When Lydia showed up at Derek's house, it was three o'clock in the morning. He never would have realized she was there if his wife, Braeden, hadn't been so aware of her surroundings. She was a former bounty hunter turned private investigator and had learned a long time ago that not knowing your surroundings could mean death. She had awoken in the dead of night and said to him, "Baby, someone's outside."
Derek had learned a long time ago not to question Braeden when she knew something was wrong. A sixth sense, she had always told him, and Derek never questioned it. Hell, if werewolves were real, then anything could be possible.
Derek went down and let Lydia in. He took one look at her; the makeup running down her face, the fact that her hair was hanging limply on her shoulders and the little girl she was carrying in her arms, and Derek knew that something was wrong. He watched his sister for a good minute before saying, "Come in, Lyds."
He spoke softly, which made Lydia even more nervous. Derek was never soft, never gentle, unless something was wrong. Derek was really gruff on the outside, but when it called for it, he had such a wonderful bedside manner. That was the one thing that made him such a good teacher.
Lydia deposited the sleeping girl on the couch and then looked at her brother. She had tear tracks on her face, which meant she had been crying, and maybe it was the fact that Lydia had been his sister for the last ten years, but seeing his sister upset like this made Derek want to beat whoever did this to a bloody pulp.
"What happened, Lyds?" Derek asked her. He watched her as she sat next to her sleeping daughter. "You can always come to me. Is that why you're here?"
Lydia nodded, "Yeah. I'm sorry, Der, but I didn't know where else to go. Laura would push, Cora shows almost no empathy most of the time, and I don't like to bother Isaac. You know how Erica gets and I don't think I could deal with her right now, and Malia and I haven't spoken in almost an entire year. You were the most logical choice."
Derek nodded, "Sure. Why don't you put Meg in the guest room? Then we can sit up and have a cup of tea."
"Do you have any Saturday classes?" Lydia asked. "I mean, did I come at a bad time?"
"Lydia, you're always welcome here," Derek said. "No time is a bad time for family." He glanced at the clock, "Besides, I have weekends off. My schedule this semester is pretty lax and I only have classes three days a week right now. You came at the perfect time."
"Three o'clock on a Saturday morning?" Lydia asked skeptically.
Derek just smiled, "Go put Meg in the guest room, Lyds. I'll meet you down in the kitchen afterwards."
When Lydia came back downstairs to where Derek had two steaming mugs of tea on the kitchen island counter, Lydia looked at him closely. He handed her a mug, and Lydia breathed in the aroma before sitting down on a barstool beside him. He watched her closely with concern in his eyes.
"I had to leave, Der," Lydia said finally. "Aiden almost killed me last time, and he tried to lay a hand on Meg. That was not happening, okay? So Danny helped me get out. He got Ethan to distract his brother and he moved me." Lydia watched Derek for a good moment before adding, "Der, they're the reason we're alive."
Derek nodded. "So what are you going to do?" he asked her.
Lydia shrugged, "I don't know. I don't know what to do. I figured I'd come here and give myself a fresh start. Make a new life for myself and Meg."
"And I'm going to help you any way I can, okay, Lydia?" Derek said. "I mean it." He took a drink of his own tea before saying, "What about your stuff?"
"I left it," Lydia said. "The only thing that Megan and I have are the clothes on our backs."
Derek nodded, "Okay. We're going to get this settled. I promise."
After finishing talking, around five o'clock, Derek told Lydia to go upstairs and try to get some sleep. As Lydia lay next to her daughter, she tried to put everything out of her mind. She tried to calm herself down and think about the positives in their lives.
She had had a bad run of luck in her life. Her parents had died when she was eleven, in a hit and run. She had no other family, so she was forced into the foster care system.
Foster care was brutal. She drifted from home to abusive home for almost four years, until she was placed with Talia and William Hale. They were wonderful people, people who actually cared about others and were in this to help kids. They had two adopted kids of their own - Erica and Isaac - and then their three biological children. They also took care of Talia's niece, Malia, because Talia's brother Peter was never around. Talia had petitioned the court for full guardianship when Malia was just a baby.
The abuse that Lydia had endured at the hands of others didn't stop once she met the Hales, though. When she was sixteen, she fell in love for the first time. When she met Jackson Whittemore, she thought everything was in place. He was smart, handsome...and a douchebag. But, as Lydia thought at the time, two out of three wasn't bad.
She was wrong, though. A couple of months into the relationship, he started getting abusive. It started with emotional manipulation, which turned into emotional abuse, followed by physical and then sexual abuse as well. She was ashamed, because she had entered into her relationship with Jackson knowing full well that he wasn't the nicest guy in the world, but when she was eighteen years old, she decided he hurt her for the last time.
That's when she moved to Boston to go to MIT. She was the smartest girl at Beacon Hills High School, with her GPA to almost a 5.0. She also had an eidetic memory, memorizing things about four times faster than a normal student. With a degree in number theory (which, a doctorate normally took someone 8 years to procure. She had it in half that time), she had tried to figure out what she wanted to do with her life.
At twenty-two, with a doctorate under her belt, Lydia moved to Chicago because her good high school friend, Danny Mahealani, had moved there to take care of his father, who'd just been diagnosed with cancer. That's when Danny decided to open the center.
The center had been Danny's pipe dream all through college. He wanted to open a place where underprivileged kids could come to learn. It wasn't just a learning center, though; it was a place where they could hang out, a safe place where they were off the streets. Lydia and Danny had also helped a lot of them get jobs and apply to college. Danny had recruited Lydia to help tutor with math and science. While she was smart and could do practically anything, she was a whiz at both math and science. She had always known she wanted to be a teacher, so working at the center had been a dream.
For a long time, it was Lydia and Danny against the world. When they were twenty-four, though, they met the Miller twins.
As soon as Lydia laid eyes on Aiden Miller, she knew that she wanted him. They had dated for almost six months before Lydia got pregnant with their daughter. It wasn't until right after Megan was born that Aiden started getting physically abusive. His brother, Danny's boyfriend, Ethan, was the total opposite of him, and he knew how his brother could be, so he helped Lydia escape.
It was almost four years ago that Megan had been born, and, as Lydia drifted off to sleep, she knew that her family would keep them safe.
Megan woke Lydia up the next morning around ten o'clock. Honestly, Lydia had been surprised that Megan slept as long as she did. Normally, Lydia was an early riser, but since the fact of the matter was that she didn't get to sleep until after five that morning, she slept a little later than she normally would.
When she went downstairs with Megan, Braeden was flipping pancakes. She took one look at her sister-in-law and said, "Hey, Lyds. Hi, Meg."
"Aunt Braeden!" Megan exclaimed. "What kind of pancakes are those?"
"Chocolate chip, of course," Braeden answered. Lydia had a sneaking suspicion that Braeden made them because she was aware of how much Megan liked them. "The best kind."
"Can I have some?" Megan asked.
"It is okay?" Braeden asked Lydia. As Lydia nodded, Braeden said, "Sure."
As Megan sat at the kitchen table, in-between Lydia and Braeden, Braeden looked at Lydia. "Is everything okay?"
Lydia shrugged, "Things will get better. They have to."
After they finished their breakfast, Derek and Braeden offered to take Megan out so Lydia could go to their parents' house. Talia and William Hale lived out in the middle of the preserve. They had built that house before their oldest daughter Laura was even born, because, being werewolves, they needed a home away from prying eyes so they could teach their betas control. Even though Lydia wasn't a werewolf, she loved the fact that the house was out in the woods. Lydia liked her space, and even though she was plagued with severe PTSD, she knew she was safe out there.
Lydia cursed under her breath when she realized that, even though both of her parents were home, Erica, Isaac and Laura were also there. She got out of the car and put on a happy face as she went towards her siblings.
"Lyds!" Laura smiled brightly when she saw Lydia approaching. She put her two-year-old son, Tyler, down on the ground and pulled Lydia in for a hug. Lydia then hugged Erica and Isaac in turn. "Where's the munchkin?"
"Derek and Braeden have her. I need to talk to Mom and Dad."
Lydia was trying to ignore the concerned look that Isaac shot her way, but knew he wouldn't say anything. Before Isaac found the Hales, he had been in a very abusive home and hated any kind of confrontation. In fact, whenever anyone in the house got into a heated argument with anyone else, Isaac had been known to leave the house, shift into a wolf and just run.
While Lydia knew that Isaac wouldn't say anything, she knew that it was Laura and Erica she'd have to worry about. Separately, neither Erica nor Laura could leave anything alone, but when you put them together, they became a fucking nightmare.
"What's wrong?" Laura asked her immediately. "If you got Derek and Braeden to take Meg for the day, then it's pretty deep stuff you've got to talk to them about."
"Are you okay, Lyds?" Isaac asked after Lydia was silent for a couple of minutes. "I thought you were in Chicago."
Lydia sighed, "I'm fine. I mean, I will be. Meg's okay, too, and Derek and Braeden offered to take her for the day." She looked at her brother and sisters before saying, "I'm moving back to Beacon Hills."
"What happened?" Erica asked. "What are you not telling us?"
"I need to talk to Mom and Dad," Lydia said, trying to avoid the subject. "Are they inside?"
Isaac nodded at them. It was just then that Lydia was grateful that Isaac wouldn't push. "They're in the den. Or, at least, that's where they were about twenty minutes ago when I was inside. Mom's working on a painting."
"Thanks, Isaac," Lydia said, squeezing his shoulder. She dropped a kiss on Tyler's head and then went inside.
She knew that Laura and Erica would probably follow her - not that they needed to. Laura, Erica and Isaac were all werewolves and could probably hear her if they concentrated hard enough. As she looked back, she noticed that Erica and Laura were following her, just as she had predicted.
"Lydia!" Talia Hale was pleasantly surprised when she saw her daughter come through the door of the den. William looked up from the crossword puzzle he was doing and smiled at her. "Where's Meg?"
"Derek and Braeden have her for the day," Lydia said. "I need to talk to you guys." She looked back at Laura and Erica, who had just come through the door of the den and then stressed, "Alone."
"Sure, Lyds," Talia said. She gave Erica and Laura a pointed look until they scurried out of the den, even though Lydia knew they'd be listening. Talia took a seat on the couch that was in there and patted the cushion next to her. "Come, sit and talk with me."
"Sure," Lydia said. She sat down beside Talia and then looked at her and then William in turn. "I'm moving back to Beacon Hills."
"Without Aiden, I'm assuming?" Talia asked. Lydia nodded.
"Oh, thank God," William said. When Lydia looked at him, he said, "I'm sorry, Lyds, but he was bad for you."
Lydia nodded, "I know. I just...I was in love with him, okay? I fell for him hard and fast and I should've known he was bad. I guess I had a gut feeling but I just ignored it. After everything with Jackson, I figured that if he was evil, there'd be no question about it. I was wrong."
"What happened?" Talia asked.
"He tried to lay a hand on Meg," Lydia said, and she saw anger in both Talia and William's eyes. "I was not about to let that happen, so Danny and Ethan helped me to get out. Ethan distracted his brother and Danny bought us a plane ticket back. I didn't have a chance to pack anything, so I've gotta go shopping and get essentials for both me and Meg. I borrowed my clothes from Braeden -" she pointed to the obviously borrowed clothes, which you could tell since Braeden was a few inches taller than Lydia, "- and I washed Meg's clothes last night, so at least they're clean. I'm gonna start looking for a place, but I've gotta get a job first."
"BHU is looking for math professors. I remember Derek telling me that," William piped up. Lydia looked at him. "I know what kind of work you were doing at that center, and it'd be similar. You're one of the most well-known number theorists in the United States, Lyds. I know that you like teaching, and it'd be an ideal job for you."
William was right; Lydia liked teaching. She sighed before saying, "I'll think about it. But I'm gonna have to find a place to stay for now. I've got money put away, but I've gotta make it stretch until I'm employed."
"You're going to stay with us," Talia said, taking Lydia's hand in hers. "I know you like paying your own way, Lyds, so you can pay rent and groceries if you really want to, but it's not necessary. We want to help you this way."
"Are you sure?" Lydia asked. "I don't want to be a burden."
"Trust me, Lydia," William said, watching her closely. "You've been our daughter for almost eleven years now, and the last thing you've ever been is a burden."