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nights like these

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She learns about the supernatural slowly, in bits and pieces. Late at night, she’ll get texts from Stiles, mostly inane updates on the pack. Sometimes little snippets like Derek thinks that a couple of faeries are passing through — stay out of the woods until the full moon. She never responds, but it’s nice to know.

During finals week, Scott hands her a crumpled-up piece of paper with information on pack negotiations written in his sloppy handwriting. They’ve been trying to work out the details of Jackson’s move to London, so it’s nice to know that he’ll have a pack there, at least. She folds up the paper and tucks it into her purse, just in case.

(Jackson moves the day after finals are over, and he makes some half-hearted attempts at calling every night, but they both know it’s over. If she’s being honest with herself, Lydia’s not as torn up as she thought she’d be.)

She gets emails from Allison every now and then, mostly pages from the bestiary that Allison wants translated. Or doesn’t. There are pages on mediums, on prophets and clairvoyants and psychics, and she translates them slowly, waiting to feel — She’s not sure what she expects to feel, but some measure of recognition would be nice.

(She just wants to know what the hell is happening.)

It’s slow going, piecing everything together, but Lydia’s got a mind for logic and as much free time as she wants. While everybody else crams for Harris’s chem final during study hall, she creates a map of different hunter territories. She stays up late to find out if the creatures moving through Beacon Hills are exhibiting some sort of pattern or if this is usual for the area, and realizes that they’re mostly just rubbernecking, stopping by via news of the recent events.

(She does send this information to Stiles via text, because, hell, he deserves to know, even if she has to figure out everything herself.)

It’s barely been a week since school ended when Lydia opens her door to find Allison, suitcase in hand, standing on her doorstep.

“I’m leaving,” Allison says before Lydia can even open her mouth. “Not forever. Just for a while. I can’t stand it here. Not with —” she cuts off, looking away. Not meeting Lydia’s eyes.

And Lydia understands, she does, because Peter’s still alive and still in town and still as much of a dick as he was when he dragged her onto the football field and bit her and forced her to resurrect him, and he’s still out there.

She’s not sure what she wanted to say to Allison, but what comes out of her mouth is, “I’m coming with you.”

“No you’re not,” Allison says, taking a step back. “Lydia, I’m sorry, but I don’t need protection —” She spits the word out like a curse and Lydia almost takes a step back. Almost closes the door.

But she’s Lydia Martin and she gets what she wants, and ten minutes later her suitcase is tossed next to Allison’s in the back of the rental jeep and she’s watching Beacon Hills grow smaller in the rearview mirror.

She expects to feel like a weight’s been take off of her shoulders, but she doesn’t. She doesn’t and all she can do is take a deep breath and watch the rest of the town grow smaller in the distance.

Lydia’s never been good at road trips. The backs of her thighs stick uncomfortably to the leather seats and her hair is stuck to her lipgloss because they have all the windows cranked down in the miserable California heat and she wishes she’d worn a lighter dress. She’s got two weeks’ worth of clothes in the back, because that’s how long she’d texted her mom she’d be gone.

(Not that she’ll be missed — her mom is on a business trip at the moment, probably flirting with the hot young coworker she refuses to bring home, and she doesn’t have a custody visitation with her dad until July. She’ll be good.)

They drive in silence, and Lydia doesn’t ask if Scott knows she’s gone or how long Allison’s leaving for or what her father thinks of the whole thing.

Surprisingly, it’s Allison who brings up the subject. They’ve been driving north for about two hours when she takes a deep breath like she’s about to say something, then hesitates, drumming her fingers on the steering wheel. The gesture is so Allison that Lydia smiles.

“My dad,” Allison says, and Lydia waits for her to continue. “He wants to get out of the hunting business, you know? He’s got some contacts — some stuff that he needs to wrap up. He doesn’t want me alone, so…” She drums her fingers on the steering wheel again, ducking her head. “I told him I’d be staying with Mom’s relatives up north.” Pause. “She doesn’t have relatives up north. He knows that.”

Lydia’s not sure what to say to that, so instead she asks, “So where are we headed, then?”

They’ve got a shitty GPS that couldn’t give them directions out of Beacon Hills if it tried and a creased road map, edges fuzzy with age, and they examine both before turning back onto the highway.

They settle into a routine — Allison drives most afternoons, then, as the sun begins to sink below the horizon and they stop for gas, Lydia takes the wheel. They don’t talk much, but as she settles into the passenger seat, Allison turns on the radio, and they spend the next few hours listening to late-night talk shows. Around eleven, Allison will start to doze off and Lydia will keep driving, glancing at the road in her rearview mirror and glancing at the curve of Allison’s face out of the corner of her eye.

It’s calming, in a way.

They drive north, then east, and Lydia learns that Allison likes to take backroads and shortcuts and that she white-knuckles the steering wheel on the highway and doesn’t ever go above the speed limit.

(“I got a ticket once,” Allison confesses. “From Sheriff Stilinski. He was nice about it, though.”)

She learns that Allison owns exactly one item of clothing that isn’t brown or black or grey and drags her into a tacky tourist shop on their next pit stop to fit her into a floral sundress and see her smile. It feels good.

They don’t sleep a lot — or, at least, don’t stop to sleep. The first time they pull into a rundown motel off of the highway, Lydia’d turned around right away. (“It felt wrong,” she explained to a groggy Allison. “I couldn’t do it.”)

Places carry history, and history triggers whateverthefuck Lydia has going on in her head. They manage, through a series of trial-and-error experiments, to figure out that old places are the worst — the very walls whisper to Lydia and she can’t make out what they’re saying and she wonders if her powers are getting stronger or if it’s the environment, because it was never this bad in Beacon Hills.

New buildings are easier, but they don’t have nearly enough money to drop on Holiday Inns every night — or, at least, Allison doesn’t, and she won’t let Lydia max out her dad’s credit card.

Besides, there’s something about driving at the road — just her and the moon and Allison. She likes it, likes drowsy early mornings with Allison buying her coffee and dozing off in the passenger seat, watching the sun come up. She likes this.

(Somewhere on their way out of California, Lydia’d turned her phone off, and when she checks it a week later she has fourteen new texts, all of them from Stiles. Two of them are from group chats regarding a coven of witches a few towns over, a good eleven of them involve something along the lines of ‘where r u?’, only with much more punctuation because Stiles, and the last reads, ok i get that u guys skipped town probably? only scott’s really worried and freaked and he refuses to text allison because of this weirdass thing going on w/ them. are u guys even alive out there?

In response, Lydia sends him a selfie of her and Allison in the car, drinking slushies bought from the gas station 20 miles back.)

June blends into July, and Lydia convinces Allison to stop in a larger city and stay for the Fourth. They spend the day dragging each other in and out of shops and she buys Allison a floppy sunhat and gets a pair of knockoff sunglasses in return.

They watch the fireworks together on a scratchy blanket and Lydia holds Allison’s hand because that’s what they’ve always done, right?

It’s been almost a month without any monsters, so of course it’s too good to be true. Lydia’s powers are getting better, in some twisted way. She can tune them out now, turn away from them, which is excellent, because they’re getting stronger.

She passes ‘psychic’ shops and can tell which ones are real. She knows that the couple sitting next to her at the fireworks show is going to get in a car accident and the girl is going to die and she quietly whispers to them to get their brakes checked now.

And this is how she knows that the man at the front desk of the motel is a druid, and that he’s planning to kill her. Of course, it would’ve been more useful to know his intentions before he’d held a knife to her throat, but. He’s muttering something about valuable blood and important spells and other mumbo-jumbo that Lydia honestly couldn’t give a shit about, because Allison is getting their stuff from the car and she’s alone and the only thing she can think of is scream.

So she does. She does.

And when she opens her eyes, the druid has three arrows in his throat and there’s a pool of blood spreading across the white carpet and Allison — wide-eyed and shaking — is holding a bow.

Here is what Lydia knows: Allison has two bows in the back of her car. One is hers, and the other she forcefully insists Lydia learn how to use. She also has two handguns and a small arsenal of knives hidden in creative places. She also has a copy of the bestiary on her goddamn phone, and she reads it aloud every night now.

“‘Wolves,” Allison says over a burger and fries at a truckstop one day mid-july. “Weaknesses?”

“Eyes,” Lydia says, because this is rote memorization. “Only vulnerable part of the body.”

“That’s true for pretty much anything. What else?”

“Wolfsbane. Silver.”

“Good. Faeries?”

“Iron?” “You don’t sound sure,” Allison says sharply, and something inside Lydia twists.

“Ally, stop. You’re being —”

She doesn’t have the words to articulate this, which is new for here. She’s Lydia Goddamn Martin and she always knows what to say.

But Allison lowers her eyes. “Sorry. It’s just — my parents used to — It’s how I learned.”

Lydia can’t really relate, because her parents never bothered to ask after her talents at all, but she gets it, so she shuts up and lets Allison talk. She drills her on hand-to-hand combat for the next ten miles and Lydia’s okay with that.

(The druid was first, but then there’s the mermaid who tries to drag Lydia underwater as she dangles her feet off of a pier and then it’s the troll that almost smashes the car but only dents the hood a little, and then there’s a demon who tries to take Allison captive and drink her blood or some bullshit and Lydia knifes him in the throat and then —

The point is, they’ve been getting a rep, evidenced when Stiles texts her coordinates and then giant roc — terrorized the outlying towns — was that you?

They’d shot it out of the sky yesterday.

yes, Lydia texts back. Then, how?

rumors about hunter girlfriends making a splash in the pacific northwest. didn’t take long to figure it out.

Lydia thinks about this and decides that she’s okay with that.)

July blends into August, and they don’t talk about going home. Lydia’s sent at least three excuse texts to her parents, who, as far as they’re concerned, think that she’s staying with Allison’s non-existent family.

They talk about other things, though. Allison is most talkative when she’s half-asleep, and late one night she talks about trying to kill Erica and Boyd, about blaming and shooting them over and over and meaning it, and Lydia tells her about Peter, about the way he’d manipulated her and forced her to bring him back to life and how she can’t stand that he’s still in Beacon Hills.

The first time Lydia kisses Allison, she’s covered in blood after a kill and shaking, but she steadies when Lydia pulls her in close and kisses her and when she pulls away, she ducks her head in that quintessentially Allison way, and says, “I don’t want to do this.”

Lydia jerks away, and Allison jumps. “No! No, no this, not-not us! I meant this, hunting. I don’t want to have to do it anymore. I just kind of — It sounds silly, but I want to be a normal teenage girl, you know? Cheesy romance and love songs and looking at the stars, not —” she gestures to herself, to the blood on her hands — “this.”

“Yeah,” Lydia says breathlessly. “Yeah, we can do that.”

They don’t drive that night, just sit on the roof of the car and watch the stars. There’s no moon, and all she can Lydia in the darkness is the curve of Allison’s eyelashes as she says, “I think that it’s time to go home.”

And Lydia decides that she’s okay with that too.