this. I prefer to have company. I used to call Kira, but it's the middle of the night and you are the only one I know who's actually up at this hour."

Stiles nodded, "So what do you need from me?"

Lydia sighed, "There should be one of Jordan's t-shirts and a pair of pajama pants in the bottom drawer of my dresser, if you wanna change. I just need someone to hold me."

Stiles nodded, "Sure. I can do that."

After he changed and lay down next to Lydia, Stiles put his arms around her. Lydia lay her head on his chest and sighed. "I'm sorry," she said, after a few beats of silence. "You shouldn't have to do this for me."

Stiles nodded, "I'm always gonna be here for you, though, Lyds. We've been friends a long time and I just want to make sure you're happy."

"Really?" Lydia asked. "That's it?"

"Yeah," Stiles said. "I just want to make sure that you're happy. I love you, Lyds, and I want to make sure that I can do everything I can for you."

"Thanks, Stiles," Lydia said, letting herself smile. "You don't know how happy that actually makes me."

Stiles sighed, "Actually, I think I do."

-x-

When Lydia awoke six hours later, she felt well rested. She didn't have a dream about Jordan, and even though it was weird, she didn't think much else about it. She wasn't used to sleeping with people, though, so she wasn't sure if it was because Stiles was there that she didn't have a dream, or what.

Speaking of Stiles, Lydia looked over and saw him still fast asleep. She smiled to herself at how adorable he looked and then carefully and quietly got up out of bed.

As she was straightening her night shirt, she suddenly froze in her tracks. Wait - did she just really think that Stiles was adorable? Well, he had always been a good looking guy, and had really grown into himself as he got older. He went from gangly limbs and a buzz cut when he was sixteen to lean and lithe and looked really good with his hair grown out the way he had it now.

Did that make her a bad person because she noticed how good Stiles was looking these days? Lydia knew that she had promised Jordan that she'd move on after his death, but she couldn't think things like that about Stiles. He was Jordan's brother for God's sake. That was just so many levels or wrong.

Lydia shook the thoughts out of her head as she went into her closet, picking out a dress to wear and gathered her clothes around to get into the shower. She let the hot water run down her body and just turned off her thoughts as she cleaned herself.

When she got out of the shower, Stiles was sitting on her couch in his (borrowed) pajamas, flipping through the channels. "It's only nine o'clock," Lydia said, sitting down next to him as she towel dried her hair. "I figured you'd be asleep."

"I don't need a lot of sleep," he answered. "My body's used to not having a ton, and over time, it'd just become a thing."

Lydia nodded. "I've got a few things of Jordan's here, if you want to wear them," she said finally, watching Stiles. "I'd just really like them back when you're done, though."

Stiles nodded, "Okay. When do you want to get going to the cemetery?"

Lydia shrugged, "I was gonna make breakfast and then we can go. You can shower if you want."

Stiles nodded, "Sure. What are you making for breakfast?"

"Who said I was making you breakfast?" she teased. When Stiles made a face at her, she broke out into a smile and said, "I'm just kidding, I'll make you breakfast. I was just gonna make French toast."

"With cinnamon sugar?" he asked hopefully.

She mocked offense, "Do I look like a Neanderthal to you? Of course with cinnamon sugar."

Stiles laughed as he got up and gathered clothes so he could get in the shower. While he was cleaning himself, Lydia started on the French toast. She wasn't a gourmet chef by any stretch of the imagination, and she couldn't cook a feast like Stiles could, but she knew enough to take care of herself. Her parents were always working when she was a kid, so she learned how to take care of herself at an early age. Her grandmother had spent many weekend afternoons teaching Lydia how to perfect the dishes she made. And even though she couldn't cook a gourmet feast, she could make a mean French toast.

Just as she was flipping the last piece onto a waiting plate, Stiles came into the kitchen. He watched her for a good minute before saying, "It smells fucking amazing in here, Lyds."

"Of course it does," Lydia laughed. "My French toast has always been one of your favorites. Jordan really liked it, too."

There was a moment of silence that followed, and Lydia wondered if maybe she said something wrong, but then Stiles said, "You'd have to be a moron not to like your French toast." He started dishing up a plate for himself and said, "Thanks for cooking, Lyds. I could've done this if you wanted me to."

"Nah," Lydia said, piling a few pieces of French toast on her own plate. "I'm not terrible at it, I'm just not as good as you."

"Ehh, I'm not that good," Stiles said. Lydia gave him a look, so he said, "Fine, I'm pretty good at it, but all it takes is practice."

Lydia smiled as a comfortable silence filled the air between the two of them. Stiles sat down at the small table in the kitchen while Lydia poured them both some orange juice.

They ate in silence. A few beats went by before Stiles said, "So, can I tell you a secret?"

Lydia nodded, "Sure."

"A secret means you have to keep it that way," Stiles said. Lydia laughed.

"I know what a secret is, Stiles," she said. "What is it?"

Stiles shrugged, "Scotty's gonna ask Kira to marry him."

A smile spread across Lydia's face, "Really? That's awesome."

"Yeah. He was really nervous about it at first, but they've been dating three years. He's already asked me to be his best man."

"Of course he did," Lydia said, taking a drink of her juice. After she swallowed, she continued, "I mean, he's your brother. I wouldn't expect anything less from him."

The rest of the breakfast went by in comfortable silence. After they had finished eating, Lydia went to put her makeup on and curl her hair while Stiles loaded the dishwasher. About an hour later, they were out of the door and on the way to the flower shop.

Laura Hale ran Lydia's favorite flower shop. Lydia hadn't had much interaction with Hales, really - she had gone to school with Cora, who was in her grade, and Derek had been a good friend of Jordan's, so she'd hung out with him once or twice. but out of the Hale siblings (and there were, like, six of them), Laura was her favorite.

"Lyds!" Laura exclaimed when Lydia went into the shop. "It's been a while. How've you been?"

Lydia shrugged, "I'm good, Laur. How're you doing? How's your asshole of a brother?"

Laura laughed, "Which one?"

"The only one I know, duh," Lydia said, going over to the pre-made bouquets. She found one that consisted of lilies. It was beautiful.

"Der's good," Laura answered as Lydia went up to the counter. "An asshole as always. But guess what, Lyds? Brae's pregnant."

Lydia smiled, "That's great. They've been married for what, three years now?"

"Actually almost five," Laura said. "Der's over the moon about it."

Lydia laughed as Laura rang up her purchase, "I bet. That's really exciting. Make sure you tell them congratulations for me."

Laura nodded as Lydia handed her the money to pay for the bouquet. Stiles purchased his flowers, too, which Lydia didn't expect, and then they were on their way to the cemetery.

Once there, Lydia laid her bouquet down in front of Jordan's headstone. She just stood there for a moment, letting the thoughts swirl around in her head. Stiles lay down his flowers, too, and then said, "I miss you, buddy."

Lydia felt the tears start to moisten her cheeks. She hated this, hated crying in front of anyone. She knew that Stiles wouldn't say anything about it, but he put an arm around her shoulders and Lydia rested her head on his chest. They stood there for a good few minutes before Lydia was wiping the tears away from her eyes.

She looked up at Stiles, "Do you wanna come back to my place? We can marathon Agents of SHIELD."

"Dude, superheroes," Stiles said, looking excited. "Count me in."

-x-

"And that's it?" Kira was asking Lydia the next day as she and Allison sat on Lydia's couch. "You guys came home and watched TV?"

"Don't sound so disappointed," Lydia said. "Nothing happened between Stiles and me. Nothing could ever happen between Stiles and me."

"And why not?" she demanded.

"Stiles is Jordan's brother," Lydia emphasized. "Even if I wanted to get involved with him, it'd be too weird."

Allison and Kira exchanged glances between the two of them before Allison said, "Don't count it out just yet, Lyds."

"Do you know something I don't?" Lydia asked.

"Nothing I can tell you right now," Allison said. "Just...never say never, okay, Lyds? everything's always a possibility."

Lydia shrugged and then sighed. "Sure," she said. "I agree with that."

"Hey, Lyds," Kira said suddenly, and Lydia looked up at her. "Scott and I are going to the movies tomorrow night. Scott's probably gonna invite Stiles, but I was wondering if you wanted to go?"

"You're not trying to set me up on a date...are you?" Lydia asked cautiously. Kira shook her head. Lydia sighed, thinking it over, before saying, "Sure. What the hell, you know? I'm in."

Kira smiled, "Great. We can meet there if you want, or whatever. Do you want to eat first?"

"Eating depends on what time you're going," Lydia said.

"It's at four. Both Stiles and Scott have the day off tomorrow and so I thought it'd be ideal to go then." She turned to Allison, "Do you and Isaac wanna go, too?"

Allison shook her head, "No, thanks. I've got my French final coming up next week. Isaac's gonna help me study."

"Yeah, study," Kira laughed. Allison just stuck her tongue out at her, which even made Lydia giggle.

"Seriously, though," Allison said after the laughter had died down. "I can't fail that final. If I did, I'd be the first Argent to actually fail French, like, ever, and I don't know how I'd live that one down."

Kira nodded, "Okay, sure. Good luck on your final."

"Yeah," Lydia said, joining in. "Have fun studying with Isaac."

Allison just threw a pillow at her.

-x-

"What's been the hardest thing after losing your fiancé, Lydia?" Lydia was at the support group later that day, deciding to go without Stiles this time, since he had to work. The therapist, a really sweet woman named Tiffany, had asked her the question because everybody knew that Lydia didn't mind talking.

"Moving on," Lydia answered immediately. "After Jordan died, I just had a really difficult time living. He was my everything, you know, and one day, he was just gone. We were gonna spend the rest of our lives together and I had a really difficult time knowing that I'm living and he's not."

"Survivor's guilt," Tiffany said. She ran a hand through her auburn hair before saying, "How did you say he died again?"

"He was in the army," Lydia said. "He died in a bombing." Lydia hated the looks of pity she was getting from some of the other people in the group, but tried to ignore it to the best of her ability. She sighed, "I know survivor's guilt doesn't normally work that way, but I'm living and he's not, and -"

"Let me stop you there, Lydia," Tiffany said, offering her a sympathetic smile. "There are no rules for survivor's guilt. Everybody grieves in different ways and in different times. This is just the way that your mind has decided to grieve." Tiffany watched Lydia closely before saying, "What about Stiles?"

"What about him?" Lydia asked, trying not to sound defensive.

"Well, he's usually here with you. Do you know how he feels?"

Lydia shrugged, "I dunno. He was Jordan's brother. It's probably different for him, I know that, but sometimes I feel like I can't talk to him about Jordan without bringing up the bad memories. I just...I want to be able to talk about him, but Jordan's family...I don't want to bring up bad memories or subjects for them."

"Sometimes talking is the best thing that can happen for people who are grieving," Tiffany replied. "Don't let that fear overrun you, Lydia. You might find that they want to talk about him as badly as you do. Just remember to keep his memory alive."

Chapter Text

"How'd you get her to agree to come?" Scott was asking Kira later the next day. He had come home after his noon Biology class and was getting ready to take a short nap before they went out later that day. When Kira had told him that she had gotten Lydia to agree to go to the movies later that day, he was ecstatic.

Kira just shrugged, "Just told her it wasn't a date. Just some friends hanging out. I even invited Ally and Isaac, but Ally said they were busy."

"Big French test coming up," Scott said, yawning. He stripped his shirt off and climbed into bed. "French is important to the Argents. They usually go to France in the summer, or at least they did when I was in high school. Ally was never around to hang out because she always went to France with her parents." Scott yawned again. "When Ally's mom died when we were sophomores, Chris stopped going every year. It was just too painful without his wife. But Ally still goes every now and again, her grandparents live over there and she loves spending time with them."

"What'd her mom die of?" Kira asked. She'd never ask Allison - she wouldn't want to bring up any bad memories for her. Kira remembered when her own grandmother, to whom she was very close, died of a heart attack when she was a kid. It'd been a really difficult time for everyone in her family and even now, Kira had a hard time with it sometimes.

"She was mugged. Wouldn't give up her purse and the dude stabbed her. It was a difficult thing for everyone because Beacon Hills isn't a dangerous place. Sure, we've got our problems and everything, but we've never been, like, New York bad or anything."

Kira nodded, "Yeah, I get that. Did they ever catch the guy who did it?"

Scott nodded, "Yeah, John caught him. But before he could take him into custody, the dude shot himself. He died on impact and I know sometimes John still wishes he could've brought the guy to justice. But I know that Chris slept a lot better knowing the dude was dead."

Kira nodded.

Scott leaned over and gave Kira a kiss, "How about waking me up in a couple of hours? I just need a little nap."

"Sure, babe," Kira said as Scott settled into bed. She leaned down and kissed his temple, "Sleep well."

-x-

They had decided to meet at the theater. And here it was going on three-thirty,and Lydia couldn't decide what to wear.

Why, though? It wasn't a date. She wasn't ready to date again yet, and besides that, she couldn't date Stiles. He was Jordan's brother. Maybe if she repeated that to herself enough times, the little thing she had developed for Stiles would go away.

Stiles was a great guy. He was honest and loyal, sweet and understanding, he never pushed her to do anything she didn't want to do and he had always been there for her whenever she needed him. Just because Stiles hadn't dated anyone since his relationship with Malia Tate fizzled out their senior year of high school didn't mean anything. Anyone would be lucky to have Stiles.

She went into her closet and pulled out a bright yellow sundress. It was the beginning of March, so it wasn't too cold out, and if she put her white cardigan over it, she would be warm enough. She dressed quickly, deciding to put her hair up into an intricate French braid and touched up her makeup. As she was getting ready, her mind kept traveling places.

Her birthday was coming up at the end of the month. She knew that Kira and Allison would probably want to give her a party. She was turning twenty-three, and even though there was nothing special about turning twenty-three, Kira and Allison loved birthdays and always threw parties. And Lydia Martin used to be the queen of throwing parties, but since Jordan died, she just didn't feel like it anymore.

But being around Stiles like she had been for the last few weeks had made Lydia feel something she hadn't felt in a long time. He reminded her of their friendship and all the reasons he was her best friend. He always treated her well, and she felt safe around him. When Lydia was around Stiles, she just felt at home.

And even though she was rekindling her friendship with Stiles, there was something in her mind telling her that she should run fast and far from him. He was Jordan's goddamned brother. And if Lydia was feeling this way, how the hell would Stiles react? What would he even say if she tried to tell him what she was thinking? Lydia couldn't bear to think that Stiles wouldn't want what she did, so she decided not to tell him.

Maybe it was a bad decision. And even though she wanted to give a try to a relationship with Stiles, she couldn't. She needed him in her life, even if it was just as a friend. She could be the best goddamned friend that Stiles could ever ask for.

-x-

"You sure she's coming?" Stiles asked Scott later that afternoon. Lydia said she'd meet them at four, since the movie didn't start until 4:20, but it was five minutes to four and Lydia hadn't shown up. Stiles was pacing in front of the theater and then looked at Scott.

"Dude, look," Scott said, and pointed to where Lydia was half running to meet them. She gave them an apologetic look.

"Sorry," she said. "I was curling my hair and lost track of time. It took for fucking ever for my curling iron to heat up, and..." her voice trailed off when she realized the only one listening to her was Kira. Stiles was looking at her, but it wasn't a look she was accustomed to.

"You okay?" she asked Stiles, and he snapped out of whatever was going on with him. He nodded and said, "You look nice, Lyds."

Lydia smiled, "Thanks, Stiles."

They went in and got their tickets and then went in and sat down. As the previews started, Lydia felt at ease, and wondered what the hell was going on with her.

The movie was a couple of hours long, but the time seemed to fly by. It was a nice romantic comedy, something that really took Lydia's mind off everything that was going on in her brain. After the movie was over, Scott suggested they get something to eat.

"How do you feel about Mediterranean?" Lydia asked them while they were trying to decide where to eat. "Just down the block is Nawal's, which is a kickass Mediterranean diner. Their gyros are out of this fucking world."

They decided to eat there. Lydia got her standard gyro, excited to be there. Nawal's was a family owned mom and pop type restaurant, even though there weren't that many of them in town, and they had gone to school with the owner's daughter. Lydia wasn't best friends or anything with Kanika, but every once in a while she came in here and saw her. They caught up once in a while. Even though they weren't the best of friends, they enjoyed each other's company.

Lydia felt really good about being out with her friends. Ever since Jordan's death, Lydia's friends had been pushed to the back burner, and Lydia understood what every therapist she had seen since Jordan's death had told her about opening herself up to people again.

What Tiffany had said during their last support group session came into her mind. Could she bring up Jordan? Would they feel weird about it? She decided that she wanted to test the waters, so she said lightly, "Jordan and I used to come here all the time. You should get the ganache, Stiles. It was his favorite."

Stiles looked at her for a brief moment, with emotion flicking across his face, but it took a moment for him to say something. "Really?" he said finally. "You think I'd like it?"

"Yeah, I do," Lydia said. "It's fucking amazing."

After they ordered and the food arrived, Stiles took a bite of his ganache and his whole face lit up. He looked at Lydia, "Dude!"

Lydia laughed as she looked at Stiles fondly, but then said, "Don't call me that."

"Sorry, Lyds," Stiles apologized. He took another bite of his soup, "This is so fucking good, though! No wonder Jordan liked it."

A couple of hours later, they were separating and Lydia decided to go home. Stiles followed her there to hang out a little bit longer at her apartment. When they went inside, they just stood there for a minute. Lydia felt weird around him. Was it because of her revelation earlier? Did she feel weird around him because she wanted more?

"Is something wrong, Lyds?" Stiles asked, watching Lydia. Of course he'd figure out that something was bothering her. He knew her better than anybody else did, after all.

"Come sit down on the couch with me, Stiles," Lydia said softly. They went over and sat down, and Lydia looked at him.

"Lyds, you're worrying me," Stiles said. "You're never this quiet. Is something wrong?"

Lydia shook her head and led Stiles over to the couch, where she sat down next to him. She turned so she was looking at him and then said, "Stiles, you're my friend. We've been friends for a long fucking time and I feel like we've bonded on a level that other people can't even begin to comprehend."

Stiles nodded slowly. "Okay," he said. "What are you saying, Lyds?"

Lydia sighed, "I was wondering...well, what I mean is..." her voice trailed off. She was yelling at herself inside her head. She had never had this kind of problem asking guys out before. But then again, the betraying little voice in her head said, Stiles isn't just any guy. "Goddamn it," she muttered. She just couldn't do it. She valued her friendship with Stiles too much to put it in jeopardy. So instead, she said, "You wanna watch a movie?"

Stiles crinkled his brow, like he knew that's not what Lydia wanted to ask, but instead, just brushed it off. "Sure," he said. "What do you want to watch?"

"How about something Disney? Mulan sounds good right now."

Stiles nodded, "Sure, Lyds, we can do that."

-x-

"Something's different with her, dude," Stiles told Scott that night after he came through the front door of their apartment. Kira was asleep on the couch, Once Upon A Time playing on the TV. Scott had told him to keep his voice down.

"Why don't you just carry her to bed?" Stiles half whispered. "I mean, you can probably bench her weight."

"More than," Scott said, and he sure did look proud at that. Deciding that Stiles had a point, Scott picked Kira up bridal style and carried her off to their room. Stiles turned Netflix off and flipped the TV off, too. When Scott came back, he saw Stiles collapsed on the couch and let out a breath. "So, what do you wanna talk about?"'

"Something's different with Lydia. She acted like she had something special to tell me, and for a brief moment I thought that maybe she was gonna tell me that she returned my feelings. You know, tell me she liked me more than a friend. But it didn't happen. Instead, we just watched Mulan."

"She's going through a lot right now, dude," Scott said. "But maybe you should ask her about it. I mean, the worst she can do is say no."

"Not true, Scotty," Stiles said. "The worst she can do is keep it bottled up. She's not only keeping things from me, okay, but she's hurting herself."

"I wouldn't worry about it," Scott said. It was then that Stiles got up and went into the kitchen, and Scott followed him. "What are you doing?"

"Baking," Stiles said. "You know this is how I keep my mind off of things." There was a key lime pie recipe that Kira'd been bugging Stiles to make recently. He gathered the ingredients and started crushing up the graham crackers for the crust.

"I know you love her, dude. And I know that Lydia feels something for you as well."

"Really?" Stiles asked. He was so unsure of everything that had to deal with Lydia - it'd always been like that for him. He had been in love with her for so long, and then, when they became friends, he found out that she was even more wonderful than he had thought. His crush grew when he became friends with her, and even though he dated Malia from the end of sophomore year to the end of senior year, his admiration for Lydia never left.

"I mean it. I was watching her tonight, at dinner. The way she looks at you - you can tell that she thinks the world of you. She's probably just afraid of ruining your relationship. The two of you need to sit down and have a real heart to heart with one another."

Stiles threw the crust in the oven after preheating it and then looked at Scott before starting to mix the ingredients for the filling together. "Hold that thought," he said to Scott as he ran the mixer. When the filling was the consistency he wanted, he turned off the mixer and looked at Scott. "I wouldn't know the first thing to say to her, dude."

"The truth," Scott said, like it was the most obvious answer in the entire world. "Tell her how you feel."

"I can't," Stiles said, taking the crust out of the oven when the timer beeped. He continued making the filling and then poured it into the crust.

"I understand what you're trying to say, Scotty, but things are different with Lydia. She was engaged to Jordan - to the dude I considered my brother. Dude, Dad took care of him for over ten years, so he was just as much Dad's son as I am. I need to think about how this is going to affect the both of us."

Scott shrugged. "Fine," he said, watching Stiles put the finished pie in the fridge to cool. "So you know what you do? Go talk to Mom. Or your dad. They could give you a perspective that I can't."

"How do you figure?" Stiles asked, opening the refrigerator and grabbing himself a Coke. He watched Scott carefully as he sat down on a barstool at the kitchen island counter.

"Easy," Scott said. "Your dad because he's actually been where Lydia is. And my mom dealt with it from her end for a long time. You know that both Mom and John liked each other for a while before they started dating. Mom was just worried to act on it because she didn't want John to feel rushed."

"That's a good point," Stiles said thoughtfully. "I might just do that."

Chapter Text

"This is a surprise," John said as he walked into his house at the end of the work day on Wednesday afternoon and saw his son sprawled out on the couch, flipping through the channels on TV. He took a whiff of the aroma that was in the house and said, "Is that steak?"

"Pot roast," Stiles answered. "I thought I'd come over and make dinner for you and Melissa."

"That's really sweet, son," John said. He hung up his jacket before saying, "What do you want?"

Stiles almost looked offended, "Why would I want anything? Can't I just come home and have dinner with my parents without any ulterior motive?"

"You can," John answered, "but you never do. Out with it, Stiles. What do you want?"

Stiles sighed, flipping off the TV. Dinner was going to be ready soon, anyway. He better get started on the gravy for the potatoes. "It's actually something I wanted to talk to you and Melissa about together."

"What's wrong? Did something happen? Is Scott okay?"

"Relax, Dad, everything's fine. Scott's fine, I just need an opinion on something from people who can give an informed one."

John followed Stiles into the kitchen as Stiles started on the gravy for the potatoes, "Does this have anything to do with Lydia?"

"Jesus, Dad, how do you do that?" Stiles asked, grabbing a few key ingredients from the cupboard. "Seriously?"

John shrugged, "I'm the sheriff, son. It's my job to notice the things that people try to hide."

"Look," Stiles said, watching his dad closely. "It's just that...Lydia was engaged to Jordan. And she really loved him, you know?" Stiles started stirring his gravy as he watched his dad carefully. "And I get that. And I was really happy for them, because they both deserved to be happy. I put my feelings aside for Lydia because I loved both her and Jordan and wanted them to be happy."

John nodded slowly, "Sure."

"But Jordan's gone now. And he's been gone for almost eight months now. And I understand how much that could hurt. I mean, sure, I don't know what Lydia's going through because I've never been through it myself, but I know that she's hurting in a way that I can't even comprehend, a way that I can't make better." Stiles sighed, checking the pot roast. "Look, I guess what I'm trying to ask is, how long did you wait after Mom died before even thinking about dating again?"

"It's different for everyone, Stiles," John answered. "I didn't wait as long as I did just for me. I mean sure, I needed that time and space, but part of it was because I had you. Seeing your parent date after the other one dies is a difficult thing, and I needed to make sure you were okay with it." John sighed before saying, "I guess the important thing is to give her space. Be her friend."

"Something's changing between the two of us," Stiles said, dishing up the pot roast when it was done. "We went to the movies the other day. Scott, Kira, me and Lydia. And then we got a bite afterwards. It was more like friends hanging out, which we haven't been able to do since before Jordan's funeral. But then, afterwards, I went back to her apartment to hang out with her for a little bit longer, and she acted like she wanted to ask me something. Something important. But, then she got this look on her face, like a deer caught in headlights, and then she changed her mind. We watched a movie instead."

John nodded as Stiles started setting the table. It was almost six o'clock, and that's when Melissa would be getting out of work. "I don't want to push her. Dad, I know that she loved Jordan, and hell, she may still be in love with him, but I love her so much and I don't know what to do because I don't want to rush her."

"It's something that you're just gonna have to wait for," John said eventually. "I know it's difficult for you, but you've gotta let Lydia come to you."

Stiles was about to respond, but then Melissa came through the front door. "Man, it smells good in here," she said, hanging up her jacket. "Is that pot roast?"

John nodded, giving Melissa a kiss. "Yeah," he said. "Stiles came over to make us dinner."

"That's great," she said, patting Stiles on the shoulder. "It's good to see you. Where's Scott?"

"He's having dinner over at the Yukimuras' tonight," Stiles answered. "He wanted to have a word with Mr. Yukimura."

"He's gonna pop the question, isn't he?" Melissa asked, and she looked positively gleeful.

Stiles nodded, "Yeah, he is. And even though Kira would get really upset if she found out that Scott went to her dad to ask permission, he just wants to make sure that he's got his blessing."

As they sat down to dinner, Stiles explained the situation with Lydia to Melissa. He took a long pull of his beer before finishing, "I love her, Melissa. I've loved her for a long time and I just don't want to rush her."

"Everybody grieves in different times and different ways," Melissa said.

"Yeah, I know," Stiles said, watching his parents. "I've heard that so much over the last couple of months. I just don't want to rush her."

"You already said that," Melissa said.

They ate in silence for a few moments as Melissa mulled over Stiles' situation. Finally, she said, "Why don't you ask her?"

"Ask her? Why would you say that?" Stiles asked.

"Well, just ask her if something's changed. If you ask me, you should find out exactly what page the two of you are on. You know, to make sure that you guys are on the same page."

Stiles nodded, "I might just do that."

-x-

Allison and Kira watched Lydia pace back and forth in front of her bed. They'd been watching her do that for the past ten minutes. She'd sigh heavily, run her hands through her hair, look at Allison and Kira, and then do it all over again. Allison, Kira, and Lydia'd been friends for a long time, and Allison knew that if she gave Lydia enough time, she'd get it out eventually.

Lydia was a talker. She didn't have to continually make noise, like Stiles did, but Lydia always talked about what was bothering her. If Lydia had a problem, you pretty much always knew what it was because she wasn't afraid to speak her mind. And if something happened to make Lydia hesitant to talk...well, it just had to be pretty big.

"Lyds, spit it out already," Kira said finally. Lydia looked surprised at her, but then Kira said, "I'm supposed to be at dinner with my parents right now. I'm meeting Scott there, and if you don't hurry up, I'm going to be late."

"I think I like Stiles," Lydia finally said, so softly that Allison and Kira barely heard it. But they did hear it, though, and she and Kira exchanged glances before she said, "Huh?"

Lydia sighed, sitting down in her computer chair across from the bed, where they were sitting, before she repeated, "I think I like Stiles. You know, I think I'm in like with him."

"So why is that a cause for freaking out?" Kira asked. "I don't understand."

"The Stilinskis were family to Jordan," Allison said after a moment. "John practically raised him. Jordan's parents died when he was just a kid, and John was not going to let him go into foster care. So, for the last fifteen years, John Stilinski was Jordan's father. I'm betting the reason Lydia is freaking out is because Stiles was the guy's brother."

"You're damn right!" Lydia said, tears in her eyes. "Stiles is his brother, and now I've got a crush on him."

"Lydia, you need to breathe," Allison said, jumping up to rub Lydia's back. "Can you do that for me?" Grabbing Lydia's hand, she put her fingers over her pulse point on her wrist. "Feel my pulse?" she asked her, and Lydia nodded. "Try to match it."

It took a couple of minutes before Lydia managed to calm herself down. She looked at Allison and then Kira, "This is a disaster."

"Lyds," Kira said after watching her for a good moment, "Have you opened that box of stuff that the sheriff brought you? Jordan's personal effects?"

"It's in my closet," she said. "I haven't opened it yet. I just haven't felt brave enough to."

"Maybe you ought to," Kira said gently. "You never know what he could've left you."

-x-

After Kira left that evening, Allison and Lydia put on a movie. They decided to watch Never Been Kissed, which was one of Lydia's favorites. As they watched it, Allison looked over at Lydia.

"Kira's right, you know," she said. Lydia gave her a quizzical look, so Allison continued, "You never do know what Jordan left for you unless you look."

"How do you know he left me anything?" Lydia asked. Allison raised an eyebrow at her.

"Because, Lydia," Allison said, "it's Jordan. He knew there was a possibility he'd die over there. Jordan Parrish was one of the most organized people I've ever known, and he would've planned for the worst."

Lydia nodded. By the time the movie was over, Allison looked over at Lydia, "I've gotta go. I'll see you later, okay?"

Lydia nodded. Allison made it over to the door and then looked back. "And Lydia?"

"Yeah?" Lydia asked.

"If something happens between you and Stiles...don't be afraid of it, okay? The two of you deserve to be happy."

Lydia nodded, "Okay, Ally. Thanks."

After Allison left, Lydia pulled the box of Jordan's stuff out of her closet. She wasn't sure if she wanted to look at it, because there was a possibility that she'd just miss Jordan even more. But she knew that both Kira and Allison were right. Jordan was one of the most well prepared people that Lydia had ever met - aside from herself - and he would've planned for the fact that he might not make it back home.

Inside the box were a bunch of Lydia's letters, a journal, and an envelope with her name on it. She opened it and a letter fell out. She unfolded the paper and started to read.

Lydia,

If you're reading this right now, it means I'm gone. I'm really sorry about that. I wish I could still be around for you, but you're a strong, independent woman and I know you are going to be able to go on living.

I'm sure that you're still good friends with Scott and Stiles. And if you've been avoiding them because of my death - don't. Stiles was my little brother, and I mean as much to him as I do to you - in a different way, of course, but the point still remains.

Lyds, Stiles loves you. And even though he's loved you like a friend for a long time, I'm talking about a romantic kind of love. He had a crush on you for a long time, but when he saw that we were interested in one another, he put his own wants on the back burner. He always told me that when you love someone, you want their best interests at heart, and he knew that you and I loved each other. Seeing you happy was all he wanted, even if it wasn't with him.

What I'm trying to say is if you and Stiles want to get together, want to date, want to be with one another - I want that for you. Stiles is my little brother and you were the love of my life - I want you both to be happy. And if that's with each other, I want nothing more.

I know you won't forget me - either of you. And I want you to know how much I love you - I really do, Lydia. But fate has decided it's my time, and you promised me that you'd keep on living, so please do that for me.

We'll see each other again someday. I love you, Lydia Martin, and I always will.

All my love,
Jordan

Lydia wiped a stray tear from her cheek as she folded up Jordan's letter. He wanted her to be happy, and Stiles would make her happy - so that's what she was going to do. She needed to call Stiles.

-x-

Lydia had called around ten o'clock that morning, while Stiles was just getting out of the shower. Stiles answered it in a rushed, "'lo?"

"Hi, Stiles," Lydia said. "Are you working today?"

"Yeah. My shift start in about an hour, actually."

"When's your lunch break then?"

"I get half an hour at 3:30," Stiles answered. "Lyds, is something wrong?"

"No," Lydia said. "There's just something I need to talk to you about, and I'd prefer to do it face to face."

"Okay," Stiles said. "You wanna meet me at the bakery around 3:30? We can decided if we wanna just get a sandwich next door or whatever."

"Sure," Lydia said. "Sounds good, Stiles."

"Great, Lyds. I'll see you then."

On his way to work, and even after his shift had started, Stiles wondered what Lydia could want to talk to him about. Part of him wondered if someone had told her about his feelings and she was going to confront him about them. However, when Lydia met him outside the bakery at 3:30, he was pleasantly surprised.

"You wanna go grab a couple of sandwiches?" Stiles asked her. Lydia shrugged.

"I'm not all that hungry. But you should eat."

When they were sitting in the sandwich shop, which was next door to the bakery, Lydia watched Stiles carefully as he took a bite of his sandwich, and then chewed it thoroughly. After a few minutes, Lydia broke the silence. "I opened that box of Jordan's stuff last night."

Stiles nodded.

"It was because of Kira and Allison. They thought that maybe Jordan left something for me." She saw the way that Stiles was looking at her, but tried not to think anything of it. "They were right. He left me a letter."

Again, Stiles nodded.

"I brought it with me," she said, fishing the letter out of her purse. She handed it over to Stiles, who read it. His eyes got wide.

"Stiles, are you in love with me?" Lydia asked softly. "Was he right?"

Stiles swallowed the lump that was forming in his throat as he said, "Yeah." He debated lying to her, but Lydia had never lied to him, and he owed her at least the truth. "I have for a really long time."

Lydia was silent for a few moments, and Stiles was sure that this was it. He was going to lose Lydia - and he wasn't sure that he could handle that. So he rushed to say, "But it's okay, Lydia. I want you to be happy - that's all I've ever wanted - and if you want to just be my friend, I'm okay with that. I can live with that."

Lydia watched him closely for a moment before sighing. She wasn't sure if she should do anything about the way that she felt about him, so she just watched him. After a few moments had gone by, she said, "I'm in like with you, Stiles."

"In like?" Stiles asked.

"Yeah. It's not love, not yet, but I want to spend time with you, do things with you romantically - you know, like dates. I want to date you, Stiles."

"Are you asking me out?" Stiles asked.

Lydia sighed, "I'm not sure. Maybe. Yes, I am. How about we go out once and see if we click?"

"Are you free tomorrow?" Stiles asked. "Tomorrow's Friday, and I have the day off, so after my class is done at six, we can get dinner. How about it?"

Lydia watched him for a moment before smiling, "I'd love to."

Chapter Text

The next day, Lydia was a mess. Around four o'clock, she called Allison, who she knew didn't have any classes or work on Fridays, and Allison came over around four-thirty.

"Why are you panicking, Lyds?" Allison asked, as she watched Lydia pace across the living room. Allison was the picture of calm right then - she was just sitting on the couch, legs crossed, and she was trying to figure out what exactly was going through Lydia's mind. They'd been friends a really long time - since they were sixteen - and she knew that Lydia would say what the problem was eventually, but something was bothering her. Lydia stopped pacing after a moment and then looked over at Allison.

"Ally, this is bad, this is so fucking bad," Lydia said, looking at her best friend. "Stiles and I are going out on a date."

"Yes," Allison said, nodding her head. "Are you just now realizing that?"

"I'm twenty-two years old, Ally," Lydia said. "I'm twenty-two years old and I haven't been on a date since I was sixteen. I don't even know - what the fuck do you do on a first date, anyway?"

"Lyds, I need you to stop panicking, okay?" Allison asked softly. She patted the couch cushion next to her, "Come sit next to me, okay?"

Lydia did just that, plopping down on the couch beside Allison and looking at her curiously. Allison took a deep breath before saying, "Lyds, you and Stiles have been friends for a really long time. We were what, in tenth grade when the two of you started hanging out?"

Lydia nodded, "Yeah. Sure, I've known him a really long time, but this is different. I'd never seen him romantically until about a month ago, and I don't know what the fuck I'm doing."

"What you're doing is you're going to get yourself in the shower. I'm going to go into your closet and pick out the perfect outfit for a first date, and you're going to put your clothes on. Then we're gonna do your hair and your makeup and maybe talk for a while as we watch TV or listen to music or something. It's going to be fine, okay?"

Lydia nodded, "Sure."

"So go get in the shower," Allison said, pointing towards the bathroom, "and I'll gather your clothes."

"You're lucky I trust you as much as I do, Ally," Lydia said, and Allison just laughed.

Allison gathered a black denim miniskirt, with a blood red tank top and a black jean jacket to put over it. She threw the clothes in the bathroom while Lydia was in the shower, and then flipped on the TV. She was just flipping through the channels when she heard the water shut off in the bathroom and decided to just turn the radio on, flipping the TV off. She found a Top 40's station and waited for Lydia to come out of the bathroom.

When Lydia did, about six minutes later, Allison looked at her, "You look amazing, Lyds. Do you wanna do your hair or makeup first?"

"Hair," Lydia said. "I need to get it out of my face."

"Sure. What do you wanna do to it?"

In the end, Lydia decided on an intricate French braid that Allison did for her, and after she put her makeup on and chose a pair of shoes, it was almost six. Stiles had said he was going to pick her up, so she went out into the kitchen and poured herself a glass of water from the tap.

"I know that you are freaking out silently," Allison said, watching her closely, "and I wanna tell you that you don't need to. You and Stiles have known each other for a very long time, and you've been friends with one another for just as long. What's different now?"

"We're friends, like you said," Lydia said. When Allison looked at her curiously, Lydia explained, "What if we date and then break up? It'll damage a really great friendship between the two of us. I'm afraid to try, because if things go south, I'll lose not only my boyfriend, but a really good friend as well."

"But what if you and Stiles get together and things go right?" Allison asked. "What if the two of you get together, go on dates, it goes spectacularly and you decide that you want to get married? You already know that the guy loves you, Lydia. If you don't give it a try, you're rejecting it before you even know if it works or not. Just give it a try, okay? Things are gonna be fine."

Lydia watched her friend for a good moment before saying, "Are you sure, Ally?"

Allison nodded, "Absolutely, Lydia. I can promise you this. Stiles obviously cares very much for you, and I know you care for him just as much. I think you should give it a try - it might just surprise you."

-x-

The night started off pretty badly. Firstly, Stiles was almost fifteen minutes late, and Lydia had thought that maybe he was going to stand her up. When he finally rang her doorbell, he handed her a bouquet of lilies and said, "I'm so sorry, Lyds. I thought I had enough time after class to run home and shower. But I got caught in traffic, and I bet you I hit every single fucking red light on the way home. I stopped at a flower shop to get these flowers to apologize for being so damn late."

Lydia nodded, "Sure, Stiles. It's fine." She went into the kitchen, with Stiles following her, so she could put the lilies in water and placed them on the dining room table.

On the way to the restaurant, Stiles, once again, hit every single red light that there was. When they were ten minutes late for their reservation, the restaurant gave their table away. They ended up eating at the Blue Moon Café, which was a high end café about ten minutes away from Lydia's apartment and even though they had excellent food, Lydia wasn't sure that Stiles would be able to pay for it. When she asked if he was sure, though, he assured her that he was.

The dinner was good. Stiles had a gourmet cheeseburger (Lydia wasn't even sure what was on it, but Stiles seemed really excited about it), and she had fish. The conversation went well and Allison had been right about one thing - it felt like spending time with someone special. Stiles was extremely special to Lydia and she felt like she knew him and could trust him, and it made the time pass quickly.

"So what kinda stuff do people usually talk about on first dates?" Lydia asked him. "I mean, I don't even know, since I've only ever really dated Jordan."

Stiles shrugged, "I don't know. I mean, I dated Malia for a while in high school, but our relationship wasn't really dating, it was more just about sex."

Lydia nodded. She felt a silence overcome the table, and it felt a bit awkward to her, so she said, "If you've loved me for so long, Stiles, why not ask me out before?"

"Because," he said, looking at her like it was obvious, "you and Jordan were happy. You found each other and really liked each other - which turned into love - and I couldn't get in-between that. How could I tell you I loved you when you were so happy with him? I couldn't."

Lydia nodded, so Stiles continued, "Besides that, Jordan made you happy and treated you well. All I've ever wanted for you was to make sure that you were happy. When you love someone - I mean really love someone - you should only care about their happiness."

"And you cared about mine?" Lydia asked softly.

Stiles nodded, "Yeah, I did. I've loved you for a long fucking time, Lyds, and when you and Jordan showed an interest in each other, I stepped aside. It's what I felt for you didn't matter as long as you were genuinely happy, and that's all I've ever wanted - for both Jordan, and you as well."

Lydia nodded, "Sure. But let's not talk about Jordan right now." She wanted nothing to ruin this dinner. "Tell me about your classes."

They spent the next hour talking about things and Stiles talked about his job at the bakery. He adored his job there and had talked about, after finishing culinary school, opening a bakery of his own. He had even considered a coffee shop, so he could make the muffins and baked goods and things.

"Isn't that like a waste?" Lydia asked him. "I mean, you're learning all these fancy dishes and you just wanna open up a coffee shop?"

Stiles shrugged, eating his last few fries, "I mean, it's not a big deal. I could serve more than just coffee and muffins. I could serve cookies and even things like doughnuts if I wanted to."

"You'd be better off opening a diner or something," Lydia said. Stiles just shrugged.

"Are you thinking about going back to school?" he asked Lydia after a few moments. "I mean, you dropped out junior year and I know you don't need financial aid, so you could pretty much go back whenever you wanted to."

Lydia shrugged, "I've been thinking about going for my MBA."

"So you could run my coffee shop/bakery for me," Stiles joked. Lydia, however, looked contemplative.

"Maybe we can talk about that on the second date," she said, and when the waitress came back, Lydia ordered a piece of peanut butter pie. When she noticed Stiles watching her, she looked at him and said, "I don't do this very often, but I really needed something sweet."

Stiles nodded and when her pie arrived, Lydia handed him a fork and said, "Try a bite." Lydia ate at Blue Moon all the time - it was one of Jordan's favorite date spots. But she knew that Stiles had never been there before.

After he swallowed the bite, he looked at her and said, "Oh my God, that pie is fucking amazing!"

Lydia grinned, "I know, right? It's so good."

After they finished eating, when Stiles paid the bill and took her home, she invited him up for a while. It was past ten o'clock, as they were the last to leave the restaurant, and after she closed the door behind herself and Stiles, she saw him watching her mouth.

"I know this is just our first date, Lydia, but I need to know...can I kiss you? I really want to kiss you."

Lydia nodded and softly said, "Yeah, Stiles. I want to kiss you, too."

Stiles closed the distance between the two of them, with Lydia's back up against the door, and he covered her lips with his. The kiss was soft and sweet, and when his tongue probed her mouth, she opened it and massaged his tongue with hers. He reached up and cupped her cheek, caressing her cheek with his thumb.

Pretty soon, the kiss turned hungry, with Lydia initiating it. She was a little hesitant at first, to show Stiles that he had every right and chance to back away and break the kiss if he wanted to. But when she turned hungry, he did as well. He pressed her up against the wall, one hand cupping her cheek and the other on her hip. Before Stiles even knew what was happening, Lydia was hitching one of her legs up and over his hip, so he lifted her up and held her against the wall.

When Stiles broke the kiss mere moments later, they both were breathing hard. Stiles let her down, and Lydia looked at him. There were a couple moments of silence before Lydia said, "Sorry about that. I mean, if you wanna go, you can."

"I just don't want to do anything you're not comfortable with. We don't have to do anything. If you don't wanna do something, if you wanna stop, jut tell me, Lyds, and I swear to God I will. I mean it."

Lydia laughed. "You're such a gentleman, Stiles, and I appreciate that about you," she said. "But I'm sure I want this - if it's what you want. I don't think I can ruin tomorrow by sleeping with you tonight."

"You sure?" Stiles asked.

Lydia answered him with a kiss, and pretty soon they were pulling at each other's clothes, tumbling into her bedroom. When they got to her bed, they both were fully naked. Lydia pushed Stiles down onto the bed, just taking a moment to look at him.

"You really have changed since our high school days," she told him. While he had never been unattractive, he had spent more time at the gym since they started college and it really showed. He had never been unfit, not exactly, with lacrosse and everything, but he looked better now. She licked her lips before crawling up his body, kissing his lips.

She broke the kiss and said, "I want to blow you. Is that okay with you?"

Stiles looked like he was going to pass out, but just nodded and Lydia licked her lips once more before taking him into her mouth. She swirled her tongue around the tip of his length before taking him deeper, into her throat. She bobbed her head and put pressure on the underside of his dick with her tongue, and wrapped her hand around what she couldn't fit in her mouth. She bobbed her head and stroked him with her hand as Stiles babbled nonsense.

"Shit, Lyds, so fucking good," Stiles moaned out. "It's like a dream - wanted you so long, and now that I have you, you are way better than I ever imagined."

Lydia pulled up, him pulling out of her mouth with a pop, and looked at him. "Have you been imagining this often?" she asked him.

"Only every day since we turned thirteen," he said.

For some reason, that didn't bother Lydia as much as she thought it would. Instead, she licked a stripe up the underside of his cock, taking him in her mouth once more, taking him deep. She gave him a long hard suck, and Stiles almost fell apart.

"Lyds, you gotta pull off," he said to her, "I'm gonna come." But she wanted everything he could give her, so she kept sucking him. She reached down to fondle his balls, and with that, he fell apart. He came down her throat, and she sucked him through the aftershocks. She didn't let go until he pushed at her and hissed. She chuckled as she pulled off him, letting him go with a soft pop.

"Shit, Lyds, so good," Stiles groaned out. "Seriously, you're amazing at that."

"Thank you, I guess," Lydia said with a giggle. Stiles made grabby hands at her and said, "Come up here. I want a taste."

"Of what?"

"Of you," he said. "Sit on my face, Lyds."

Even though Lydia had had a lot of sex in her life, not a lot of the guys had really gone down on her very often. Jordan did, but he had been deployed for almost a year when he had been killed, and so she hadn't done this in a very long time. She straddled Stiles' head, each knee on either side of his head, and timidly hovered over him.

Stiles wasn't having that, though, and wrapped his arms around her thighs, pulling her even closer. This first time was all about exploration, finding out what made Lydia feel good. He fucked his tongue in and out of Lydia's center, pulling a few moans and curses out of Lydia's mouth. "Shit, Stiles, so fucking good," she groaned out, and ground down on his mouth. She was embarrassed at first, and made a move to get up off of him, but Stiles pulled her back down.

"Keep going," he mumbled against her center, and she once again started to get lost in the feeling of pure bliss that Stiles was giving her. Once again, she started to grind down on his mouth, and Stiles groaned. He loved it when a girl lost control and took charge in bed; it was so fucking hot.

"Need you on my clit," Lydia moaned out, and Stiles sucked the hardened bud into his mouth. He inserted two fingers into her and curled them up to hit her G-spot. She groaned out, and it wasn't long before she was coming on his fingers. He licked everything up and she slid down off of his face.

Stiles sucked the juices off of his fingers and smiled at Lydia, "You taste so good, Lyds. Just like I thought you would."

Lydia nodded, and leaned in to kiss him. She let his tongue caress hers as he deepened the kiss. When they broke apart, Lydia said, "You taste like me. It's so fucking hot."

When Lydia realized that Stiles was hard again, she looked at him, "You're hard again? Just from eating me out?"

Stiles shrugged, "I liked going down on you. You taste so fucking good and I liked watching you lose control. When you were riding my face - that was really fucking hot."

Lydia leaned in to kiss him once more and then said, "I want to ride you. Please tell me I can."

Stiles groaned and then said, "I would love it if you'd ride me. Do you have a condom?"

Lydia froze. She looked at Stiles and then said, "I don't. I haven't needed them in so long."

"It's okay. I have one in my wallet."

"It's a bit presumptuous on your part, wouldn't you say?" Lydia asked him. "You're implying that I'm easy."

"Not exactly," Stiles said. "I was a boy scout, so I believe in being prepared."

Lydia couldn't exactly fault him for that, so she nodded and he started to get up to get the condom, but Lydia stopped him. "No," she said, "I'll go get it."

Lydia went out into the hallway, where the trail of their clothes led down the stairs and into the living room, and got his wallet out of his pants' pocket. She pulled the condom out of his wallet and went back into the bedroom. She leaned down to kiss him once again, and kissed him hungrily before ripping the foil packet open with her teeth and then rolled the condom down his length. She climbed on top of him and eased down his length slowly.

"Be gentle with me," she said, once she was fully seated on him. "It's been a while."

"How long, exactly?" Stiles asked.

"At least a year and a half," she said. "Give me a minute to adjust."

Stiles nodded, and Lydia took a few deep breaths before starting to glide up and down his length slowly. She started to get lost in the feeling - it felt so damn good - and placed her hands on his chest to help her along.

Stiles watched Lydia and it made him even more aroused. Watching her take her pleasure like this was just so fucking hot. He locked eyes with her as she rode him, and placed his hands on her hips. Lydia threw her head back in pleasure as a low moan escaped her mouth. She started riding him faster and harder, and leaned down to kiss him as she glided up and down his length.

Lydia attacked Stiles' mouth with hers, and it wasn't long before she felt her orgasm coming. She said, "Holy shit, Stiles, I'm so close. I'm gonna come, make me come."

Licking two of his fingers, Stiles reached down and started rubbing Lydia's clit in slow circles. She threw her head back and let out what Stiles would consider a scream as she came around him. The feeling of her tightening around him made Stiles groan and after two or three more thrusts, he exploded in the condom.

As she climbed off of him, Stiles removed the condom, tying it off and throwing it in the trash bin next to Lydia's bed. Lydia pecked Stiles on the lips before cuddling up next to him. Stiles wrapped his arms around Lydia, and, together, they drifted off to sleep.

Chapter Text

The next morning, when Lydia awoke, she saw that the bed was empty. Normally, she would've been worried that Stiles skipped out on her, but she could hear him whistling downstairs in the kitchen. Lydia knew that Stiles whistled a lot of the time when he was baking.

Getting out of bed, she pulled on a shirt and a pair of shorts and went down the stairs. She stopped in the kitchen to just watch Stiles as he continued mixing something in a bowl. He looked happy - he had a smile on his face and he looked like something spectacular had just happened.

And maybe it had. He had spent the night with Lydia last night, and he was in love with her. Lydia felt like they had connected during their lovemaking, and maybe Stiles felt the same way. Oh, who was she kidding - of course Stiles felt the same way. And while Lydia wasn't in love with Stiles - at least, not yet - she felt very strongly about him.

"Hey, you," Stiles said, and it pulled Lydia from her thoughts. She noticed that Stiles was leaning against the counter, just looking at her. "I see you finally got up."

When Lydia glanced at the clock, she saw that it was almost one o'clock in the afternoon. "Wow," she said. "I didn't mean to sleep so late."

"Eh, it's okay," Stiles said. "You were pretty wore out last night."

Lydia rolled her eyes and then said, "Don't look so smug, Stilinski. Maybe I always sleep this late."

"I know you, Lyds," Stiles said, coming closer to her. He wrapped his arms around her waist and nuzzled her neck. "I know how much of an early bird you are."

Stiles left a few open mouthed kisses on Lydia's neck and then leaned up to kiss her lips, but Lydia pulled away. "I haven't brushed my teeth yet," she said, but Stiles just reached up to tilt her chin so he could kiss her anyway.

"I don't care," Stiles said. "I want a kiss."

So Lydia let him kiss her. When the kiss turned hungry, with Stiles attacking Lydia's mouth with his own, Lydia kissed back just as eagerly. But then Stiles broke the kiss. "Sorry," he explained, "but I've got cinnamon rolls in the oven and I don't want them to burn."

Lydia nodded, "Sure." As Stiles went back to his original place in the kitchen, Lydia went over to the refrigerator, pulling out a container of orange juice. She poured herself a glass as Stiles just watched her.

"What?" she asked, once she realized that Stiles was watching her.

"You're just so damn beautiful," Stiles answered, and Lydia blushed at that. Stiles noticed, because he said, "What? It's true. I don't think you realize just how beautiful you are, Lyds."

Lydia just shrugged. That's when Stiles came towards her and placed her glass of orange juice on the counter. He tilted her chin up so she was looking him in the eyes and said, "Lydia Martin, you are so beautiful. I've never seen anyone in my entire life that can even hold a candle to you. You do believe me, don't you?"

Lydia shrugged again. Finally, she said, "Since Jordan's been gone, nobody's really told me that. I thought maybe it was just something only he could see."

"Trust me, Lydia," Stiles said, "It's not something that just Jordan could see."

-x-

They ate breakfast together - or brunch, really, since it was almost two by the time the cinnamon rolls were done - and then Lydia suggested taking a shower. Stiles jumped at that.

After getting the water the right temperature, Lydia climbed in the shower and Stiles followed her. He pinned her up against the back wall of the shower, kissing her on the lips. The kiss turned hungry, with them attacking each other's mouths. As Stiles kissed her, he cupped Lydia's cheek with one hand and placed the other one on her hip.

Stiles started kissing down her neck, leaving little nips in his wake. He kissed down her body, getting to his knees as he kissed her breasts and down her stomach. Lydia leaned back against the shower stall, just because she was afraid she was going to fall over, when Stiles lifted one of her legs and hitched it over his shoulder. With her legs spread, Stiles licked a stripe up her slit.

"Oh, God," Lydia moaned as Stiles tasted her. She had been with a few guys, but none of them, not even Jordan, had had that much enthusiasm while going down on her. Stiles, however, seemed to absolutely love it.

"You taste so good, Lyds," Stiles moaned as his eyes flicked up to look at her. Lydia saw a twinkle in his brown eyes, like a mischievous look, and she groaned. God, he knew exactly what he was doing to her. "I could just stay here and eat you out all day long. You're like a gourmet buffet, I swear to God."

Stiles inserted two fingers into her while attacking her clit with his tongue and teeth. He nipped at her lightly, knowing just how much pressure to put on her with his teeth and he curled his fingers in her so he was reaching her G-spot. Lydia started to grind herself against his mouth.

Stiles started to fuck his fingers in and out of Lydia's center a little more roughly, sucking her clit into his mouth and just sucking on it, hard.

"Oh God, Stiles, I'm so fucking close," Lydia groaned out in a half-whine. "I'm so fucking close, c'mon, just a little bit more, please," she said, and Stiles got just a little bit harder when he heard her begging.

"C'mon, Lydia," he said, once he tore his mouth away from her center, "come for me. I want you to come for me and I want to taste it."

It was then that Lydia fell apart. She came so hard her legs started to shake, and she squirted a little. Stiles fucked her through the aftershocks and then removed his fingers. He licked his fingers clean afterwards and then stood up, kissing Lydia deeply.

Breaking the kiss, Lydia turned around and wiggled her ass, saying, "Come on, Stiles, fuck me. I want to feel you inside of me." She spread her legs, putting one of her feet on the ledge of the tub, and then said, "Please."

"You sure?" Stiles asked. "I don't have another condom."

"It's fine," Lydia said. "I'm on the pill, and while I don't want to make a habit of it, I'll be okay if we have unprotected sex once or twice."

When Stiles bottomed out, Lydia let out a low groan. "God, Stiles, you feel so fucking good inside of me," Lydia groaned out. Stiles grabbed Lydia's hips roughly and started to slowly move.

"Faster and harder, Stiles, please," Lydia begged. "I want to feel you actually fuck me."

As Stiles fucked in and out of Lydia, he let out a low groan. "God, Lyds, you feel so fucking good," he said. "I pictured this a million different times, but you feel even better than I always imagined you would."

"You feel good, too, Stiles," Lydia moaned.

He picked up speed and started to fuck in and out of Lydia a little bit faster. Stiles reached around and started fingering Lydia's clit, leaving open mouthed kisses on the back of Lydia's neck and shoulder. As he rubbed her clit harder and faster, he said, "Come on, Lyds, I need to feel you come around me. Come for me."

When Lydia came a moment later, she let out a low moan. She tightened around Stiles' cock and he groaned as well. After a few more thrusts, he came as well, shooting inside of her.

After Stiles pulled out, Lydia leaned back against Stiles' chest, trying to catch her breath. After a few moments, they started to wash one another, figuring that since they were in the shower, they might as well get clean. Stiles washed Lydia thoroughly, even washing her hair, and Lydia did the same to him. They stayed in the shower until the water ran cold and then got out once they were clean. Lydia grabbed a couple of towels out of the cupboard and handed one to Stiles.

"I need to go home today," Stiles said to her, and Lydia groaned. "Don't worry, I don't have to stay there," he said, picking up on the disappointing sound that Lydia made. "I just need some clothes to wear. I can't keep wearing Jordan's."

"I need to get rid of them anyway," Lydia said. "They've been sitting in my bottom drawer for months because I could never part with them."

"I'm gonna go get some of my clothes and things," Stiles said. "How long do you want me to stay for?"

Forever, Lydia wanted to say, but she didn't want to scare Stiles off, so instead, she said, "How about a couple of days? We can spend some quality time together."

Stiles cracked a smile but then said, "More sex, then?"

Lydia giggled before smiling at Stiles and saying, "Oh, definitely."

-x-

While Lydia and Stiles were back at the apartment he shared with Scott and Kira, Scott went into his room with Stiles and Kira talked to Lydia in hers. "I take it the date went well, then?" Kira asked Lydia with a smirk.

"Unbelievable, like you wouldn't even imagine," Lydia answered, and Kira laughed.

"I bet I can," Kira said. "You and Stiles have always had incredible chemistry, and I'm really happy to see you together. How does he make you feel?"

"Honestly? He makes me feel amazing. Just this morning, he told me how beautiful I was and then he made me cinnamon rolls."

"Homemade?" Kira asked, and after Lydia nodded, she continued, "I'm jealous, Lyds. Whenever Stiles makes cinnamon rolls, they're gone within twenty minutes, so I don't get them very often. What I do get of them, though, are fucking delicious."

"Damn straight they are," Lydia said. Kira laughed.

"So what happens now?" Kira asked. "Are you and Stiles together now?"

Lydia shrugged, "Not sure. We haven't really talked about it."

"Too busy with the hot sex, huh?" Kira said, laughing. Lydia cracked a smile. "So, between the two of us, how was the sex? Good?"

"Oh my God, Kira," Lydia said, "The word good doesn't even begin to describe how great the sex was. He's such an attentive lover, and paid attention to me and my needs. I've never had a guy do that for me. And he seems to love going down on me. It's like, he gets hard just from doing it."

Kira laughed, "Let it be said that Lydia Martin has no problem talking about her sex life."

"Hey," Lydia said, looking at Kira, "Stiles is an amazing lover, and the whole world definitely needs to know about it."

-x-

"You look different," Scott observed as he watched Stiles pack an overnight bag. Scott was sitting cross-legged on Stiles' bed, and he noticed a glow that Stiles had around him. In all honesty, it was hard not to notice it.

"The date was amazing, the sex was amazing...being with her is just..." Stiles' voice trailed off.

"Amazing?" Scott asked with a laugh.

"Definitely," Stiles answered. "Being with Lydia is really and truly amazing, Scotty. I've always been in love with her, but being with her like that? It was more than amazing. It was so amazing, in fact, that there are no words to express just how amazing it was."

"So are you guys dating now? You know, as boyfriend and girlfriend?"

"Boyfriend and girlfriend?" Stiles asked. "Can you be any more elementary school?"

"Shut up, Stiles," Scott said, but Stiles knew that he was being light-hearted about it, because he had a big grin on his face. "Still, the question remains."

"I haven't really asked her," Stiles answered, going into the bathroom to gather up his body wash and deodorant. "I know that she likes me, and I know that I love her."

"Things seem to be going really well for you, man," Scott said, clapping a hand on Stiles' shoulder. "I'm really happy for you."

"You know, Scotty," Stiles said, watching his friend closely, "I'm really happy. Like, a lot happier than I've ever been, and it's Lydia that's made me this way."

Chapter Text

After leaving his apartment, Stiles and Lydia decided they wanted to go out. At first, they weren't exactly sure what they wanted to do, but then decided to see a movie. There was the new Captain America playing at four o'clock, and while action movies weren't usually Lydia's go to, she did like them on occasion. After getting their tickets and popcorn, they went into the theater and watched their movie.

During most of the movie, Stiles had his arm around Lydia's waist, and he leaned over and placed a kiss on Lydia's temple. Even though this was a last minute date, Lydia was still really contended.

After their movie was over, it was almost six-thirty, and Stiles turned to Lydia as they left the theater, "You hungry?"

Lydia shrugged, "I could eat."

They decided on a small Italian place that Lydia loved. As they were waiting for their food, Stiles looked over at Lydia. "So I talked to Scotty when I was at the apartment," he said, taking a sip of the Pepsi he ordered. "He said we should talk."

"Okay?" Lydia said, even though it sounded like a question. "What are we talking about?"

"We went on a date last night, and spent the night together, and we're on a sorta date right now, and I need to know - are we together? I mean, like dating? Not just going on dates, but dating in a way that we are together together?"

Lydia nodded, "I thought so. I mean, do you not want to be my boyfriend?"

Stiles shook his head, "No, that's not what I mean. I want you to be my girlfriend - God, Lyds, I've wanted nothing more than that for a long time. I just want to make sure we're on the same page."

Lydia nodded, "Oh, okay. Cool." She took a drink of her own Diet Pepsi as their food arrived.

Lydia was a little giddy about this revelation. And not only was she having good food with her now boyfriend, Lydia really enjoyed being around Stiles. Because, not only were they dating and that made Lydia happy like it was an early Christmas, but they were close friends and they never ran out of topics to talk about. They were able to talk about pretty much anything they could think of, and Lydia felt no more at home than when she was with Stiles.

They talked about the movie they just saw, and they talked about regular life. Stiles talked about his culinary classes, and then said, "So, your birthday's coming up."

Lydia nodded, "Yeah, it is. A couple more weeks."

"What do you want to do for it?" Stiles asked.

Lydia shrugged, "You don't have to do anything for it."

"Now, would I treat you like that, Lyds?" Stiles asked, softly and seriously. "In all the years we've been friends, I've never, not even once, forgotten about your birthday, have I?"

Lydia shook her head.

"We've been through a lot this past year," Stiles continued, taking a bite of his spaghetti. "I mean, my whole family has, but I think your birthday is something to be celebrated. I mean, you're turning twenty-three."

"There's nothing special about turning twenty-three, Stiles," Lydia said. Stiles shook his head.

"I disagree with you there, Lyds," Stiles said. "Every year you're alive is something to be celebrated."

"It's just gonna be totally different this time," Lydia said. "This is my first birthday without Jordan."

"Not to sound like a total asshole or anything, but Jordan didn't go to your last two birthday parties."

"Yeah, I know that," Lydia snapped, "but it's different this time. This time, he's actually dead, and he's never coming back."

Stiles felt like a total and complete ass. He sighed and looked at her. "I'm sorry, Lyds," Stiles said softly. "I really am. I just...I feel so useless right now, because even though you are my girlfriend now, I know that, in a way, you're still grieving for Jordan. And I get that."

Lydia nodded, "Thank you, Stiles."

They finished their dinner and then went back to Lydia's apartment. As soon as they got in the front door and they had both taken off their jackets, Lydia pushed Stiles against the closed door, fisted Stiles' shirt, and pulled him down for a kiss. There was nothing gentle about this kiss; Lydia attacked his mouth with hers and reveled in the way that Stiles felt against her.

Stiles turned them so that Lydia was the one pushed up against the door, and he bent down and captured her lips once more. This time, the kiss was a little gentler. Lydia let go of the front of Stiles' shirt and wrapped her arms around his neck. Stiles cupped Lydia's cheek with one hand, caressing it with his thumb, and placed his other hand on her hip.

Lydia could kiss Stiles for hours. She loved the way he felt, the way he tasted. He tasted like chocolate and mint from the mint cream pie that he had had at the restaurant, and Lydia loved it. There was also something deep down that she could only describe the taste as Stiles. He just tasted really fucking good.

Stiles broke the kiss and then leaned down to whisper in her ear, "What's gotten into you?"

"You've awoken something in me, Stiles," Lydia said. "I mean, just being with you makes me feel so good."

"I'm glad," Stiles said. "You have no idea how long I've wanted this."

Lydia nodded. "I know it's been a long time," she said. And then she leaned up and kissed him one more time.

The kiss turned hungry in a mere matter of seconds. Stiles hoisted Lydia up and held her against the wall, and she wrapped her legs around his waist. It almost amazed Lydia at how strong Stiles had gotten, and how he could pick her up like she weighed nothing.

After picking her up, Stiles grabbed a hold of Lydia's ass, walking them up the stairs and going into Lydia's bedroom, depositing her on the bed. She looked up at him.

"God, Stiles, I want you to fuck me," she said. "I want to feel your cock inside me so badly."

Stiles groaned. Lydia scooted forward on the bed, reaching up to unbuckle Stiles' belt. She unbuttoned his jeans as well, pulling them down his legs along with his boxers. Stiles reached up and pulled his shirt off.

He helped Lydia get out of her clothes, too, and then leaned down to kiss her fully on the lips. The kiss started out chaste, but Stiles ran his tongue across Lydia's lower lip, silently asking for access, which Lydia granted. As they kissed, Lydia moved back just a bit so Stiles could join her on the bed, and he covered her body with his. Breaking the kiss, Stiles started to journey further south, kissing and nuzzling the skin on Lydia's neck, her throat, and then further south. He cupped her breasts, rolling and pinching her nipples, and then covered one with his mouth. He nipped and sucked on one of them while toying with the other nipple with his hand. When he was satisfied with the appearance of her nipple, he moved on to the other one. He licked, sucked and nipped at it until it was nice and hard.

He started kissing further down Lydia's body, kissing her stomach, dipping his tongue in her belly button, and then left a bunch of kisses on her lower stomach. He bypassed where Lydia wanted him the most, lifting her leg, leaving nips and kisses on the ankle, moving up towards her thigh. Once he was satisfied that he had kissed every inch of her, he leaned down and just breathed in Lydia's scent.

"God, Lyds, you smell so fucking good," Stiles groaned. "I want to eat you out. Is that okay with you?"

The way Stiles was looking at Lydia, his deep brown eyes just studying her green ones, it made the arousal in Lydia's stomach grow. She couldn't take the way he was looking at her.

"Yes, please," Lydia said. "I want to feel your tongue on me; in me. Please lick my pussy, Stiles."

Stiles spread Lydia's legs apart, hooking one of them over his shoulders, and ran a finger through her slit. He then leaned down and gave her clit a kiss. Stiles then licked a stripe up her pussy, once, twice, and then a third time before fucking his tongue into her center. She groaned and grabbed his hair before realizing what she was doing, and then fisted the sheets instead. But Stiles wasn't having that, and leaned up to grab her hands, putting them in his hair roughly.

"You sure?" she asked Stiles as he went back to work. He moaned in reply, and Lydia could only guess that meant yes, so she grabbed his hair roughly. He groaned at that, and began fucking his tongue in and out of her.

The first time Stiles went down on Lydia, it was all about exploration, about finding what made Lydia feel good. This time, however, it was just about carnal urges, about taking what he had learned about Lydia before and putting it to use to make her feel good. Lydia started to grind her hips on his mouth, and then felt a little embarrassed about doing so. Stiles looked up at her, breaking the contact with her pussy to say, "Don't do that, Lydia. I want you to fuck my face, to really get into it. It's so fucking hot when you get lost in the sensation."

Lydia nodded, and Stiles once again went back to his work. She started grinding her hips against his mouth, and it made Stiles groan.

"Shit, Stiles, need you on my clit," Lydia groaned out. Stiles complied, licking a stripe up her slit before closing his lips around her clit and sucking on it. Lydia groaned, grabbing at Stiles' hair, and he inserted two fingers into her center, fucking them in and out of her. He curled them upwards so they were hitting her G-spot, and Lydia let out a loud moan.

"God, Stiles, you feel so fucking good," Lydia started to babble. "Add another finger."

Stiles complied, slipping in another finger and started fucking her ruthlessly with them. Lydia groaned out, "Shit, I'm gonna come, Stiles. So fucking close."

Stiles sucked on her clit hard while fucking his fingers in and out of her, and with a gentle bite on her clit, Lydia fell over the edge. She let out a loud moan as she said, "Shit, Stiles, so fucking good."

He fucked her through her orgasm, and when she pushed his head away because of overstimulation, he withdrew his fingers, licking her juices off of them. He winked at her while he did it, too, and then said, "Oh my God, Lydia, you taste so fucking good. I'd eat you out all the time if you let me."

"You are pretty talented at it," Lydia said. "You make me feel so fucking good."

Lydia leaned up and captured Stiles' lips in a kiss, sliding her tongue in his mouth so their tongues could dance together, and Lydia could taste herself on his lips. Lydia cupped Stiles' cheek while they did it, and she rubbed her thumb across his cheekbone.

After a few minutes, Lydia broke the kiss and then said, "Do you want me to suck your cock?"

Stiles shook his head, "Not right now, baby. I need to be inside you, if that's okay."

"Yeah, it is," Lydia said. "Did you get condoms?"

Stiles nodded, "I grabbed the box out of my room. It was nearly full. I have one in my jeans' pocket." He leaned down to where he had deposited his jeans and grabbed a foil pocket out of his pocket, ripping the foil with his teeth and then rolling it on himself. Lydia grabbed a pillow from the head of her bed and slid it under her hips, and Stiles lifted one of her legs, throwing it over his shoulder as he entered her in one thrust. Lydia groaned loudly.

"Shit, so good, Stiles," she said. "You feel so fucking good."

"You feel good, too," Stiles said as he bottomed out. "Like, really good. I love the way you feel around me - so hot, so wet, and so fucking tight. Holy shit, Lyds."

He thrust in and out of her slowly a couple of times before starting to speed up. He leaned forward, her leg over his shoulder to help the angle of penetration, and she groaned. He started speeding up little by little, and pretty soon, the slapping of skin was pretty much all you could hear in the room. Lydia reached down to rub her clit in slow circles, feeling the orgasm start to build in her stomach. When Stiles realized what she was doing, he moved her hand.

"I wanna do that myself," Stiles said, rubbing her clit with his thumb. He sped up, rubbing her harder and faster as he fucked in and out of her.

"Shit, Stiles, gonna come," Lydia said. She felt her orgasm start to get closer and closer. "I'm so fucking close."

"C'mon, baby," Stiles said, leaning down to kiss her breasts. "I want you to come for me. I need to feel you come around me."

Lydia let out a loud shriek when she came around him; he just felt too damn good. He fucked her through her orgasm, and it wasn't long before she felt herself start to come again. "Shit, Stiles, I'm coming again!" she groaned out, and Stiles smirked to himself.

After her third orgasm of the night, Stiles could feel himself start to get close. "I'm gonna come, Lyds," Stiles said, snapping his hips. "I'm so fucking close."

"C'mon, Stiles," Lydia said, "It's okay; I want you to come for me. Please."

At the sound of her begging, , Stiles groaned and let him explode inside the condom. Once he was spent, he fell down on top of her, but Lydia pushed at him.

"Stiles, you're heavy," she said. Stiles pulled out of her, disposing the condom in the trash bin by her bed, and lay down beside Lydia. They were both covered in sweat, panting and their hearts were beating really fast, but he wrapped his arms around her, kissing her shoulder.

"God, Stiles," Lydia said. "You make me feel so good."

"You make me feel good, too," Stiles said. "I love the way you feel when we make love."

Lydia smiled softly. Then she said, "I don't know about you, but I need a fucking nap."

Stiles leaned up and grabbed the quilt that was on Lydia's bed, throwing it over the both of them, and they drifted off into a dreamless sleep.

Chapter Text

"You want to what now?" Kira asked, watching Stiles intently. "Are you sure?"

"What's wrong with throwing Lydia a birthday party?" Stiles asked, glancing around at their group of friends. "I mean, really? Turning twenty-three is a big deal."

"Actually, it really isn't," Allison piped up from where she was cuddling on the loveseat with Isaac. She had turned twenty-three a few weeks prior. She looked up at Stiles and said, "It's just another day."

"Well, it's a big deal for Lydia, okay? She's had so much doom and gloom the past year, I think a celebration would be good for her. But the thing is - I've always sucked at arranging parties. The queen of parties in Beacon Hills is Lydia, but I don't want her to know about this one."

"A surprise party?" Kira asked. "You know Lydia detests surprises."

"Yes, but I really want to do this. Having one surprise party isn't gonna ruin her life."

Kira nudged her boyfriend, "Scott, you need to tell your brother this is a really bad idea."

"Huh?" Scott asked, like he wasn't even paying attention. Kira didn't look upset, however; she looked worried. Whenever Scott zoned out like that, it meant he was deep in thought, and most of the time, that never ended well.

"Tell Stiles that throwing Lydia a surprise party is a bad idea," Kira repeated. "I really don't think we should."

"She's got a point, Stiles," Scott said, looking at him. "Lydia would hate it."

Stiles sighed, "Look, I'm just trying to get some happiness in Lydia's life right now. After everything she's been through in the last year, she really deserves it. Whether or not you guys are in, I'm doing this."

"We can't exactly make you do it by yourself," Allison sighed. "Lydia is my best friend, and I wouldn't forgive myself if I didn't try to help you make her birthday a good one. Isaac and I are in."

"Wait, why me?" Isaac asked, looking at Stiles and then Allison. "I didn't volunteer."

"I volunteered you," Allison said. "Come on, Lydia's one of your friends, too, and I think it would mean a lot if you'd help us."

Isaac sighed, but then said, "Okay, fine. But I'm not happy about it."

After Allison and Isaac had gone later that night, Kira sat down on the couch next to Stiles, who was busy trying to figure out the puzzle that was the water temple in The Legend of Zelda. Kira just sat there silently for a few moments, sipping water out of a bottle, until Stiles spoke, not even taking his eyes off the screen.

"What do you want, Kira?"

Kira shrugged, "Are you sure you want to do this? This party for Lydia? Because I can understand if you don't, if you'd rather take her to a nice dinner or something, she might like that better."

Stiles sighed, "Lydia's been through a lot in the past year. And not only does it seem like she's been getting happier lately, but she's dating again. Nobody was expecting that, and I really just want to make her happy. That's all I've wanted, is for Lydia to be happy. She isn't going to hate me over one surprise party. I think you guys are just making a bigger deal out of this than necessary."

Kira sighed. "Fine," she said. "Count Scott and me in. Come up with a guest list and we'll take care of the rest. Your job, Stiles - your only job, Stiles - is to keep Lydia occupied. Keep her busy."

Stiles nodded, "Sure. I can do that."

-x-

That Saturday, Stiles had to work, and Lydia declined any offer to hang out from any of her friends. She had something she wanted to do. After getting up and around, eating a bowl of cereal and stopping by Laura Hale's flower shop, she drove to the cemetery.

It'd been a while since she'd been here, but she set the flowers down in front of the headstone, sighing to herself. Jordan had been buried next to his parents; that was an executive decision that John himself had made. He had even talked to Lydia about it, even though she had been confused at the time. John was his guardian, and didn't need her permission to bury Jordan wherever he wanted to. Lydia stood on the grass in front of his headstone, just standing there for a few moments. The grass was wet with the morning dew and it was starting to soak through to her skin through her open toed shoes.

"I haven't been here in a while," she said after a few moments of silence. "I'm sorry about that. I've been really busy. And I know that isn't really an excuse, but I've had to work up to the courage to get here." She sighed again and then continued, "I read your note. The note you wrote me in case something happened to you. And Stiles and I have started seeing one another. I really like him, Jordan. He's a great guy and he treats me really well." She let out a deep breath before saying, "I just...I feel like a failure here. I know he's in love with me, and I like him, too, but I can't get you off my mind lately. And I know that Stiles is going to want to do something big for my birthday, but part of me just wants to wallow. I did a lot of that after you died, but I just...he deserves better than me, Jordan. He does now and probably always will."

Lydia paused, taking a moment to get things clear in her head. She then said, "I miss you, though. I think about you a lot, and I know Stiles does too. You had a way of making me feel whole - making me accept myself so much better whenever you were around. And even now, I worry that I'm not enough for him. I kind of wish you were here to tell me what to do. You weren't just my love, Jordan - you were my friend, my best friend, and I hate that you're not in my life anymore."

She felt a little dumb about just talking to a headstone, and then she sighed and said, "I love you, Jordan. I probably always will." She took one last look at the headstone and then turned around, wiping the tears that had accumulated in her eyes,and then walked away.

But, unbeknownst to Lydia, she had not been alone.

-x-

"You're being weirdly quiet, tonight," Stiles said to Scott later that night. After what Scott had observed at the cemetery, he wasn't sure how to bring it up to Stiles. He knew that he wasn't supposed to see that, but he was leaving from visiting Jordan's grave when he saw Lydia walk up. She looked like a woman on a mission, and Scott was pretty sure that Lydia wouldn't want to see him, so he hid behind a tree. He felt a bit like a coward for hiding from her, but then she started talking, and Scott had been curious, even though, technically, he had been eavesdropping.

When Scott didn't respond to what Stiles had said, he looked at him. "What's wrong, buddy?" Stiles asked, looking into Scott's eyes. "Anything I can to help? I'm a great listener."

"I just don't know how to start," Scott admitted.

Stiles shrugged, "Start at the beginning. It's not that hard. Just open your mouth and let the words come out."

Scott nodded. "So, I went to the cemetery today," he started. "It's been a while since I've visited Jordan's grave, and I thought it'd be nice, you know? Just to sit with him for a while." Stiles nodded, so Scott continued, "I was leaving when I saw Lydia there. She was walking up to his grave, so I started to leave. She looked like a woman on a mission, like she didn't want to be disturbed. So I kinda hid behind a tree and listened to her talk to him."

"That's like eavesdropping," Stiles said. He made a fake sniffle and then looked at Scott, "I'm so proud of you, dude."

Scott grinned and then playfully pushed Stiles.

"So what'd she say?" Stiles asked after the moment had gone. "I mean, that's what you've been trying to tell me, right? That she said something you don't think I'm gonna like."

Scott sighed, but then relayed to Stiles what Lydia had said. After Scott had finished, Stiles sighed.

"She doesn't think she deserves me?" Stiles asked, and he almost sounded hurt. "Why not?"

Scott shrugged, "I dunno, dude. I just worry that she's gonna do something to sabotage your relationship, you know? Make you leave - kinda push you away."

"I don't think Lydia'd do that," Stiles said, shaking his head. "I mean, she's not the type to do something like that."

Scott shrugged again, "I know that you love her, dude. And I know we've known Lydia for a really long time, but she's gone through a terrible tragedy, you know?"

Sighing, Stiles got up off the bed where he had been sitting next to Scott and pulled on his tennis shoes and Scott looked at him quizzically. "Where're you going?"

"To see Lydia," Stiles answered. "I need to talk to her."

Scott nodded and then said, "I'll see you later, dude. Make sure you text me to let me know if you're not coming back tonight."

Stiles nodded, "Sure thing, man. I'll see you later."

When Stiles got to Lydia's apartment building, he took a few deep breaths before nodding at the doorman, who let him into the building. He had known Stiles as Jordan's brother, but since Stiles and Lydia had started dating, the guy seemed more open and friendly to him. He nodded back as he opened the door, and Stiles let out a "Thanks, dude," as he walked into the open door. He took the elevator to Lydia's floor and walked into her apartment.

She was sitting on the couch, flipping through channels. She looked over at Stiles when he entered. "Hey," she said. "I wasn't expecting to see you tonight."

Stiles nodded, "I know. But you and I, we need to talk, Lyds."

Stiles couldn't read the look that was on her face, but she flipped the TV off and then nodded. "Sounds serious," she said.

"I don't know how to tell you this -" Stiles started, but Lydia cut him off.

"Don't sugarcoat it, Stiles," Lydia practically snapped. "If you've decided to move on from me, it's fine. I'm a big girl; I can handle it."

"That's not it at all, Lyds," Stiles said. "I don't want to break up, okay? I want to be with you for as long as you'll have me."

Lydia nodded, but eased up a little. "Okay," she said. "So what's up, then?"

"Scott saw you at the cemetery today," Stiles said, taking a seat next to Lydia on the couch. Lydia made a surprised face, so Stiles continued, "He heard you talking to Jordan."

Lydia nodded.

"He heard what you said," Stiles said. "About not being good enough for me."

Lydia sighed, but then looked at Stiles. "I'm still afraid you're gonna leave," she whispered, almost so low that Stiles couldn't hear it, but he caught it. "I'm waiting for the day you're gonna leave."

"Why?" Stiles asked. "Why would I leave you?"

"Because Jordan left," Lydia said. "I know that he didn't want to, that he didn't mean to, but I loved him, Stiles, and one day he was just gone."

"He didn't leave of his own accord, though," Stiles said. "Believe me, Lyds, if he had had any choice at all, he'd still be here with you. He never wanted to leave you."

Lydia sighed, "I guess you're right, Stiles. I just...I worry about stuff like that."

"Well, don't worry, okay? I love you, and I'm definitely not going anywhere."

Chapter Text

Lydia's birthday was in a few days, and so far, Kira and Allison had a pretty awesome party planned. They had talked to Natalie, and she had agreed to let them throw the party there. They would've thrown it at one of their apartments, but were worried about space. Natalie had seemed pretty happy that they were doing this for daughter.

"You guys are really good friends," she said to them as Allison and Kira sat on her couch that afternoon, talking over preparations for the party. "You're really good to Lydia, and I really appreciate that."

Kira nodded as Allison said, "Lydia's been through a lot. We only want what's best for her."

"Whose idea was this, anyway?" Natalie asked, taking a sip of her coffee. "Who thought up the party?"

"Stiles," Kira said. "It was all Stiles' idea."

"Lydia told me they're dating," Natalie said. "How's that going?"

"They seem to really like each other," Kira said. "I mean, Stiles has liked Lydia for a long time, but I bet he never thought that she'd like him back."

"They're good for one another," Natalie said. She had been friends with John and Melissa for a long time, so she had known both Stiles and Scott since they were little. "Stiles is a good guy, and Lydia needs one of those."

"She's had it hard in the last year," Kira said, taking a drink of the tea Natalie had brought her when they first arrived. "Our hearts really went out to her after Jordan died."

"I try to keep on telling her that it's gonna get better," Natalie said. She had lost her own husband several years ago, when Lydia was just a kid. That's when she married Peter Hale. "Things are going to get better, but Lydia's been stuck in the survivor's guilt phase. She felt guilty about living, and I've been trying to get her to live, because that's what Jordan would have wanted, and everybody knows it. Why did she decide to date Stiles to begin with?"

"Jordan wrote her a letter before he died," Allison said. "She told me all about it. He said that she shouldn't feel guilty for moving on, and that Stiles has been in love with her for a long time. That's when she decided to ask him out."

"They're gonna be good together," Natalie said, looking at Allison and then at Kira. "I can just tell."

-x-

Lydia opened her eyes groggily. The first thing she did was check her clock, and noticed it was almost three. This was one of those rare days where Stiles didn't have class or work, so they spent the day together. Around one, they had laid down together to take a nap and just cuddle. Lydia loved days like this.

She looked over at Stiles, who was still fast asleep. A smirk crossed Lydia's lips before she rolled over. Stiles was asleep on his back, his hands were clutching the blanket by his sides, and Lydia started leaving kisses, starting with his neck, down his chest and stomach. Removing the blanket, she kissed further down his stomach, pulling his sweatpants and boxers down, and glanced up at his face once more to see if he was still asleep. He was, so she smirked to herself as she licked a stripe up his already erect cock. She loved going down on him, mostly because he was just so damn responsive, and when he was asleep was no exception. She swirled her tongue around the tip of his cock, taking him into her mouth. She hollowed out her cheeks, suckling lightly, putting pressure on the underside of his cock like she knew he liked, and started bobbing her head.

When the moans started leaving his mouth, Lydia glanced up to see if he was awake. His eyelids were fluttering, like he was coming out of a deep sleep, and so she continued with what she was doing. When his hand came up to stroke the back of her head, she knew he was awake, and, without taking her mouth off of him, she glanced up at him.

He was watching her with lidded eyes, and let out a low groan. "What a way to wake up," he commented, his voice still laced with sleep.

Lydia pulled off with a soft pop before saying, "Do you like it?"

"Oh yeah," Stiles said. Lydia went back to sucking his cock.

She started stroking what she couldn't fit in her mouth with her hand, twisting her wrist on the upstrokes, and Stiles let out a low groan.

"Shit, Lyds, so fucking good," Stiles said to her. "This is so fucking amazing, you're so good at this."

Lydia pulled off, licking the underside of his cock once more, before taking him into her mouth again. She put pressure on the underside of his dick like she knew he liked, and started stroking him once more. She could feel him start to tense up.

"Shit, gonna come," he warned, but she didn't pull off. Instead, she moaned around his dick, and that's when he fell apart.

Lydia swallowed everything Stiles had to give, and then pulled off with a soft pop. She looked at him, and Stiles groaned. "Come up here," he said to her, and she complied, crawling up his body, removing her clothes on the way up. She pulled his pants and boxers off, and Lydia pinned him down to the bed, straddling his hips, and captured his lips with hers.

Stiles probed her mouth with his tongue, chasing the flavor of himself that was there. He moaned when he found it, and he rubbed his hands up and down her arms, caressing the skin he found there.

Stiles broke the kiss and looked at Lydia. "I wanna taste you, Lyds," he said, a hunger in his amber eyes that Lydia had never seen before. "Sit on my face."

Lydia nodded, letting out a shaky breath, and then she put a knee on either side of his head, gripping the headboard with her hands, and hovered slightly over his face. He wasn't having that, though, and wrapped his arms around her thighs, bringing her even closer to his waiting mouth. He probed her nether lips with his tongue, it slipping inside of her, and he fucked her with it.

Lydia was starting to get lost in the sensation, and started grinding down on his mouth. She almost stopped, but then remembered what he had told her the first time they slept together - that he really liked it - so she didn't hold herself back. As she started to ride his face, Stiles let out a huge moan.

"Need you on my clit," she gasped out, and Stiles complied, sucking the hardened bud into his mouth. He removed one hand from her thigh and inserted two fingers into her, fucking her slowly with them. Lydia groaned at the feeling, and then said, "Need more. Give me another, Stiles." He complied with that, too, inserting another finger into her and crooking them to hit her G-spot. She groaned loudly as he fucked her with his fingers and sucked on her clit. With one last gentle bite on her clit, she fell apart, shuddering around him as her orgasm hit her hard.

She took a couple shaky breaths before Stiles removed his fingers and she climbed off of him. She leaned down into the nightstand and grabbed a condom, ripping the foil packet with her teeth. She rolled it on him, kissing him deeply, tasting herself on his mouth. She licked her lips before easing down on his length slowly.

She loved the way he felt inside of her. It was just a really great feeling, every single time. She paused for a moment, letting herself adjust to his size, before she started gliding up and down on his length. As she rode him, she leaned down, capturing his lips and kissing him deeply. This kiss was slow, with Lydia putting her feelings into the kiss. Now, she wasn't really sure if what she felt for Stiles was classified as love, but she knew that with each day that passed, she was starting to care for him more and more deeply, and she couldn't imagine her life without him.

Stiles had been her friend for a long time. Even when she didn't see him romantically, he'd always been there for her whenever she needed it. She loved him for that. It wasn't a platonic kind of love, but was it romantic? Was it really love?

She rode him harder, the thoughts leaving her head, and he reached up, gripping her hips harshly with his hands. Lydia moaned; she had always been a fan of a few bruises and soreness after sex.

She was surprised, however, when Stiles flipped them over so she was on her back on the bed, and he was hovering over her. He started fucking in and out of her with just a bit of force.

When he paused, Lydia wasn't prepared for it, but then he looked over at her. "Am I going too hard?" he asked her. She shook her head.

"No," she said. "It's perfect."

Stiles nodded and then started fucking her once again, a little more forcefully than he had before. She wrapped her legs around his waist, locking her ankles together, and the change in angle made it so that he was hitting her G-spot. She groaned, "Oh, God, so fucking good."

"How does this feel, Lyds?" he asked her, and she could do nothing but moan. He licked his fingers, reaching down to rub her clit with two fingers, and then said, "Are you close?"

She nodded, "Yeah. So fucking close. I can feel..." her voice trailed off.

A few minutes passed before she looked at him. "Stiles," she said urgently, "I'm gonna come. So fucking close."

"C'mon, baby," he said to her, fingering her clit just a little more roughly, "come for me. I wanna feel you come on my cock."

Stiles leaned down and kissed Lydia, slipping his tongue into her mouth, and she moaned loudly as she came around him. Stiles broke the kiss and groaned.

"Shit, Lyds, so good," he said, thrusting a couple more times before coming himself. Stiles took a few deep breaths before he pulled out, pulling off the condom, tying it off and throwing it in the trash bin next to Lydia's bed. He cuddled up next to her, spooning her with her back to his chest, and left a kiss on her shoulder.

"Mmm," Lydia said. "You make me feel so fucking good, Stiles. I love it."

"You're the best, Lyds. You deserve to feel that way. I love you."

"I can't say it back yet," Lydia said, rolling over on her back to look at him. "I'm sorry."

"Hey, it's okay," he said, kissing her cheek. "Lydia, I don't want you to actually say it until you know you mean it."

Lydia just nodded.

-x-

When the day of the party came, Stiles was starting to get a little nervous.

The party was set for six o'clock, so Stiles just had to keep Lydia busy until then. They were having it at Natalie's house, so it was easy for him to get over there. But what were they going to do until then? And would she be mad at him when she found out that he had planned a party without her knowledge?

"Spend the day with her, Stiles," Kira was saying that morning at breakfast. "We've got a terrific party planned. All you have to do is spend the day with her, don't make her suspicious, and bring her over to Peter and Natalie's at six-thirty. Can you do that?"

Stiles nodded, "Yeah."

"Great. So get ready and go see her, okay? I want her to be kept busy."

Stiles nodded again.

He went over to Lydia's apartment around eleven, and she was putting clothes in the washing machine. He looked at her, "Whatcha doin'?" he asked her.

She jumped a little before turning around, "Jesus, Stiles, you scared the shit out of me." She took a few deep breaths before saying, "I'm doing laundry. What does it look like?"

Stiles shrugged. He noticed that she was dressed, wearing a lavender sundress, and said, "You going somewhere today?"

Lydia shook her head, "Nah. I kind of just want to laze around."

"Well, it's your birthday," Stiles said. "Happy birthday, by the way. I thought we could spend the day together, unless you've got something else planned."

"What do you want to do?" she asked him.

"Well, there's the museum that you like so much. I thought we could go over there and hang out, look at the new dinosaur exhibit. You still like dinosaurs, right?"

Lydia nodded, "Yeah. You remember when we were kids? How the Tyrannosaurus Rex was your favorite?"

"Yeah, and I recall a cute little redhead telling me that I was an idiot for thinking that."

Lydia let out a laugh. "Yeah," she said. "I remember that. Sorry for saying it that way."

"Ehh," Stiles said. "It's no big deal. You were right, you know? There are a lot better dinosaurs than the T-Rex." He watched her for a good moment before saying, "So, you wanna hang out with me today?"

"I'm going to see Mom tonight, but until then I just kind of want to lounge. You wanna have a Netflix marathon or something? I don't really feel like going anywhere."

"I guess that'll be okay," Stiles said. Hey, Kira said to keep her busy, but didn't say how.

"Awesome. Are you hungry? I was just about to make myself some breakfast."

"It's almost 11 AM," Stiles said. "Isn't it more time for lunch than breakfast?"

Lydia shrugged, "Ehh, call it brunch then. But it's my birthday and I can call it breakfast if I wanna."

Stiles laughed, "Okay, Lyds, sure. I'll help you cook. Let me make you breakfast. What do you want?"

Lydia shrugged, "There's bacon and eggs in there. Maybe with a side of toast?"

"Sure, I can do that. Why don't you just relax? It's your birthday, after all."

Lydia smiled - a genuine, full-fledged smile, and Stiles thought that he had never seen anything more beautiful. He was just hoping that Lydia was still his girlfriend tomorrow.

Chapter Text

Getting Lydia over to Peter and Natalie's that night wasn't hard. After spending most of the afternoon marathoning Criminal Minds on Netflix, they decided to head over around six o'clock. After Lydia had freshened up her makeup and curled her hair, Stiles thought she had never looked more beautiful.

Well, that wasn't true. Even though Lydia would never agree with him, Stiles thought Lydia looked the most beautiful right when she woke up in the morning, before the makeup, before she did anything to her hair. When she was just natural, she looked like a goddess.

When they turned on the lights at the house, and everyone jumped out and yelled "Surprise!" Lydia looked like she was going to faint. She didn't look angry, though; she looked kind of shocked. Then she turned to Stiles and said, "A surprise party? For me?"

Stiles nodded, "Yeah." He reached over and pulled her into a hug, mostly so no one would hear their conversation. "Are you mad?"

"Nah," she whispered into his ear. "I'm actually happy that you guys thought of doing this for me."

They pulled apart and Lydia gave Stiles a kiss on the lips that turned filthy until she heard the catcall come from the room. Lydia blushed as they separated.

"This was all Stiles' idea, Sweetheart," Natalie said, coming towards her daughter to give her a hug. "He really wanted to do something for your birthday."

Lydia smiled at him, "Thank you, Stiles. It means a lot to me that you'd go to all this trouble."

"It wasn't just me," Stiles said as other people were coming forward to wish Lydia a happy birthday. "If it weren't for Ally and Kira, this would've never happened."

Lydia went around and mingled with everyone that was there, with Stiles by her side. She struck up a conversation with Derek, Braeden, and Laura, and Stiles went over to talk to Scott.

"How're things, dude?" Stiles asked. "Have you asked her yet?"

Scott had been getting lost in thought more and more, and Stiles knew it was because he was trying to figure out an amazing way to pop the question to Kira. After getting his blessing from Mr. Yukimura, Scott wanted to find a way to make it a night that Kira was never going to forget.

"No," Scott sighed, glancing over to where Kira was deep in conversation with Allison, Isaac, and Cora Hale. "I can't figure out a way to ask her. It needs to be amazing - you know, it needs to be a way she's never going to forget."

"She'll never forget it anyway, dude," Stiles said, looking his best friend in the eye. "Proposing, or even getting proposed to, is something you never forget. Ask her in whatever way you want; make it a grand gesture, if you want, or just come right out and ask her while on a date. She loves you, man, and she's going to say yes."

Scott smiled, clapping his best friend on the shoulder, "Thanks, Stiles. I appreciate it, man."

All in all, the party was a success, and Stiles couldn't be happier. Lydia looked like she was thoroughly enjoying herself, and even though Stiles had caught her a couple of times with this sad expression on her face, it seemed like everything was going well.

-x-

Lydia was thankful that her mother wore the same kind of makeup she did. After locking herself in the master bathroom for almost ten minutes to have her breakdown in private, she needed to reapply her makeup so no one noticed.

It hadn't sunk in before how much Stiles truly loved her. Sure, Jordan had said he did, and even Stiles himself had admitted it, but she hadn't realized that it ran so deeply. And as she sat in the bathroom, tears leaking from her eyes, she realized that she loved him back.

Stiles was an amazing man. He was kind, and honest, and loyal, and even when they were kids, he had always been there whenever she needed him. He treated her like she was something precious, like she was something to be cherished, and even though she absolutely adored the way he treated her, it made her fall deeper and deeper every day.

And they were dating, yes, but she couldn't love him back. Yes, Jordan had been dead for almost nine months now, and Lydia was finally moving on. But she felt like she was doing his memory wrong - and she hated it.

She took a few deep breaths after reapplying her makeup and left Natalie's bathroom, only to run smack into Stiles himself.

"What are you doing up here?" she asked, mostly surprised that he was up here looking for her.

"Everyone has noticed you absence, Lyds," Stiles said softly. He cupped her cheek and looked straight into her eyes. "And I can tell that you've been crying. Are you okay?"

She couldn't do it. She had to break up with him. It wasn't fair that she was feeling this way; it felt a little bit like she was leading him on. But she wasn't going to do it here; that'd just embarrass the shit out of Stiles, and that was the last thing Lydia wanted. She loved him, and she knew it was likely that he was going to hate her after this, but she just couldn't do this to him. Not when she was still in love with Jordan.

Lydia didn't trust her voice right now, though, which she knew was wrecked from crying, so she just nodded.

"What's going on, baby?" Stiles asked. "Did something happen?"

Lydia just shook her head and said, "C'mon, Stiles, let's go back down to the party."

-x-

Since Lydia had ridden with Stiles to her mom's house, he dropped her off at her apartment later that night. Armed with the gifts she had gotten - mostly gift cards, but Lydia loved Allison and Kira forever for the fact that they had bought her several books by her favorite mathematician - she went up the stairs and into her apartment. After getting the door unlocked, Stiles followed her in, and she looked at him.

"Look, Stiles, I'm really thankful you threw that party for me," Lydia said sincerely. "Really. It was very nice of you."

"I'm sensing there's a but coming up in that sentence," Stiles said. Lydia nodded.

"You and I...we can't happen anymore, Stiles. I'm sorry. It's got to be over between the two of us."

"Lyds, why?" Stiles asked. He looked hurt - which, Lydia had known he would be, and she didn't blame him one bit. "Is there someone else?"

Lydia didn't want to lie to him, but knew the truth was going to hurt worse than any lie could. "Kinda," she finally said. "The truth of the matter is, Stiles, that I'm not fully over Jordan and I just feel like...I feel like I'm doing harm to his memory by dating you. I'm really sorry, but I feel a little bit like I'm leading you on, so I need to do this, okay? I really am sorry."

Lydia couldn't help the tears that were leaking out of her eyes, and she was trying really hard to keep herself stable so she could keep up the façade she was trying to build here. She saw tears in Stiles' eyes - they weren't that noticeable, they were just subtly there - and she felt even more like shit than she did mere moments before.

"I really am sorry, Stiles," Lydia said again. Her heart was breaking - but as badly as she felt for doing this, she knew Stiles felt a million times worse. And because of that fact, she felt like such a cold-hearted bitch for doing this to him.

"I've gotta go," Stiles said. "Maybe we can still be friends?"

Lydia nodded, "Yeah, Stiles. If that's what you want. But I can honestly say that I would understand it if you never wanted to see me again."

Stiles nodded and said, "I'll see you later, Lyds."

After he had gone, Lydia threw herself on the couch and cried into the pillow until she was all cried out. It wasn't very long until she had cried herself to sleep.

-x-

"So I thought about what you said," was the first thing out of Scott's mouth when Stiles walked through the apartment door. It had been almost three hours since the breakup, and after he left Lydia's apartment, Stiles just drove around to think. He needed the fresh air, and had ended up at the cemetery, just talking to Jordan for the longest time.

"About what?" Stiles asked, trying to put on a brave face. He knew that Scott hadn't noticed how upset Stiles was yet, or else he wouldn't have started talking about whatever he was talking about.

"About Kira. You know, proposing. And you're right, dude; she's never gonna forget this, no matter what. So I asked her already."

"Really?" Stiles asked. "How?"

"I took her to the lacrosse field. You know, the place we first met? I proposed to her there. Of course she accepted, and she even cried."

Stiles remembered the day that he and Scott had met Kira. She was brand new to Beacon Hills High School, where her dad had just gotten a job teaching history, and she was nervous. Stiles had always thought that Kira was awkwardly adorable. She had gone to watch lacrosse practice that day, because she had ridden to school with her father and didn't have any friends to take her back home, and he had to stay late to grade papers. As soon as she saw Scott, she tripped and almost catapulted herself down the bleachers, but Scott had been there to catch her. It was a joke in-between the two of them that she had fallen for Scott, literally.

Stiles tried really hard to look like he was happy for his friend. And he was, he really was. Scott had been through a lot of shit, especially with his douchebag of a father, so he deserved some happiness, and Stiles knew that Kira could give it to him. They'd been together for the last four years and were very happy together, and it was just because Kira and Scott just clicked.

Scott took a good look at his friend's face before saying, "Dude, are you okay? What happened?"

Stiles shrugged, trying to give an air of nonchalance. He swallowed thickly before saying, "Lydia broke up with me. She said she's still in love with Jordan, and she felt like dating me was doing harm to his memory. So she broke it off."

"Dude," Scott said, his face falling. "I'm so sorry. I thought it was going well between the two of you."

"I thought so, too," Stiles said, sighing. "Man, I really thought so, too."

Chapter Text

It had been three weeks. Once again, Lydia had barricaded herself in her apartment, not leaving for anything. The whole situation frustrated her friends, because Lydia had come so far in the last few months, and now she was right back where she started.

Allison and Kira had broken into her apartment a week ago, but they wouldn't tell Stiles what had happened, or what Lydia had said. They just told him that she was doing as well as she could be right now, and when the time was right, Lydia would talk to him. But Stiles felt like that time would never come.

Because of what Lydia was going through, Stiles was somewhat in a slump as well. He still went to work, went to class, and made his dad and Melissa dinner once a week, like he normally did. But he spent most of his other time in his room, shooting electronic people.

Kira and Scott worried about him. Stiles never shut himself down to anyone, so the fact that he was doing so really worried them both, especially Scott, who'd known Stiles practically his entire life.

That's when they'd hatched the plan. It'd been Kira's idea, but Scott decided to go see Derek himself, because he knew him better than Kira did. It was something Kira agreed to.

When Scott showed up at the apartment Derek shared with his wife, he wasn't sure what to think. Braeden answered the door, smiling at him, and let him inside.

"Derek's not here right now," she said, offering him a freshly baked cookie off a plate. "Ever since finding out about the baby, he's been driving me crazy. I finally got him to go do something productive. He's at the station."

"You think he has time to talk to me?" Scott asked, looking at Braeden. "I really need his help with something."

Braeden nodded, "Probably. What's going on?"

Scott shrugged, "It's nothing, really. I mean, it's got to do with Lydia."

Braeden nodded. Since Derek had been Jordan's best friend, Braeden understood what it was like to deal with someone who was in a slump after his death. Derek and Jordan hadn't been co-dependent - not the way Scott and Stiles were - but they had been close all the same. Derek had taken it pretty hard when he got the news of Jordan's death.

"Well, he's with John at the station. He more than likely has time to talk to you." A few beats passed before Braeden asked, "Lydia is okay...isn't she?"

Scott sighed, "She broke up with Stiles. She broke up with him because she still has feelings for Jordan, I guess, and she doesn't want to lead Stiles on or anything. Which, I mean, I can appreciate, I guess, but Stiles is a mess. And I figured since Derek was Jordan's best friend, he could maybe talk to her. Help her figure out what she's feeling on the inside."

"Scott," Braeden said, watching him closely, "I think it's a terrific idea, and I know he'd be happy to help."

-x-

It'd been a miserable four weeks without Stiles. Lydia knew that it was she who pushed him away, but she just didn't want to face the facts. She was moving on from Jordan, and even though she loved them both, she just felt terrible about it. She almost felt guilty that she was moving on without Jordan. Call it survivor's guilt if you want to, but she was just afraid of the feelings she had developed for Stiles.

When there was a knock on her door that afternoon, she groaned to herself. She really wasn't in the mood for visitors. She was lounging around in a pair of pajama shorts and one of Jordan's old t-shirts that almost looked like a dress on her because it was so huge. She had no makeup on and her hair was in a messy bun gathered on the top of her head. She knew she looked like a mess, but decided to open the door anyway. She was just hoping it wasn't Stiles.

She almost let out a sigh of relief when she saw that it wasn't Stiles, but since it was Derek standing there, all stoic like normal, she wasn't sure what was going on. Sure, Derek was usually serious, but the look on his face almost made her regret opening the door in the first place.

"Lydia," Derek said. "Can I come in? There's something we need to talk about."

Lydia nodded, stepping aside so Derek could enter the apartment.

"You're kind of my cousin, Lydia," Derek started, taking a seat on the loveseat. Lydia sat down beside him. She wasn't surprised that it was all business; it was always straight to the point with Derek. "I mean, my uncle is married to your mom, so that makes us cousins. But I think we have some kind of bond because of..." his voice trailed off.

But he didn't have to finish his sentence for Lydia to know what he meant. She took a deep breath.

"I know that Jordan was your best friend," she said to him, her voice cracking a little. "You guys were practically brothers, the way you were around one another constantly. I know you miss him."

"Just like you do," Derek said. "I mean, obviously not in the same way, but still...Lydia, Jordan loved you."

Lydia nodded, "I know he did. And I loved him, too."

"His last wish was for you to move on," Derek said, taking a deep breath himself. He did that whenever he felt his emotions getting the better of him. "Are you going to keep your promise to him? Moving on?"

"I loved Jordan with everything I had," Lydia said. "I would never want to make him unhappy. And I want to honor his dying wish. I really do." She sighed, taking a moment to gather the thoughts that were in her head before saying, "But this is Stiles. Stiles is Jordan's brother. I'm stuck in this place where I'm not sure where I'm supposed to be or what I should be doing."

Derek licked his lips before looking at Lydia carefully, "Lydia, I knew Jordan better than I've ever known anyone - well, besides Braeden, of course. Jordan would want you to be happy. Your happiness meant more to him than anything else ever did. Stiles told him once that when you love someone - when you truly love someone - you want their happiness over everything, even sometimes over your own. Jordan would want that for you."

"I miss him, Derek," she said, her voice cracking just a little. That's when he scooted over to her a little bit and wrapped her up in a hug.

"I know you do," he said. "I miss him, too. But you've gotta go on living, okay? It's okay to miss him, it's okay to go and visit his grave like I know you do every couple of weeks, but please...Lydia, please go on living. Honor Jordan's memory by living your life, okay?" He pulled away from the hug and then said, "Lydia, being with Stiles isn't going to hurt Jordan's memory. It's not, okay? However, what it is going to do is make your bond with the Stilinskis even closer than it already was. They already think of you as family. And you know that Stiles loves you. I know he's said it."

Lydia sighed, "There's more to it than that." Her own eyes searched his green ones before saying, "Derek, I'm in love with him."

Derek's eyes widened a bit in surprise, but then he nodded and said, "Is that a bad thing?"

Lydia sighed, "I don't fucking know. It just dawned on me that I do love him, and I don't want to hurt Jordan's memory."

"Lydia," Derek said, watching her intently. "You're not hurting Jordan's memory, okay? Moving on would make him happy for you."

-x-

After showering and doing her makeup and hair, Lydia called Kira. She was going to venture over to their apartment, to see Stiles, but she wanted someone to assess his mood first. Kira sounded surprised that Lydia wanted to come over, but didn't really say anything more about it. She told Lydia that Stiles was really depressed about everything, and when Lydia told Kira that she wanted to make things right, she could've sworn she heard Kira let out a yelp of excitement.

"That's great, Lyds," Kira said to her. "I'm really happy to hear you say that. Stiles just hasn't been himself."

Lydia nodded, even though she knew Kira couldn't see her. "I wanna make things right, Kira," Lydia said. "I want things to be good between Stiles and myself again. I miss him like crazy."

"And he misses you," Kira said. "Lyds, he misses you a whole fucking lot."

And that was what had prompted Lydia over to the apartment Stiles shared with Scott and Kira. Kira let her in before she even knocked like she was expecting her - and who was she kidding? Of fucking course Kira was expecting Lydia, after the call she'd made.

Lydia looked around the apartment once she'd entered, seeing Scott sitting on the couch, a movie paused on the TV. "Where's Stiles?" she asked. She was slightly surprised he wasn't out there.

"He's been busy with CoD marathons," Scott answered. "The truth is...well, we haven't really seen a whole lot of him lately. Not since the two of you..." his voice trailed off. Lydia didn't need him to explain, though; she understood completely.

"I'll just go to his room, then," Lydia said. She started towards the hall, but was stopped by a noise from Scott.

"Look, Lyds, you've been our friend a long time," Scott started, and Lydia nodded. "But Stiles, he's my best friend, my brother. And I need you to not hurt him any more than you already have, okay? Because the way that you broke up with him - Lydia, that just killed him inside. I've gotta look out for him."

Lydia swallowed the lump in her throat before nodding. "I know, Scott," she said, taking a deep breath. "I'm here to fix that."

"I hope to God you're able to," Scott said. Lydia just nodded.

Deciding it was best, Lydia knocked on Stiles' bedroom door. She could hear him rustling around, but he didn't answer it. So she knocked again.

"Dude, Scott, I just want to be left alone right now," Stiles said, and his voice sounded wrecked with emotion. Lydia started feeling incredibly guilty about what she had done to him. So she knocked again.

"Scott, I'm serio -" his words were cut off when he flung open the door and saw Lydia standing there. He swallowed visibly before saying, "You're not Scott."

She shook her head, "Nope. It's me."

Stiles nodded.

"Can I come in? There's something I need to talk to you about."

Stiles nodded and stepped aside so Lydia could come in. Once inside, she took note of all the soda cans, the pizza boxes and the dishes that were in his room. It looked like he hadn't left in weeks.

"Sorry about the mess," Stiles said, rubbing the back of his neck as he looked at Lydia. "I've been busy and not in the cleaning mood for a while."

Lydia nodded, going over to sit down on his bed. Stiles followed her.

"There's something I need to say to you, Stiles," Lydia said. Stiles nodded as he sat down a respectable distance away from her. "I should've said it earlier, but I waited and waited, and...I just think that you need to hear it now."

Stiles nodded again.

"I was in love with Jordan," she said. "It felt like he got me, like he was the other half to my whole, if that makes any sense. And when he died over in Afghanistan, I just felt like...I felt like my whole world had crumbled. He was everything to me."

Stiles nodded, but Lydia noted the look on his face.

"I'm not here to rub things in or to hurt you any more than I already have," Lydia said. Stiles' eyes met hers and she said, "I thought I'd never get over Jordan. He meant so very much to me, and I figured that I would never be able to let anyone in ever again. Not with the way I loved him."

She cleared her throat and licked her lips before continuing, "But then you showed up in my life, Stiles. You showed up and reminded me what it was like to have someone there for me, no matter what. Your whole being, your love...when it came to me, it was totally unconditional. And I threw it away. I pushed you away because I was afraid of what I was starting to feel for you."

"And what were you feeling?" Stiles asked.

Lydia sighed; It's now or never, she told herself, and decided to take that plunge. "I'm in love with you, Stiles," she said softly. "I've felt it for a little while, but it didn't dawn on me - didn't really dawn on me - until you threw me that birthday party. That's why I broke up with you. I was so afraid that I was going to do harm to Jordan's memory, that I didn't think I could move on. But recently, it's been brought to my attention that Jordan wanted me to move on. He'd asked me to find happiness, even if he died, and I realized that I was doing more harm to his memory by not moving on.

"So I'm asking you, Stiles, for another chance. Can we start over? Can we start dating again? I mean, I'm not going to sit here and say that I'm perfect; I'm going to mess up again, I am only human, after all. But these past four weeks without you - Stiles, they were torture. I love you and I missed you so very much and I really want to try again."

When Stiles was silent for a moment, Lydia nodded. She'd gotten her answer. She didn't want him to see how upset she was, so she just cleared her throat and got up off the bed. As she started to leave, Stiles reached out and grabbed her wrist.

"I needed a moment to come to terms with this," Stiles said. Then he grinned at her, "Lydia Martin, I'd be a fool not to try again with you. I missed you so very much, sweetheart."

Lydia sat down on the bed and pulled Stiles into a hug, "Me too, Stiles. Me too."

Chapter Text

"So you guys are back together again?" Scott asked Stiles a couple of nights later as Stiles was getting ready for a date with Lydia. "And everything's good between the two of you?"

"Things are great, Scotty," Stiles said, standing in front of his closet. He was trying to figure out what to wear. There was a nice restaurant that Lydia had wanted to go to for a while but she never had the chance to go, so, to surprise her, Stiles had made reservations and decided to take her. He almost wasn't able to make reservations, because the restaurant was always busy, but Peter knew the owner and was able to help them out.

It was then that Kira came in to see them, and she asked Stiles, "What are you doing?"

"I can't figure out what to wear. I'm going to a nice restaurant with Lydia and I can't figure out what to even wear."

"It's okay," Kira said. She glanced at Stiles' closer for a few moments and then started pulling clothes out. She pulled out a white long sleeved dress shirt,a pair of black slacks, and a tie that was green. She handed them to Stiles and said, "Wear these."

Stiles was a little relieved that Kira was there to help him. He smiled and thanked her, and then the doorbell rang. Kira went to answer the door and Stiles started changing his clothes.

If they were quiet enough, Stiles could hear Kira talking to Lydia in the living room. As he changed his clothes, Scott said to him, "I'm really glad that you guys are back together, dude. It's a good thing. You're my brother, and I'm always happy when you're happy."

When Stiles went out into the living room about twenty minutes later, he paused when he saw Lydia. She looked absolutely gorgeous. She was wearing a slinky royal purple dress, tight in all the right places, and her hair was done in an intricate French braid. Her makeup was immaculate and she had a black clutch in her hand. She looked absolutely beautiful.

"Hey, Stiles," Lydia said. She smiled at him, and Stiles almost melted.

Stiles and Lydia had agreed that Lydia would pick him up because the Jeep was in the shop again. Even though he had been having more and more problems with it, he refused to give it up. It had been his mom's, and practically the only thing of hers that he had left, so h didn't care what he had to do to make it run. He would do almost anything.

They left not long after, and Lydia drove to the restaurant. It was in the next town over, only about twenty minutes away, and there was an awkward silence that filled the car. Stiles hated it.

"How's everything going?" he asked, trying to fill the silence. "How've you been?"

"I've been well," Lydia said. "How about you?"

"Good, good," Stiles responded. "Classes are good and I'm close to finishing my degree. So close. I kind of can't wait."

"That must be exciting," Lydia said. "Do you know what you're going to do after?"

"I've been looking around at different restaurants and things. I just...I wish I could open my own diner or something. I would love to be able to work for myself."

Lydia hummed in thought.

Once they were at the restaurant and eating their dinner, Lydia looked over at Stiles. "I know I've apologized already, but I really am sorry about everything, Stiles. I know that I shouldn't have shut you out like I did, but I was afraid."

"It's really okay, Lyds," Stiles said. "I just want you to be happy - that's all I've ever wanted."

The conversation seemed to pass easily - just like it did when they were dating the first time. Lydia knew that she shouldn't have broken up with him to begin with - they were meant to be together. And part of Lydia wondered that if she had never read the letter Jordan left for her, would she and Stiles have ever gotten together?

That thought left her mind, though, when Stiles reached over and grabbed her hand. "So, Lyds," he said, taking a bite of one of his breadsticks, "what was that, earlier? I know you were thinking."

"Really?" Lydia asked, smirking a little. "Why do you say that?"

"Because, Lydia Martin, I know almost every expression you have, and that was definitely your thinking face. So what were you thinking?"

Lydia shrugged, taking a bite of her spaghetti, "I have no idea what you're talking about, Stiles."

Stiles sighed and then said, "It's okay. You can't keep this a secret forever."

Lydia just smiled.

-x-

"Lyds, I don't think that you should do this," Natalie Martin was saying to her daughter a week later, as Lydia sat in her mother's family room, in the chair next to the loveseat where Peter and Natalie were seated. "I just don't think it's a good idea."

"Why not?" Peter asked as he watched Lydia closely. "It is her inheritance, so she can do anything she wants with it."

"Mom, Peter," Lydia said, looking back and forth between them. "I think it would be a good idea. I've thought it over very carefully, and I want to do this. Stiles deserves this."

"You want to buy a restaurant to apologize to Stiles?" Natalie asked incredulously. "Don't you think that's a little...extreme?"

"That's not my plan at all, Mom," Lydia said. She sighed heavily before saying, "My plan is to buy that old diner, over on Second Street. It's been for sale for a really long time, and I know they will go down on the price if I asked them to. The diner's been up for sale for almost a year, and they haven't had any offers, so they'll probably go for any offer they can get. And even if they can't, you're married to the smoothest guy I've ever met." She noticed the look of approval that Peter gave her, so she continued. "I'm going back to school. To get my MBA. I can work there, and Stiles can work there, and until I graduate, Peter can help. In case you've forgotten he has an MBA."

"Why do you want to do this, Lydia? I mean, really?" Natalie asked.

"I told you. I've been trying to figure out what to do with my life. Remember, when Jordan and I first got engaged, I felt like I knew exactly where my life was headed? Well, I want a changed. I want to invest in this restaurant. Stiles and I can run it together."

"Lydia, darling, are you sure you want to do this?" Natalie asked her carefully. "Absolutely sure?"

Lydia nodded, "Yes, I am. Peter, you think this is a good idea, don't you?"

Peter smiled, "I think it's a great idea."

-x-

Procuring the building wasn't hard. Lydia was pretty sure she could do it herself; after all, Lydia Martin was an intelligent woman who knew what she wanted and how to go about it, but just for insurance, she took Peter and Talia with her. The Hales were respected in Beacon Hills; after her father died, Peter took over as CEO for Martin Enterprises, and Talia was in the District Attorney's office. They were both successful and nobody would ever go against them.

Peter was good at talking business; he was suave and charismatic, and could easily talk his way into anything. That was actually a trait that Lydia didn't like at the beginning of his and Natalie's relationship, since he could pretty much make anybody do anything he wanted, but he turned out to be a great step-dad. It was a good thing she took Peter with her; she could tell my look on the agent's face that he would've taken advantage of her, given the chance.

"So, are you telling Stiles about this?" Peter asked, as he and Lydia were walking around the diner. It was pretty old; if Lydia remembered correctly, the building had been in Beacon Hills for at least ten or twenty years. But the person who ran it died, and it had been up for sale for what seemed like forever. But when Lydia looked at it, she didn't see an old, run-down building; no, she saw an opportunity.

"I'm not sure yet," she said. "He's graduating from culinary school in six months, and I want it to be a surprise. Do you think we could get it fixed up by then?"

"I'm not sure," he replied. "We probably could call for some help. Do you want to get a contractor?"

"I don't know anything about these kinds of things, Peter," Lydia said. "I don't know what to do. That's why I'm depending on you for some help."

"Well, William is in construction," he said, mentioning his brother-in-law, Talia's husband. "I know that he could get the boys to help you, including Derek. Can Scott keep a secret?"

"Probably," Lydia said. "If I needed him to."

"We could call him, and John, too," Peter said. "They probably don't have a ton of time, but they'll be able to help you out a little. And you know that John thinks of you as one of his kids. He would do anything for you."

Lydia nodded.

"Let me make some calls," Peter said, pulling out his tablet to make a list. "I'll get started tomorrow morning. For now, try really hard not to let Stiles know what's going on. Try to keep it a secret, if you can."

-x-

"You what?" Allison, Kira, Scott, and Isaac were watching her closely as they sat in her living room. Se decided to talk to them, to see if they could help her out. But right now, they were just watching her like she was crazy.

"I bought that old, run-down diner over on Second Street," Lydia repeated herself. "I want to fix it up and run it with Stiles. He wanted something he can do after he graduates, and it'll be a fun venture. I have a good feeling about that."

"So what do you need from us?"

"First of all, I don't want you to tell Stiles." She looked at Scott and Kira, "The two of you can keep a secret, right?"

Silently, they nodded.

"Peter's got some plans. I don't know everything that is going on in his head right now, but he's my adviser in all of this. He's been running my dad's company since Dad died, and he seems to know what he's doing. He's gonna talk to John, and to the Hales, and see what can be done. Mr. Hale, he's head of a construction company, so Peter's going to talk to him first."

"And this is definitely what you want to do, Lyds?" Allison asked. "Because Kira, Isaac, and I can help. And I know my dad would pitch in, too, and so would Melissa."

"How do you know that?" Scott asked, looking over at her.

"Because, Scott, I still talk to your mom, believe it or not. She and I chat and we even have lunch together on Wednesday afternoons."

He just nodded.

"Alright," Lydia said. "I'm going to talk to Peter tomorrow about everything, and as soon a I know everything, then you guys'll know, too."

They smiled at Lydia and for the first time in a really long time, Lydia felt excited about this. She was looking forward to this new stage in her life, and knew things were just going to get better from here.