Since Allison left for France this summer, and Jackson off to London for who-knows-how-long (Stiles was hoping this arrangement was permanent), Lydia had started spending time with the pack. She still couldn’t even look at Peter--which no one blamed her for. Thankfully he wasn’t around all that much because he didn’t want to waste his time “hanging around with hormonal halfwits”, as he put it. So, Lydia became more comfortable with the pack and Derek’s new loft.
Stiles had begun spending most of his time with the pack and alone with Derek--Stiles swore it was to teach him nerd culture via Netflix--meaning he’d been at the Train Depot quite often, One night after watching some Firefly, a mouse had tried to make a home out of Stiles’ vacant shoe; it was the final straw.
“Derek! This is ridiculous! Why do you even live here? I’ve seen your car: you’re not poor. Why can’t you get an actual place to live, like an apartment or something like a normal person?” Stiles yelled after throwing his shoe across the platform.
“We need a place to lay low if something big comes into town,” Derek replied cooly. He was still nestled in the bundle of blankets he calls a couch.
“If you haven’t noticed, there isn’t a big-bady here right now,” Stiles said in a more inside appropriate voice. He sighed in the direction his shoe flew off into before stepping over the coffee table in a shoed foot, the other stocking and knocked on the wood before continuing. “It’s not like this place is going anywhere. Don’t you want actual running water and consistent electricity all free of rodents? You could have a heating system so I don’t have to dress like a damn Inuit whenever I want to see you…” he trailed off. Stiles plopped down next to Derek and hung his head in his hands.
“Since when is my living situation become such a big deal to you? Since you decided to spend time with the pack?” Derek asked as he watched Stiles closely.
“I’ve been worried about that since I first saw you in the woods by your house with Scott,” Stiles mumbled into his hands.
Derek managed to detangle himself from the blankets, got up, and walked across the platform in bare feet after Stiles’ abandon shoe.
Within a few weeks, Derek texted Stiles an address with no explanation.
Stiles replied: ???
When Stiles pulled up to the seemingly abandoned building he thought Derek was in serious trouble. What if some big-bad had him and set up a trap? Serves him right for mentioning how peaceful things had been this summer. He jumped out the jeep, ran around back and grabbed his bat. It was discolored in places and chipped. The missing chunk out of the top was from Scott’s claws during an intense game of Mario Kart. The long line down the shaft happened when Stiles missed the Omega that had wandered into town and hit the railing instead. Some of the blood was his, some Derek’s, maybe a little bit was Isaac’s. It’s all kind of hard to remember after Stiles hit his head off the hood of the jeep that night.
He ran up to the top floor and pulled the large steel door back. He was braced for Derek lying bloodied on the floor. Maybe Scott, Isaac, Erica, and Boyd hanging from the ceiling from electrified chains. Stiles thought his heart might burst from how hard it was beating. Even he could hear it straining in his chest.
“You okay, Stiles?” Derek asked. He was standing right in front of him, head cocked to one side with his dark brows furrowed. “Your heart is beating way too fast.”
Stiles felt like using the bat on Derek instead of saving him with it.
“What the fuck, Derek! You can’t just send cryptic messages like that!” He thumped against the door frame and let the bat slip out of his fingers. He bent over, trying to calm himself.
“You’re the one who told me to move. Are you alright?” Derek looked torn between standing his ground--maybe calling Stiles oversensitive--and fluttering about in worry. He stuck with concerned, yet aloof.
“I’ll--be--fine,” Stiles breathed out slowly. “Water?”
Derek helped him into the room, guiding him to the couch. Stiles half fell, half sat on it. He leaned forward, elbows on his knees and breathed. In through the nose, out through the mouth; in through the nose and out--nose in, mouth out. He calmed down slowly with this little inner mantra. When he sat back slowly and opened his eyes he saw Derek sitting on the coffee table with a glass of water in his hands.
“Don’t. I’m fine,” Stiles cut him off. He took the water from Derek. “Just don’t be such a dick next time.”
“Why the bat? Aren’t you training as an emissary? Shouldn’t you have better forms of protection by now?” Derek asked, looking at the bat leaning against the steps.
“Emissary in training, yeah, meaning I’m still new at it. Deacon won’t let me actually do spells yet.”
The tension in the room melted as Stiles heart returned to its normal pattern and he sipped his water. Derek moved to sit on the couch with him.
Three Days Later...
“How am I supposed to know exactly what they meant when they said ‘you will all feel your past and grief with renewed vigor?’” Stiles asked with minimal arm flailing. After their run in with that coven, everyone just kept asking Stiles all the same questions as if he would suddenly have some magically epiphany as to what it all meant and what they were after. "Who even says vigor, anymore? And did they even use it right? Vigor means like strength and liveliness and vitality or something, right?”
“You’re the emissary here! Shouldn’t you know about all this witch crap?” Scott yelled back.
“Emissary-in-training, Scott. I’m still learning about all this craziness! I’ve only been at this four months now. How am I supposed to know every little detail about every little witchy thing? Deaton has to do heavy research like every single time we go to him with something,” Stiles replied.
“So, where do we start researching?” Derek chimed in.
“There are some books that he gave me to look at. We could start there.”
After Stiles left to get the research materials from his house, the pack slowly trickled into Derek’s loft; Isaac, Boyd, Erica, and even Lydia came in.
Peter tended to stay away from pack meetings when the ‘humans’ were involved, but with their current danger level, Derek convinced him he needed to be present. Lydia sat on the couch; Isaac slouched against the wall near the spiral staircase; Erica and Boyd sat on some of the floor cushions; Peter sat on the staircase; Derek and Scott stood around the large metal “planning table of imminent failure,” as Stiles had helpful coined it.
15-minutes-of-tension-building-in-the-room later, Stiles called Derek to get him to help bring up the books.
“How are we supposed to get through all of those?” Isaac whined when Derek came in carrying two large, plastic tubs and Stiles one.
“We don’t have to get through all of them. We just need to get through the one that will help us.” Stiles said with a roll of his eyes.
“And what if that happens to be the last book we get to?” Peter asked, now stepping down onto the floor and over to them. They set the tubs down in the middle of the room.
“Then that’s what fate doled us, ‘kay? I don't appreciate the lack of positivity coming from you two,” Stiles said, pointing one of the plastic tub lids in Peter and Isaac direction.
Stiles handed out books to people: he and Lydia would cover the Latin texts, Derek and Peter would have the jargon-filled books, Isaac and Scott would look over the less-text-more-diagrams-and-pictures tomes, and Erica and Boyd would look over the rest. He explained that they should be looking out for things relating, but not limited, to resurrection, ghosts, grief, undead, torment, and the phrase renewed vigor.
The room settled as everyone found comfortable spots about the loft and got to work. The only sounds Stiles could hear were light breathing and pages turning. If they weren’t in such a stressed state and desperately searching for an answer to their most-likely-very-deadly situation, he might find the environment comforting. He knew Derek and the other werewolves were probably distracted by the stress hanging about and everyone’s heartbeats and breathing. These are some of the small moments when he’s very glad he never accepted the bite from Peter.
Scott leaned over to Lydia, asking her what one of the words he was reading meant.
“Tears,” she whispered back to him.
“Oh, yeah. That makes more sense than what I thought.” They went back to their books.
By the time Stiles walked over to pick up his fourth book, the sun was setting. The moon wouldn’t be full for another two nights, but glancing at it through the large wall-sized window, it could be mistaken for a full moon. It didn’t help that it seemed much brighter than usual. Deaton said that this month’s lunar cycle was being affected by some planetary thing, but Stiles didn’t think it would mean the moon turning into a spotlight. The whole loft was basked in cool, blue light within an hour of sundown. It was gradual, but now everyone had noticed something was up.
“Why is the room blue?” Erica asked.
“Why does the moon look so full?” Lydia asked.
“Well, it’s not or we’d know,” Derek said. “It’s not supposed to be full for a few more days.”
“Does it look bigger than usual to anyone else?” Peter said.
“Deaton said something about an interplanetary thing that might mess with the lunar cycle, which still does make any sense to me,” Stiles said.
Everyone had put down their books and headed over to the window.
“What do you mean mess with?” Derek asked.
“I don’t know, man. That’s all he told me on the subject. I’m not some magic eight ball of answers over here!” Stiles said, getting defensive.
“Clearly,” Boyd muttered behind him. Stiles turned around and shot him a look. Boyd just looked straight at him with a prove-me-wrong expression.
They all watched the moon as it seemed to raise higher and higher in the sky without looking any smaller. The blue tones it was casting all over the town were making the asphalt roads look they they were paved in glitter.
“Could this have anything to do with the witches?” Isaac asked.
“No, the roads always turn into pixie dust this time of year, dumb-dumb,” Stiles chided.
“I’ve never seen nor heard of any witches with the power to do this much in such a wide area. Either we are looking for a large and strong coven or something else entirely with way too much power at their disposal,” Peter said.
“Wait, you think there’s such a thing as too much power? The world must be ending,” Stiles remarked. Peter ignored him and turned back to the books.
“Why are we always the last to know what’s going on in this town?” Scott said, finally speaking up. “Are you sure Deaton didn’t tell you anything more?”
“Yeah, Scott. I’m sure. He mentioned the moon thing, loaded me up with books, and skedaddled to some family reunion thing which sounds more like cult meeting, knowing his sister.”
Most of them turned back to their books realizing that staring out the window wasn’t going to bring them any closer to finding an answer as to what was going on. Derek and Stiles stayed there, staring down at the town. They watched as cars stopped and people jumped out of them to look at the roads of glitter. People were hanging their heads out of their windows to get a better look at the moon. They looked both dumbfounded and awestruck with mouths hanging open and eyes wide.
“Wonder how this incident is going to be swept under the rug,” Stiles muttered under his breath.
“Like you said, some interplanetary disturbance. Nothing more,” Derek replied before shoving a book into Stiles chest. “Best get back to it.”
Stiles took the book and flopped back down onto a blue floor cushion. He flipped back open to about where he was and continued translating as much of the text in his head as he could. For everything else, he wrote down the words and worked out what they probably meant. Thankfully, he could understand most of the page he was reading, so he chewed on his pen for safe keeping. Nothing more annoying than having a pen one second and losing it the next. After he flipped to the next page, his fingers started drumming the spine of the old, dusty book. He continued chewing on the pen. He set into a rhythm of going through the page, word by word, tapping the spin with each sentence done and chewing on the pen--keeping him focused. When did he last take his Adderall? Chew chew chew. Tap tap tap. Flip. Chew tap. Chew tap tap. Chew. Flip.
“Oh my fuck! Derek, if that asshat doesn’t stop I’m not responsible for the shredded pile I’m going to leave him in!” Erica yelled to Derek.
“Huh?” Stiles asked, jerking up. The pen flew out of his mouth, across the room. The book slipped down his lap and thudded on the floor.
“Why is it I have to be here again with all these little tools?” Peter now piped up.
“Okay, I know everyone is stressed right now, but remember that we are all stressed. Arguing and yelling won’t help any of this. We can take a dinner break,” Derek said to the room in his stern, I’m-the-alpha-here voice. He set his book down on the window sill and turned on the light, melting the blue glow from the room. Once in the kitchen area, he opened the Mac sitting on the counter and clicked on the cookbook he’d compiled scanning in old family recipes saved in the fire, ones he’d found online, among other sources.
Everyone got up and helped out in their usual roles: clearing the dining table and counter space from the research they were doing, getting out the dishes and silverware, pouring drinks, and asking Derek what prep he needed done. Stiles put the books they’d finished back into one of the bins and organized the others. Lydia and Isaac helped cut vegetables. Boyd and Erica set the table. Scott set the table. As Stiles filled a pot of water for boiling after finishing with the books, watched Derek fluidly glide about the kitchen grabbing a cutting board here, turning down the heat on the front burner on his way to the spice rack, effortless slicing the meat.
They all sat down to a table with salad, pasta, roasted veggies, and venison strips with some special rub. Derek sat at the head of the table with Stiles on his right and Isaac on his left. Scott was down from Stiles. Boyd and Erica were next the Isaac with Peter at the end. Lydia was across from him.
“Hey, you can’t just live off meat, Isaac,” Derek chided as he watched Isaac put the fifth bit of venison on his plate.
“Wolves are carnivores,” Isaac retorted.
“Wolves, yes. Werewolves, no. You need vegetables,” Derek sighed out. “I’m not having a malnourished Beta.”
“But he needs protein for those growing muscles,” Erica chimed in.
“His muscles are fine. Now get some salad before I force feed you,” Derek said. Erica smirked at Isaac as he bowed his head and grabbed the salad tongs. Everyone tucked in--plates piles with food and drinks full. The conversation was simple and easy. No one mentioned the impending doom or weird mystical light show happening just out the window. They talked about school and assignments, funny training stories, previous moments of badass-ness. Derek and Peter kept quiet while all the teenagers talked and joked (sometimes with full mouths). Isaac was talking with Boyd while Lydia and Erica were talking to each other. Scott was stuffing his face and reaching for second helpings.
“This is really good,” Stiles said to Derek. “What recipe is it?”
“Was my grandmothers,” Derek mumbled at his fork. Stiles nodded and turned back to the chattering table. What’s his deal tonight? Pssh, what a sourwolf , Stiles thought.
“Is there any dessert?” Scott asked after all the wolves had finished their third helpings.
“In the freezer,” Derek said, motioning to the fridge with his fork.
Scott got up and padded over to the fridge with bare feet.
“Dude! How much ice cream does one guy need?” Scott yelped as one of the cartons fell off the top shelf. He caught it easily.
“One guy? If you haven’t noticed, I have a pack to feed.” Scott didn’t seem to hear him. He was too busy rifling through all the different flavors, trying to decide which one he wanted.
“Thanks for the food, Derek, but I’m not about to load up on dairy and sugars. Let me know when we’re going back to the books,” Lydia said, standing up from the table. Her heels clicked all the way to the door.
“Night, Lydia,” a handful of them yelled to her as she slid the metal door shut.
“Even though it’s still summer, I don’t want all of you messing with your sleep schedules to work on this. So, after dessert, I’m sending you home. We all need to stay at full strength,” Derek said, handing out bowls and spoons.
“I hate to say it, Derek, but you do sound like their dad,” Peter said from the table where he was flipping through one of the books.
“You’re not helping.”
“I’m just speaking my observations,” Peter said with a shrug.
Even with the light on, the room still held a tinge of blue from the giant moon hanging outside the window. Stiles went back to his floor cushion with his book. He left his pen abandon by the coffee table. Too much effort. Especially when reading was becoming a little easier with each page he finished. He wanted to get through as many of the books as possible before tomorrow, and since the whole pack seemed to have bedtime coming soon, he was kicking himself into high gear. Their conversation and clinking of spoons against bowls and teeth turned into soft background noise as Stiles set back into his rhythm, this time keeping his noise pollution to a minimum. He read through page after page about possession spells, hexed objects, and wards without a single mention of anything relating to their buzzwords. Stiles shut the book and let it flop down onto the floor with a soft thud. He stretched himself, hands reaching above his head, toes pointed down. He looked around the room to see that only Isaac and Derek remained. Isaac was sitting at the table with his laptop out, headphones on, and his hands on the WASD keys. Derek was on the couch flipping through one of the many books Stiles had brought over.
“What time is it?” Stiles asked as he stood and stretched himself out more. Derek glanced in the kitchen and then to Stiles.
“1:24. Everyone left hours ago. Speaking of which,” Derek shut his book and walked over to Isaac. He tapped on the top of his screen. Isaac shifted one side of the headphones off his ear. “Last round.”
“Come on! This one’s almost over. Can I have one last round in 43 seconds?” Isaac whined at him without looking up from the screen, clicking furiously.
“Fine, but then it’s straight to bed. I’m not dealing with you complaining in the morning,” Derek said. He sighed and walked back over to the couch where Stiles had sat down. He glared at Stiles feet on the coffee table, but sat down next to him without commenting.
“Find anything useful so far?” Stiles asked, turning the book Derek had been looking at over in his hands.
“Not yet. That volume seems to be focused on golems. How about you?”
“Mainly hexes and wards. Nothing to do with grief or whatever else we’re looking for.” Stiles leaned forward and rubbed his face quick and hard. “Why did Deaton have to take a vacation now? Leaving the newbie alone with major problems afoot! What could be a better plan?” He flopped back against the couch.
“There has to be something in what he’s given you,” Derek said low. He sounded tired and drained.
“Hey, man. Feel free to go to bed. The insomniac's got this covered for the night,” Stiles said, motioning to himself.
“I don’t think I’m comfortable having you hanging around my place unsupervised,” Derek said with knitted eyebrows.
“Whatever floats your boat, sourwolf. Too bad your whole pack is going to be hounding on you tomorrow about not following your own orders. ‘We all need to stay at full strength!’” Stiles quoted him with a puffed out chest and a comically serious frown. Derek rolled his eyes at him and lightly elbowed him in the side.
After everything the night Stiles had been kidnapped by Gerard, Derek had slowly started to lighten up around him. He even spoke in multiple sentences at times. He wasn’t sure if it was from pity or some weird alpha need to protect the defenseless, but Stiles was glad. Sure, Derek still scared the hell out of him sometimes, but it was nice to know he wasn’t all I’m the Alpha! all the time. Stiles tried to talk to Scott about Derek opening up, but he wouldn’t believe him. Stiles then became aware that maybe Derek was only open when no one else was around or paying attention.
“We do all need our strength, including you. Meaning you need to sleep,” Derek retorted.
Isaac leaned back from his laptop and took off his headphones.
“Did you win?” Stiles asked.
“Damn Blue Team’s pyro kicked my ass in that last one,” Isaac said gruffly.
“There there, buddy. Maybe next time you could play as something better than Scout!”
“If there wasn’t a risk of hitting Derek, I would throw something at you for that, Stiles.”
“Well then, I have no qualms about staying right here and insulting your gaming skills,” Stiles said. He scooted closer to Derek and swung an arm around his shoulders. Derek raised an eyebrow at him, but didn’t throw him off. “You seem more of a medic to me. At least that way you would actually be assisting your team instead of just helping Blue rack up kills.”
“You know, Derek does have good reflexes. If I threw this chair at you, he could totally dodge it,” Isaac said with a smirk. He started standing up.
“Aren’t you supposed to me going to bed?” Derek asked with his arms crossed. His grumpy exterior was laughable with Stiles’ bright and bubbly next to him with an arm around the guy.
“Thanks for the save there, Alpha-grump!” Stiles said to Derek with a pat on his shoulder after Isaac had retreated to his room, laptop in tow.
“I wasn’t saving your ass. I was saving my furniture from unnecessary damages,” Derek said with a smirk. He leaned forward to pick up another book off the coffee table. Stiles arm stayed up on the back of the couch behind him. He watched Derek follow along the text with his middle finger. He watched long enough to watch his fingers curl around the corner and flip the page and start ghosting his finger down the next.
"Are you going to continue looking through the books or are you just going to stare at me?" Derek asked without stopping his reading.
"Oh, uh, yeah," Stiles muttered while jolting up to get his book. Somehow, he stepped on his own sock when he stood, tripping himself. In his flailing, he somehow caught himself. His hand had landing on Derek’s upper inner thigh. Derek had his hands out like he was just about to pounce to prevent him from face planting on the coffee table, which didn’t seem necessary since Stiles practically landed on top of him. Their faces were only about six inches away from each other. They were both frozen like that for a moment. Derek’s mouth parted slightly as if to say something, but seemed to think better of it and closed his mouth. Stiles blinked and started to worrying at his lip.
Derek’s gaze shot to the staircase.
“Isaac? ” Derek asked. Stiles righted himself, both feet on the ground and brushed his clothes smooth before stepping over to the stairs. Derek followed him.
“Buddy? You okay?” Stiles called as he climbed the stairs. More thudding came from upstairs. Stiles and Derek both bolted up the stairs and run down the hall to Isaac’s door. Derek didn’t even pause before opening it, eyes glowing red and claws at the ready.
Isaac was cowering in the corner next to his metal bedside table. Stiles gaped when it looked to where Isaac’s eyes were transfixed. Standing next to the dresser was someone who shouldn't be there--shouldn’t be anywhere.
“I’m not gunna hurt you, son,” Mr. Lahey whispered with a hand outstretched to Isaac. Derek put himself in between Isaac and his father and a growl rumbled in his chest. Stiles jumped over Isaac’s bed and knelt next to him, putting a supportive hand on his knee.
“Aren’t you dead?” Stiles blurted out.
“What does that have to do with anything? Isaac, come here!” Mr. Lahey yelled.
“Calm down,” Derek growled at him. Mr. Lahey finally looked properly at Derek. Stiles watched as he noticed the claws and the fangs and the hair and the eyes. He stepped back, bumping the dresser. A lacrosse ball rolled off it and bounced when it hit the floor.
“W-what are you?” he managed to stammer out.
“I could ask you the same thing,” Derek bit out. “You died almost a year ago and yet here you are, torturing your son again.”
“What are you talking about? I was out looking for him and ended up here! We were discussing his grades when he ran out of the house like a lunatic. Why did he come here? Who are you people?” Mr. Lahey rambled out. He looked back at Isaac only to see Stiles obscuring his view with his body. He could see Isaac’s hand wrapped around his arm. “Isaac, let’s go home.”
“Well, this is awkward,” Stile stated simply. Derek turned to give him a glare. “What? It is! Abusive father back from the grave tries to convince pack he’s not abusive so he can abuse some more--what’s not awkward about that?” Isaac gripped tighter on Stiles arm. He turned to look back at him and put his spare hand on Isaac’s before giving it a squeeze.
“How did this--how did he…?” Isaac whispered to himself.
“Probably what the witches were talking about,” Derek supplied. He was still facing Mr. Lahey, who seemed to be warring with himself as to whether he should try to get to Isaac or hide in the corner away from the animal-like man in front of him.
Stiles lead Mr. Lahey downstairs and made him sit on the couch. He didn’t seem to enjoy following orders from a teenager, but Derek’s show seemed to convince him to not misbehave. Stiles texted the pack, save Isaac and Derek, saying, “Abusive ghost emergency at the loft. Get here now.” It’s a good thing Dad never checks my messages , he thought to himself after he hit send. Derek came down the stairs and walked over to the table where Stiles was passing.
“I got him calmed down. He’s trying to sleep,” Derek said under his breath.
“I have a feeling that’s not going to be happening anytime soon. Especially since he can probably hear us,” Stiles whispered back. He leaned forward on the table and ran his hands through his hair. It was getting long; in the shower, his bangs reached just above his eyebrows. Derek leaned forward on his palms.
“I’m going to rip that coven apart,” he said, glowering.
“We need to find out how to get him out of here before that. Dead witches don’t always mean dead magic,” Stiles supplied with a sigh.
The pack arrived within ten minutes. Each person looked at Mr. Lahey with shock and confusion when they opened the door, except for Lydia. Lydia’s face went blank when she opened the door. Her heels lightly clicked on the floor as she slowly stepped over to him. When she reached the coffee table, she bent down and tilted her head at him. He looked at her with confusion, glanced at Derek, and then back to her. Peter stepped in the door, which she had left open, and closed it behind himself.
“Sense anything?” he asked her. It was the first time Stiles has ever heard him address her directly. Since Peter attacked her, they never even looked in the direction of each other, let alone communicated. She squinted her eyes at Mr. Lahey and extended a hand to him, as if for him to take it. He looked around at everyone for some guidance. No one moved. He hesitantly put out his hand and let it hover above hers. Their hands looked translucent in the blue light coming in through the window. The whole room buzzed with the silence as the two stayed there, motionless. Peter slowly walked closer to them from the door.
“Lydia, what do you make of him?” he asked her in an almost whisper.
“He feels wrong,” she whispered back. Thankfully for Stiles, the quietness of the loft meant he could he actually hear what they were saying.
“How so?” He reached out and slowly pushed Lydia’s hand back down to her side. She finally took her eyes off Mr. Lahey to look at Peter.
“He isn’t there, but he is. He doesn’t belong here,” she turned her head back to him and raised her arm again. Mr. Lahey was starting to look more angry than frightened.
“What are you talking about, young lady?” he asked, raising his voice.
She grabbed his hand and dug her fingernails into his skin. Her mouth opened as if she were let out a scream, her eyes screwed shut, but no sound came out. Mr. Lahey tried to cover his ears, but couldn’t get out from her grasp. The betas, aside from Peter, all stepped forward to do...something, anything, help somehow. Peter held a hand up to them as he took a step back from Lydia. When they all stopped he pointed to where Lydia and Mr. Lahey’s hands met. Stiles stepped closer to see what he wanted them to notice. Where Lydia’s nails were digging in there are blackness. With each passing second the black seemed to spread faster and faster up his arm. Lydia grabbed the hand on his ear and dug in. The blackness began and spread. Stiles though it looked like the black bile Gerard had coughed up a couple months ago, but this seemed less liquid and more smokey. It overtook both his arms, went down his torso and abdomen, wrapped around his legs and ankles, and over his feet. All the was left in view was his face. Lydia closed her mouth, opened her eyes, and took her hands away before leaning forward and pressing a small kiss to the top of his head. She jolted back. She would have fallen if Peter hadn’t caught her. She looked around, panicked. They turned back to Mr. Lahey to watch the black smoke swirl over his body and his face until he was no longer in sight. It turned itself into a maelstrom with the mouth where his chest should be. It swirled into itself, becoming smaller and smaller with every rotation until there was nothing left but an empty couch. Lydia opened her mouth again, and this time a scream did come out. Everyone covered their ears save Peter whose arms were currently keeping Lydia upright.
She collapsed in Peter’s arms when she had finally finished. Slowly, everyone stood and uncovered their ears.
“What the hell was that?” Scott asked the room Erica shook her head while Derek and Stiles both looked to Peter.
“Why do you always think I have the answers?” Peter asked them while he laid Lydia on the couch where Mr. Lahey had but mere seconds ago.
“Oh, I don’t know. Maybe because every time something happens in this town you always know more than you let on,” Stiles offered.
“I don’t know anything about ghosts or apparitions,” Peter said with a sigh.
“But you do know what’s going on with her,” Derek said, stepping forward and motioning to the couch. “What is she?”
“Do you really need me to say it? With that scream I thought you’d all know in an instant. Guess I’ve started thinking to highly of all of you,” Peter said, feigning disappointment.
“Are you kidding me?” Stiles said rather loudly. “There are werewolves, I can cope with that, but banshees? Are you serious?” He swung his hands out wide while talking, almost hitting Scott.
“Stiles, you never do disappoint,” Peter said. He flashed a quick smirk at him.
“That doesn’t make any sense. Banshees are incredibly rare and usually don’t fully develop into their abilities,” Derek muttered.
“Why do you think I bit her, Derek? She was my insurance policy. Sparking a banshee is a pretty foolproof way to make sure you don’t stay dead.” Peter sauntered past Derek to the fridge to take out a bottle of water. “Especially when she happens to be a malleable teenager no one will listen to.” He throws a pointed look to Scott and Stiles.
“Anyone care to explain to the rest of us what a banshee is exactly?” Boyd asked.
“Banshees are linked with death. They can sense when someone is about to die. They hear voices in their heads, whispers of the dead,” Derek explained, arms crossed.
“Don’t forget all the screaming,” Stiles interjected. “If they actually do that, of course. Although, knowing Lydia, I’m pretty sure screaming is a part of it.”
“You’d be right on that part. It’s how the banshees relieve the tension from all the noises and feelings. They feel the need to scream,” Peter added.
“I guess that makes sense with how many bodies she’s found,” Erica joined in.
“Lydia is sleeping. She seems to be fine. We can continue this conversation later. We have some bigger things to worry about at the moment,” Derek said, motioning to the window. “Peter, go get the family records. They might help.”
Everyone lost their tensed stances and wandered back to their researching. Stiles found his pen and began caressing the lines as he skimmed past them. It didn’t take much for his mind to lose track of his reading and instead focus on Lydia. All the times she had found a body, seemed a little off--it wasn’t just stress or all the traumatic things they had gone through. It was something real, tangible happening to her. All because of Peter. Stiles flung the pen away from himself and sat up. How could they expect him to focus right now? Stiles threw down his book and stood up a little too fast. Derek's head snapped up as he did, meeting his eyes. His brows were questioning.
"Just need to go check on Lydia," he mumbled. Only the wolves in the room could have heard him, but he doesn't think anyone would care. They took breaks all too often during research. Why couldn't he?
As he climbed up the spiral steps it felt like his feet weren't beneath him. They carried him in front of Derek's door, but he didn't tell them to take him there. His knees weren't obeying either as he slid down the wood to sit on the floor. They didn't listen to him when he insisted they check on Lydia. His knees just pulled themselves against his chest and his arms joined in the let's-ignore-Stiles game as the held his disobedient knees to his chest. Stiles rested his head on them.
What am I supposed to do? I only just started learning magic and now everyone expects me to--what? To fix everything? Have every answer? A person came back. I'm not a fucking necromancer! And this moon thing? And Lydia? And hell, even Peter?
He knocked his head back against Derek's door and unfocused his eyes on the metal pipes hanging from the ceiling. I'm only 17. He gripped his jeans tightly. The texture of the fabric kept him focused. He banged his head again, a little lighter. No need to concern the super-hearers. He let out a shaky breath. Get up. Go check on her. He didn't move. Come on! You can't just sit here! He blinked slowly, eyes still unfocused. It doesn't matter what you're going through. They need you! Stiles squeezed his eyes shut and bent his head down again. He could feel the coldness of the fabric as it wicked up his tears from his cheeks. Get up.
In one fluid motion, Stiles was on his feet. He pulled his sleeves over his hands and scrubbed his face dry before walking down the hall, opening the door, and stepping in. Lydia was laying awkwardly on the bed--clear she didn't put herself there. Stiles gently sat on the bed next to her. He counted out his breathing. He reached to take her hand. When they touched, all Stiles felt was cold. If he didn't know better, he'd think she was dead. Lydia shot up fast, toppling Stiles off of the bed.
"Whoa! Lydia!" he managed to get out as they fell onto the floor. "What's going on?"
Her eyes looked blank. She got up slowly and tried to smooth her skirt back into place. "Um," Lydia said. She looked around the room, then down at Stiles. "Uh, sorry. I just..." She put her hand to her head and squeezed her eyes shut.
"What is it? You getting spirit vibes again or something?" Stiles asked, his voice a little shaky.
"I don't," she started. "How did I get up here? Last I knew Isaac's dad was here. Is that right? How could he be here? I thought he was dead?" Her eyes sharpened and pierced Stiles for answers.
"You might want to sit down for this one," he said. He sat on the bed next to her. "So, you screamed at Isaac's dad's spirit or whatever and he vanished. It hurt all the werewolves ears pretty bad. Peter caught you as you collapsed. Isaac brought you up here." Lydia shuddered. She felt sick. She wasn't only losing control of herself again, but Peter has touched her. Stiles put a hand on her knee.
"So, screaming is my secret power or something?" she asked with an air of indifference. Stiles knew better.
"Have you heard of any supernatural...uh, beings that using screaming?" Stiles probed. Lydia looked him straight on.
"I'd rather you just tell me what you know rather than worm it out of you, Stiles."
"Turns out Peter knew all along what you are."
"Big shocker there." Lydia rolled her eyes.
"You're a banshee."