It’s Lydia that first alerts him that something’s up.
Generally speaking, he and Lydia are the only ones that make an appearance before noon on days after the full moon. Lydia because she’s a freakish morning person (he thinks probably his desperate, epic teenage love would have died a much earlier and more dignified death had he known she harbored such a dark and terrible secret), and him because…well, screw it, he likes making breakfast for everyone.
And Jackson can make as many snide comments as he wants, ‘cause Stiles totally saw the lost, forlorn look on his face that week Stiles was down with the flu and they had to make do with cereal.
Stiles’ pancakes…they are the stuff of legend.
So, it’s kind of become a tradition for him and Lydia to spend their mornings together when the whole pack is out at Derek’s house for their ‘time of the month’. They talk quietly as Stiles bustles around the kitchen, throwing together omelets, pancakes, and a full pig’s worth of bacon and sausage. They linger over coffee, discussing their classes and their jobs, snarking about the latest reality TV show, and just in general enjoying each other’s company.
He’s looking forward to it today more than usual, actually. Derek is two days into a five-day trip upstate to handle some business with his family’s lawyers and make some kind of obligatory visit to the Alpha of a pack his parents had been friendly with, and Stiles is missing him more than he’d actually thought possible. It’s the first time they’ve spent more than a night apart in more than three years, now. He’s got at least three more hours before he can reasonably expect Derek to be done with the lawyers, or in any mood for a phone call, and he’s itching for distraction. He hasn’t been sleeping well the past few days, despite the fact that he’s felt more tired than usual. He chalks it up to Derek’s absence, though (amazing how empty a king-size bed can feel when you’re used to sharing it with someone), and the extra stress of helping Scott ride herd on the rest of the pack during the full moon.
Lydia is lounging on a barstool at the island Stiles insisted be installed last year (he was entirely supportive of Derek rebuilding and refurbishing his family home to look as much like he remembered it as possible…but he’d put his foot down about the kitchen. He’s sure Mr. and Mrs. Hale were lovely, amazing people, but neither of them had had any concept of how to maximize the workspace in a kitchen. Counter space, people!), still in sweatpants and one of Jackson’s old Lacrosse jerseys, her hair shoved into a messy ponytail. He tilts his head as he walks into the kitchen, smiling softly. His crush might have smoothed over into a deep and lasting friendship—and honestly, he’s not an idiot…Derek is it for him—but he still thinks she’s the most beautiful girl he’s ever seen.
She looks up as he enters, her lips curving into an answering smile. “Hey…what are the chances I can get you to make some more of that awesome—“ She trails off as he passes her on his way to the refrigerator. She leans forward and sniffs at him delicately, sliding off her seat to come closer.
He ignores her, well used to such behavior by now. Someone is always sniffing him, or sidling up against him, and, on one memorable occasion, licking him (he’d been gone for two weeks, visiting relatives with his father, and the pack had been…adamant…about getting their scent back on him when he’d returned. He hadn’t been able to look Scott in the eye for three days afterward). He pokes his head in the ‘fridge, gathering eggs, milk, butter, bacon, and sausage. There’s one of those re-useable grocery bags sitting on the bottom shelf, full-to-bursting with quarts of fresh blueberries. Isaac had stopped at a roadside farmer’s market on the way back to Derek’s from his school yesterday, and presented Stiles with the fruit and a quiet request for muffins for breakfast. It’s one of Stiles’ mother’s recipes, and Isaac hardly ever makes special requests. Stiles is happy to oblige.
He hears Lydia take a final, deep breath, practically right next to his ear, and then a quiet gasp. When he turns back around, a veritable tower of foodstuffs teetering precariously in his arms, Lydia is just staring at him, a sort of stunned expression on her face. Her hands are up at her mouth, and he’s not sure, but her eyes look a little glassy. He frowns at her in confusion, glancing down to check that his fly isn’t open or anything, and in the process he manages to nearly drop the eggs.
Lydia darts forward, saving the eggs with those awesome werewolf reflexes…then shocks the hell out of him by immediately crowding in and practically snatching the rest of the ingredients out of his arms. “Here, let me get that!” she says, bright and cheery and helpful and his eyebrows start climbing towards his hairline.
Lydia…Lydia is many things. Many wonderful, wonderful things. But she is not helpful in the kitchen. He loves their early morning chats, loves hanging out with her over coffee, but she has always been perfectly clear in her assertions that the only part she wants in the preparation of a meal is the eating of it. Tasting as Stiles puts something together is also acceptable. Usually, he’s lucky if he can get her to hand him anything out of the refrigerator. Here she is, though, spreading his ingredients out over the counter before gripping him firmly by the shoulder and practically frog-marching him over to the stool she just vacated.
“Why don’t you sit down, let someone else feed the masses for once?” she says, still in that bright and happy tone, and he goes from shocked to a little wary. “Can I get you anything? Juice?” She doesn’t wait for an answer, just waltzes--waltzes…that is actual waltzing there!—over to one of the cabinets and grabs the biggest tumbler they have, taking it over to the refrigerator and filling it with orange juice.
And that right there shoots him straight past ‘wary’ and into ‘freaked out’.
“Yeah, I’m actually not that thirsty—“ he starts as she sets the juice down in front of him, but his protest stutters to a halt as she glares at him. Honest-to-God glares. And that glare…well, that glare had been moving mountains and parting seas even before the addition of the nearly sub-sonic growl in the back of her throat. “Hey, juice! Juice is great! I love juice!”
Nope, not an idiot.
She actually stands there and watches him as he drinks, her eyes never wavering from him until he’s drained every last drop. Then she smiles at him, wide and beatific, and she’s practically dancing again as she whisks the empty glass over to the sink. He sits at the island, drumming his fingers nervously on the surface and racking his brain for any way that Lydia—his wonderful, amazing, ball-busting-bitch Lydia—could have been possessed by the spirit of an Italian grandmother.
He tries a few more times to get up and take over breakfast preparations, but every time he so much as moves, Lydia is whirling on him with that same glare. And seriously, he likes his balls right where they are (Derek likes his balls right where they are), so eventually he gives up and sits there helplessly as Lydia goes about making the pack breakfast with far more enthusiasm than skill. He watches with a sort of numb horror as she proceeds to turn out pancakes, scrambled eggs, and bacon and sausage…all of it charred nearly black.
“Lydia, for real…how are you planning on even surviving after college? You know real life doesn’t come with a meal plan, right?” His eyes go wide as yet another rasher of wonderful, yummy bacon dies an ignominious death on the stove-top griddle.
Lydia shoots him a haughty look over her shoulder, flipping her hair in the same practiced move she’s been doing since middle school. “Of course it does…it’s called reservations.” She transfers the burned bacon onto the plate of similarly blackened strips next to her elbow. He shakes his head and leans his body back towards the counter directly behind him, where the coffee pot is always kept full and hot, with a stack of mugs next to it. He’s just got his fingers around the handle of the pot when Lydia is suddenly right there, all up in his personal space.
“No!” she says sharply, actually reaching forward like she’s going to smack his hand away from it.
“Okay, really?!” He flails a little, nearly toppling out of his seat before righting himself. “What the hell is with you today?” He’ll let the force-feeding (force-drinking? Can you force-feed liquids?) of the juice go, he’ll let the sudden desire to recreate an episode of ‘Worst Cooks in America’ go…but he’ll be damned if he’s going to let anyone get between him and his coffee!
To his surprise, Lydia looks genuinely distressed for a moment. The expression is fleeting, though, and then she’s shrugging dismissively. “Just…Jackson made it!” she says, all in a rush.
“What? No he didn’t. I set the timer myself last night.”
“After you went to bed. The boys drank it all, and Jackson refilled the basket.”
He wrinkles his nose, looking back at the coffee pot. “Ugh, seriously? I told you not to let him do that anymore.” Jackson has a leg up on most of the rest of the pack in that he actually knows how the coffeemaker works (Derek insists that no mere kitchen appliance needs that many buttons, and Erica claims it once tried to kill her)…but Jackson’s idea of coffee could strip paint. Lydia just shrugs again, snatching up the offending pot and taking it over to the sink to dump it out. “Let’s just make a fresh pot…everyone should be getting up soon.”
He shoots a glance at the piles of burned food on the kitchen counter and idly wonders if they have enough Cheerios to go around.
“We’re out,” Lydia says briskly. Stiles just blinks at her. They’re never out of coffee. Even when they’re on their last roll of toilet paper and the only food to be had in the house is a jar of peanut butter and a sleeve of stale crackers, there is always plenty of coffee available. There are four werewolves and one human in their final semester of college who are frequent guests at the house, as well as two werewolves doing online courses. There is another human in his final semester of college who actually lives here. They don’t run out of coffee.
He opens his mouth to call her on her filthy, filthy lie. Lydia just stares at him.
He closes his mouth.
Lydia beams at him again, and sets another glass of orange juice down in front of him. She pauses for a moment, just looking at him with that same weird, almost amazed expression on her face, before she leans over and just throws her arms around him, burying her face in the crook of his neck. “Oh, Stiles!” she sighs against his skin, and the happiness in her voice makes him smile a little, even though he has absolutely no fucking clue how he ended up in this Twilight Zone version of his usual post-full-moon morning.
She doesn’t let him get up from the counter until he’s finished the second glass of juice.