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she saw the wolf

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She watches as Stiles drags the oil drum into the center of the clearing. He’s nearly silent as he works; the only sounds are the crisp California night, the clang of metal against rock, and the soft pant of his breathing. Lydia savors the memory of the murder as Stiles sets the oil drum down and begins collecting their supplies. 

She hadn’t been sure quite how he would deal with the act itself. She shouldn’t have worried. The minute she pulled out the knife, her chosen tool for their first trial murder, his eyes had lit up. He’d watched hungrily as she took their target apart, bit by bit, slice by slice. She had beckoned him closer, so that she could watch him as he watched her. By the man’s last breath, Stiles was practically thrumming with anticipation.

Now she observes as he pulls out the three gallons of gasoline they’d purchased with a stolen credit card. Once he has them arranged in a suitable line, close but not too close to the oil drum, he opens up the back of the Jeep, revealing the bundled tarp. Inside that bundle is the bloody corpse of their target. Their victim.

Joseph Breeden, the former fencing coach for the Diane Davis Girls School of Excellence. Lydia had attended briefly before her parents moved to Beacon Hills and enrolled her in public school. 

He was the first person to tell her that her looks are worth more than her brain.

She had been five at the time.

Stiles gathers the carefully parceled dearly departed out of the back of his Jeep with a grunt and hefts it over his shoulder. The extra lacrosse practice and the running around in a supernatural warzone have given him muscles, definition. He’s strong, and he’s agile. He carries the former coach to the oil drum and dumps it in, folding limp limbs and stuffing it in as much as possible. He unravels the tarp and rips it free with a flourish. Something about the angle of his arms and the glow of the Jeep’s headlights makes Lydia giggle behind her hand. She’s positively giddy. Glowing with success and the memory of the knife in her hand.

“And now,” Stiles says with an elaborate and sweeping bow, “it’s time for the final act.”

He grabs the first gallon of gasoline and begins pouring, taking care to cover the body liberally. He shoves one of the legs back farther; rigor mortis has only just begun to set in, so the limb moves as he wants it.

During their planning stages, they had debated for a while over how to do the disposal, what methods would give the most satisfaction versus the ones that would insure against trace evidence. In the end, fire was their compromise: They both like to watch things burn, after all. Plus, Stiles had agreed, there is a certain symmetry to it.

First one gallon. Then another. And then the third. There’s enough in the oil drum that Lydia can hear it slosh slightly when Stiles adjusts its position.

“Do you want to do the honors, or shall I?” Stiles asks. It’s the second thing he’s said since they got Breeden’s body into the back of the Jeep.

“You do it,” Lydia says. He got to watch her kill him. Now she gets to watch Stiles burn him.

Stiles takes off his gloves — Lydia is wearing her own set — and pulls out a matchbox from his jacket’s pocket. He flashes the head against the striker, creating a small splash of light against his face. He holds the match high over the oil drum and makes eye contact with her. She nods. 

He drops the match and jumps back, laughing as the gasoline fumes ignite and flames claw towards the sky.

 

---

 

They watch the corpse burn for hours. Occasionally Stiles will take a branch he found at the edge of the clearing and prod the flames, tending to it like a campfire. He adds twigs and leaves as the fire begins to ember. Finally, Lydia places a hand on his arm and lets the ashes settle. The sky is brightening already, but she grabs the flashlight from the glovebox anyway, just to make sure she can see clearly. 

She shines the light into the oil drum, inspecting the ash and charred bone fragments. 

“What do we do with the cremains?” Stiles asks. 

Lydia rolls her eyes. “You’ve been waiting all night to use that word in a sentence, haven’t you?”

“I admit nothing.”

“We’re going to take them to the nearest moving water source and dump them,” she informs him. 

“No trophies?” Stiles smiles blandly under her glare. He’s winding her up, she just knows it.

“Go get the damn container,” she says, ignoring his chuckle. 

He fetches it and their funnel, bypassing the glass jar in the backseat. Lydia holds the funnel steady while Stiles awkwardly tips the ashes and bone fragments into the wide brim. The shards of bone catch at the base, too big to fit through the slim cylinder. Once the ash and grit have filtered through, Lydia turns the funnel upside down and watches as they’re added to the cremains — remains. She refuses to pick up Stiles’s useless colloquial slang. 

She seals the container — it’s really just a economical sized coffee can with the label striped off and wiped of prints — with a snap that rings of finality. There’s no going back. Hasn’t been since they lured Joseph Breeden off the side of the road with blinking emergency lights and a pretty face.

“According to Google Maps, there’s a stream a mile that way,” Stiles says, pointing. 

“Let's get moving then,” Lydia says. Their last act before leaving the clearing is piling more leaves and natural debris into the oil drum. They leave it burning, free of their prints and with no clear evidence of what they’d just used it for. The only thing that lingers is the smell, and the teenage druggies who hang out around an oil drum in the middle of a clearing aren't going to pay much attention to that before chasing their high again.

 

---

 

They don’t even need an alibi. They’re not even suspects. They’re a hundred miles away, going to school and holding hands where people will catch them. 

The disappearance of Joseph Breeden goes mostly unremarked upon by the media, and the police don’t turn up any immediate suspects. Some of the parents of the girls he coached are looked at, but no one has a clear motive. The case goes cold quickly, with no corpse and no guilty party raising alarm. As far as anyone in Beacon Hills know, Lydia and Stiles went off for the weekend, as they’ve made a habit of doing every month or so. Just so that no one notices when they disappear to kill people.

As far as the people of Beacon Hills know, werewolves and hunters included, Stiles and Lydia have been dating since midsummer. It’s useful, and it gives them an excuse to be gone for hours at a time. They take care to always come back smelling like each other — never blood or ash.

 

---

 

They’re fake dating. Or maybe they’re really dating. 

Does premeditated murder count as a date?

 

---

 

Their second target is one of Stiles’s choosing, and this one is a bit closer to home. Stiles’s first psychiatrist, located two towns over in Rossferry, fell into the medicate the problem children until they’re no longer a problem category of practice. It had taken six months for Stiles’s mom to draw the line about the intensity of the meds he was on. She spent a lot of time after that fighting with the insurance company about finding him a new doctor.

The man — and their target is a man again; maybe this is going to be part of their pattern; serial killers have to have them, right? — had prescribed things no one had any business giving to an eight year old child. And he was rude to Stiles’s mom.

Stiles holds a bit of a grudge. Lydia isn’t judging. She murdered her childhood fencing instructor.

“So,” Lydia says as they look out at the park from the parking lot. She watches the last of the fall leaves cling to the trees that dot the park, trembling in the wind. They’re using a rental car this time, a sedan, paid for by a stolen credit card and verified by a fake ID. “Let’s go over it again.”

Stiles doesn’t even heave a sigh of exasperation. They’ve rehashed the plan, and the contingency plan, and the contingency plan to the contingency plan, five times already today, but he knows better than to argue with preparedness. Lydia has no interest in becoming some Behavior Analysis Unit flunkies' case study or going to prison. And if Stiles gets caught, then the legal system will lock him up and throw away the key without hesitation.

“We’ve made an appointment for a new potential patient to meet him at a public location, as a sort of get-to-know-you face-to-face," Stiles recites from memory. “It’s unorthodox, but something of a Burch Psychiatric Group special. Call was made with a burner phone paid for in cash, of course, and the ID and insurance info are fake, double of course. We have a gun,” he continues, patting it affectionately, “so we just get him in the car and take him to our little serial killer nest. Easy peasy.” 

“Don’t get cocky,” Lydia says.

“Says the narcissistic genius.”

“It’s a terrible problem,” she replies earnestly, and with flawless sincerity. Her eyebrows crease, and her lip wobbles. “Can you help me, Doctor?”

“An Oscar worthy performance — based on a true story,” Stiles says. Lydia smacks him. Hard. 

“Okay, there he is,” she says. She gets out of the sedan. The cold wind catches her hair and blows it across her face, obscuring her like a cloak. She hears Stiles open the car door and get out, slamming it closed behind him.

“We’re going to have to do this quick,” he says. She sees him adjust the gun underneath his winter jacket. His hood is already up. Good.

“Of course.”

She tries her best not to break character as she walks over the picnic table their target is already waiting at. Stiles approaches from the other side, slipping out of view behind some trees and working around the other side.

“Doctor Burch?” she asks, holding out her gloved hand. “I’m Elle Greenaway, we spoke on the phone?” The man shakes her hand with a smile. He opens his mouth to say something, but Lydia doesn’t pause. 

“It’s a pity you don’t watch much television,” she says, “or you would know that Elle Greenaway is a fictional FBI profiler on the show Criminal Minds. I thought it was appropriate, considering.”

Burch blinks in confusion, but his expression quickly morphs into one of anger. “What is the meaning of—?”

“Really, Doctor Burch,” Stiles says from behind him, placing the cold metal of the gun barrel at the base of his neck. “You’d think a psychiatry practice like yours would do better background checks before meeting with potential patients. You never know who could be arranging for a face-to-face.”

“Who are—?” the psychiatrist starts to say, but Stiles jabs the gun harder against his skin.

“Come with us,” Lydia tells him. “Don’t make any sudden movements or stupid attempts to escape. Don’t call for help. We’ll pull the trigger and just leave your body here for the police to clean up." 

Together, Lydia and Stiles escort Burch back to the rental car. The gun is mostly concealed, but they’re not particularly worried. Rossferry is outside of Beacon County, beyond the edges of pack territory and the casual eyes of the Sheriff’s deputies. They even used their stolen credit card to purchase a red wig, so that if a witness comes forward, having somehow realized that they had seen a kidnapping, all they can report seeing is a redheaded woman and a tall male figure in a dark jacket and a hoodie. When the police tie the alias to the stolen card, they’ll find the purchase and assume that the kidnapper isn’t a redhead with long, curling hair.

That had been Stiles’s idea; he was rather proud of it.

Once they get to the car and pop the back door open, Lydia does a quick check of their surroundings. She gives him the all clear, and Stiles uses the butt of the gun to knock the good doctor unconscious. He shoves Burch the rest of the way into the backseat and hands the gun over to Lydia. After securing their target’s hands and feet with the zip ties, he throws a blanket over the man and closes the car door. He goes around and gets in the driver’s side, buckling in and checking the mirrors out of habit. Lydia gets in the backseat with Burch.

“Drive carefully,” she orders him.

“What, like there’s a dead person in the backseat?” His smirk is nasty and slightly mean. He looks at Burch’s sprawled body. Soon it would be another corpse for him to dispose of.

 

---

 

(“Doctor Richard R. Burch,” Lydia had repeated when Stiles told her about his desired target. “He even sounds like an asshole.”

“You don’t even know the half of it,” Stiles had said darkly.)

 

---

 

Rossferry used to be a mining town, much like Beacon Hills, and the surrounding land is still dotted with mining shafts and abandoned machinery. There are even oil drums. Lydia grabs what Stiles has taken to calling their murder kit from the trunk: Fresh tarps, a set of knives, a baseball bat, three gallons of gasoline, the freshly re-cleaned coffee canister, a small bag of mountain ash, a small bag of rock salt, spare gloves, and a replacement matchbox for the one Stiles wasted burning random crap in his backyard out of boredom — all of which were purchased on a different stolen credit card.

They drive up to one of the abandoned mines. Even the stoners and partying teenagers stay away from this particular spot. Rumor has it that the place is haunted, and not in a fun way. Stiles isn’t worried about ghosts; mountain ash and salt have many uses.

They don’t bother with even what little set up they had for Joseph Breeden. Chairs just mean more cleanup afterwards. Lydia doesn’t deliver a speech featuring the highlights of why Doctor Richard R. Burch deserves to die; she hadn’t given one to Breeden either. She’s not a cartoon super-villain, thank you very much.

Once Stiles lays down the tarp, Lydia gets to work. Way out here, miles and miles away from any other people, it doesn’t matter how loud their target screams. No one is coming to his rescue. His last moments on earth are painful and full of unrelenting agony.

Lydia offers her boy the hilt of her bloody knife towards the end. “Do you want to finish him off?”

“You do it,” Stiles says. His eyes linger on her face, on the blood smeared across her gloves, on Burch’s face. Their target, their victim, has stopped begging and screaming at this point; he doesn’t even whimper as Lydia grips his hair and pushes his head back. She brushes the knife along his checks before changing her grip on it and driving the blade directly into his throat.

He gurgles, wind whistling around the blade. One moment passes, and then another, and then he’s dead, his eyes wide open and mouth slack. 

Stiles looks like he’s just witnessed art in motion, like the heavens have opened up, like nothing in the world could be better than this moment. It’s not the same as before, when he was nursing his juvenile crush on her. This is different. This is knowing. He knows Lydia now, the real Lydia, and he thinks the sight of blood drying on her dainty gloves is awe-inspiring. 

“I really want to kiss you,” he says.

Ask,” she orders.

“Can I—May I kiss you?”

Lydia smirks. “After you clean up.”

He nods, accepts it, and sets to work.

 

---

 

“The location won’t be a secret on this one,” Lydia says, gesturing to their rental. “These have GPS.”

“Maybe next time we should just steal a car,” Stiles suggests. 

“I’ll think about it,” Lydia says. She’s the brains of this operations; the final decision is up to her. She files the suggestion away for later thought.

Night has fallen in Rossferry. She wonders if anyone has contacted the police about Doctor Burch’s disappearance by now. Their little rendezvous was only supposed to last as long as a session; he would have been due back at the office over seven hours ago. 

“We should head out,” Stiles says once they’ve collected the cremains. Remains. Lydia refuses to add that word to her extensive vocabulary.

“You’re not going to ask for your kiss?” she smiles. She likes it up here; they’re far enough away from the town that the stars shine brightly over their heads, burning millions of lightyears away. Winter has turned the night sky to chill glass, making everything feel closer.

“You do everything on your own time,” Stiles says, shrugging his shoulders. He smiles like that doesn’t bother him. Maybe it doesn’t.

“That’s right,” Lydia murmurs, and then she slowly takes off her new gloves and pushes them into her pocket. She grabs a fistful of his hoodie and yanks him down to her level, so that she can kiss him without craning her neck.

He stiffens in surprise when her lips touch his, like between their fake dates and their murders he’s somehow missed that this was her plan all along. Maybe he did. 

“Let’s get out of here,” she says when she pulls away. She plucks the keys from his pocket and pulls her gloves back on. “I’m driving this time. The police won’t connect the dots on the stolen credit card for another day or so; we have awhile before it’s time to destroy the car.” She smirks at him, her boy. “We can have a little fun.”

 

---

 

Lydia applies mathematics to murder. She can’t not.

There are formulae that law enforcement uses to narrow down point of origin. The murders themselves would only give the cops two points to examine, which is too few to draw any reliable or even marginally accurate conclusion. However, they got a bit fancy with Stiles’s former psychiatrist. The maps and diagrams she draws up get a lot more interesting when she accounts for the car rental and the wig they purchased. Plus the location of the rented sudan they left by the side of the road and set on fire.

The odds of someone connecting the two murders are astronomically small. They shared no social circles, and their only connection to each other is that two children who were formally under their care in some capacity, years and years ago, are now dating. They lived in different parts of the state, had contact with different people, and the only physical feature they had in common involved their Y-chromosome. 

Still, Lydia has plans for her future, and they do not involve jail time for consecutive murder charges. She doesn’t take chances.

“I think we should take a different approach to number three,” she tells Stiles. Her MacBook is at her side so that he can prop his head against her thighs; he’s reading a book on hyena mating while sprawled across her bed. It’s somehow not weird.

“Sure,” Stiles says easily. He puts aside his book and rolls over to look up at her, pressing his check to her smooth skin. It’s a thoughtlessly erotic position, and she’s not sure if he realizes that. Maybe. “What did you have in mind?”

 

---

 

They don’t talk about Jackson, or what happened with Jackson, or why she and Jackson broke up a second time. They don’t talk about the future beyond their outlined plans for murder and mayhem. They don’t talk about either of their various prescriptions and therapy sessions. They don’t talk about school when they’re not at school, and they don’t talk about werewolves, except when they need to discuss ways of disguising the scent of blood and gore and death that undoubtedly clings to them after a kill. These murders, this tightly managed killing spree — it’s their form of control. Their way of exercising control over a world that’s made a point to deny them any. 

The whole town thinks they’re dating, and it’s sign of how much Lydia’s changed that she doesn’t care. Her social standing has slipped even further, but she doesn’t care about that either. It doesn’t matter to her anymore; she’s changed her course. Her goals are no longer the same. 

Stiles fits in with her new future; she hasn’t told him, but she has what she refuses to call a fantasy where they kill their way across the United States. She envisions them living in a cramped apartment in Cambridge, just off of the MIT campus, leaving all this supernatural werewolf bullshit behind.

Lydia doesn’t fantasize. She plans.

 

---

 

Lydia suggests what they both want, which is that they make Adrian Harris their next target. She knows he’s awful to Stiles, that he singles him out for particularly heinous bullying in class every day, so that’s one reason to want him dead. No one should speak to her boy like that. She thinks he’s just a straight up terrible teacher and that he’s an example of everything wrong with the American education system. So that’s another reason to want him dead.

Also, he’s creepy, and he dates disturbingly younger women of a certain type, and it makes Lydia’s skin crawl.

Another reason.

She likes what routine they have now, if one calls it a routine, but routines are dangerous. As much as she likes watching their targets’ bodies burn in an oil drum, before their ashes are collected in a coffee canister and dumped at different location, they can’t risk it. What they did to Burch and the rental car drew a lot of attention from local law enforcement, and as much as Lydia wants to show off, wants to show these little men and women with their little ambitions and their little victories how fucking smart she is, what she and Stiles can do, she can’t risk it. They can’t risk it.

She takes Stiles’s comment about stealing a car as inspiration as she plans the murder of Adrian Harris. They can’t risk what she wants to do, so she has to come up with something else.

Carjackings are rare in Beacon Hills, but they do happen, especially in the seedier parts of town. Especially with the crime wave that’s been set in motion by Peter Hale’s revenge spree. Stiles remembers seeing Harris’s shitty car at that warehouse rave last year, and Lydia hears from some of the community college students that he still goes to events like it.

So that’s what they do: they go to the party he’s attending, and he’s alone because they’d ensured that his currently barely legal girlfriend found out exactly how many other barely legal girlfriends he’s had. They wait in the shadows outside until he comes out, sober and angry about it and still alone. He gets in his car, cursing the fact that the town is too cheap to have streetlights properly maintained.

Then Stiles knocks on his window and points the gun in Harris face. 

Stiles and Lydia are both wearing ski masks, because it’s a classic and it works. He doesn’t recognize them. Stiles motions for Harris to roll down his car window, and the man does, his hands shaking as he turns the manual crank.

“Please,” he says, eyes wide and face sweating unattractively. “I’m just a teacher, I don’t have any money, I swear, you can have my car, it’s not even that good—”

He’s focused on the gun, which is why he doesn’t see Lydia’s knife.

 

---

 

It’s disappointing. There’s an investigation, and Lydia should probably be concerned about it. She’s not, because she’s smarter than that, and they intentionally left their cellphones at Lydia’s empty house, right by the pool. If anyone looks into her or Stiles as suspects, their matching statements and the GPS in their phones should be enough.

The deputies think that it was the parents of one of Harris’s barely legal girlfriends. They don’t know which ones. The Sheriff can’t dig up any witnesses, and the surveillance cameras in Beacon Hills are a joke. They have persons of interest, but no solid suspects.

Lydia and Stiles are getting away with it, but it...it doesn’t feel like a victory, not like the others did. She doesn’t feel a sense of accomplishment, of achievement.

From the look in Stiles’s eyes, he feels the same. Maybe it’s the lack of torture, or maybe the lack of fire. The look of excitement in Stiles’s eyes as they watch their work go up in flames. She’ll do better next time. Some adjustments and careful planning, and she’ll ensure that they get what they need.

 

---

 

The thing is, they both know who they really want to kill. It’s one of the things they don’t talk about.

They don’t talk about it, until they go to one of Derek’s little enforced pack meetings, guilted into it by Scott’s puppy eyes and Allison’s tensely pursed lips. They show up, together of course, and he’s there. 

Peter Hale.

He smirks at them the entire meeting, and once Derek is done with his pacing and growling and non-answers — once the so-called meeting is over — he sways casually close to them and smirks.

“Enjoying a little extracurricular activity?” he asks, and they both know, immediately, that he’s not talking about their supposed sex life.

Stiles’s hand tightens around hers, and Lydia’s heart rate spikes despite herself. They both flush. Derek growls from across the room, calling his undead uncle away from them. Neither of them stop shaking until they are in Stiles’s Jeep and far, far away.

 

---

 

“We have to do something,” Stiles says.

“It’s time,” Lydia agrees. It’s too soon, but that doesn’t matter.

 

---

 

Lydia has been dreaming about killing Peter since he dug his way out of her head and out of the ground. He’s always been in her plans, she just didn’t think it would be this soon. She’s not sure if she’s ready, if they’re ready, but they don’t have much of a choice; Peter has forced their hand, once again.

For weeks, he circled her sanity like the monster snarling at her from the dark. For weeks, he shredded through her roots in reality, her control, her confidence. She can still hear the crowd in the bleachers cheering, still feel the mud caking over her skin as she struggled.

She knows that he did something to Stiles too. She put it together based off of Peter’s whispers through her mind and the missing pieces in the police reports. She’s never asked him about it, though, just like he’s never asked her about what Peter did to her.

Lydia wanted to kill Peter in her own time, on her own schedule, but he’s ruined that for her too. It makes her furious. This combined with how unsatisfying Harris’s death was —  she doesn’t plan as thoroughly as she should. She gets sloppy, and maybe that’s what saves them in the end, the fact that he was expecting them to be better prepared, or maybe that’s what dooms them.

She rushes, and Stiles doesn’t slow her down, so maybe they’re both at fault.

 

---

 

The pathetic thing is, as far as Lydia knows, he still didn’t see it coming. 

Or maybe he did.

Lydia is used to being underestimated; she is. Her own parents barely pause in their constant, constant bickering to notice her perfect grades and perfect extracurriculars and perfectly cultivated connections. Her ex-boyfriend didn’t realize how smart she is until she basically screamed it in his face.

She’s used to being underestimated, but she didn’t expect it from the man who clawed into her mind and made himself a den there.

But then again, he probably didn’t factor in Stiles’s special mountain ash-coated baseball bat or one of Lydia’s experimental concoctions. They have Peter incapacitated and tied with wolfsbane ropes within minutes. Stiles ties the knots and tests the rope while protected by gloves, to avoid any aconite poisoning, and Peter watches them with sharp eyes. His stare is focused, but his body is weak.

“Guess coming back to life took a lot out of you,” Stiles says as he heaves Peter into the back of the Jeep. They’re not too worried about getting caught out here, since the only person who might come across them is Derek. They can handle Derek, even if he argues with what they’re about to do with his uncle.

Peter doesn’t sass anything back at Stiles, but he does smirk, and it makes Lydia uneasy. But everything about Peter makes Lydia uneasy, so she makes a note of it and moves on.

They take Peter to the opposite side of town, far away from Derek’s Boxcar Children reenactment. Beacon Hills used to be a mining town too, so there are plenty of warehouses to choose from. They have one already set up; Stiles hops out and seals the circle of mountain ash as soon as they pull in. Just in case things go terribly wrong.

 

---

 

(Things go terribly wrong.)

 

---

 

Stiles opens up the back of his Jeep, and even though they’d paused on the drive over to dose him with a second helping of Lydia’s cocktail, Peter has still gotten free. There are blistering burns on his skin from where the wolfsbane ropes touched him. Lydia can see them as he springs out of the Jeep and onto Stiles, bearing him to the ground with a crash that sounds like shattering bones. 

Stiles shouts, short and harsh, before kicking out and catching Peter in the stomach with his boots — specially treated with more mountain ash. Peter hisses and jerks back. It only distracts him for a second, but it’s enough time for Stiles to shuffle backwards and Lydia to get her knife in hand. 

Stiles draws out his gun and fires, but they didn’t have time to either steal or make wolfsbane bullets. The wounds heal as he gives them, barely bleeding before sealing closed and leaving only a ruined shirt behind. 

Lydia curses her lack of foresight as she darts forward, trying to slash at Peter while he’s distracted. He catches her wrist, wrenches the blade from her hand, and grins at her, twisted and sick, before tossing her in one direction and the knife in the other. She draws her limbs in close and allows herself to roll to an abandoned crowbar, coming back to her feet without any broken bones and a new weapon in hand.

She whips her hair out of her face and analyzes the scene.

Stiles’s gun is knocked aside, and Peter is crouched over him, one clawed hand wrapped tightly around his throat and the other on his wrist.

“I have one last bite in me,” Peter says, gripping Stiles’s arm impossibly tight. He can’t wiggle free, can’t twist his way out of it. Claws dig into his skin, slicing through and running slick with blood. “One last gift. I was saving it, just for you.”

He’s looking at Stiles but talking to Lydia. She edges forward, but she can’t get too close, not with Peter’s claws so close to some of her boy’s important arteries. If he squeezes too hard or twists his claws a certain way, Stiles will bleed out before she has a chance to act. She’s made plans for their future; she refuses to abandon them now, dammit. She made charts.

“No—” Stiles says, still struggling to get away. Lydia adjusts her grip on the crowbar and looks for an opening.

“Don’t worry,” Peter says. His eyes glow a sickly orange color, flickering in the dim light. “You’ll be the wolf I know you are. You’re a killer, Stiles. This will only give you fangs.”

“Lydia—”

Faster than Lydia can track it, Peter has Stiles’s arm in his mouth and is biting down. Stiles screams, long and drawn out and horrible, and he doesn’t stop fighting, not even when Lydia takes her crowbar and drives it through Peter’s eye and out the back of his skull. A perfect fencing lunge. 

The light fades from Peter’s remaining eye, and his body goes slack. He falls backwards, ripping the crowbar from her hand and hitting the floor with a sick thump. The crowbar clatters and forces his head to rest at an angle.

Lydia turns to Stiles, her heart pounding in her throat. Her hands won’t stop shaking, and it’s stupid, it’s so stupid, but she couldn’t handle it if anything happened to this pesky boy, this stupid pesky boy who reads about hyena mating habits while resting his head on her lap and who looks at her like she’s more than even she knows. 

“S-Stiles,” she says, skimming her hand along the torn flesh of his arm and fluttering at his pulse. He’s still breathing, and his eyes are wide and shock-y. His arm is bleeding, and there are small droplets of blood on the side of his neck, where Peter’s claws pricked him.

“Lydia,” he answers faintly. He blinks rapidly and glances down at his mangled wrist. “Oh. I guess he finally got to bite me after all.”

“You’ll turn,” she says fiercely, suddenly furious. She’s angry. She’s so angry — Peter could take Stiles from her with this act, could ruin everything she’s built her new life around. She won’t let him, not again, not now, not with Stiles

Stiles blinks at her again. She clamps her hand down around his arm, above the bite, and leans her weight onto it. She ignores his whine.

“You’ll turn, and you’ll become a werewolf, and you’ll call ashes cremains like a dumbass, and you’ll live,” she commands, eyes locked on his and mouth snarling. “That’s an order.”

He breathes for a minute, his breath whistling in and out. There’s blood on the dirty concrete floor, and blood on Lydia’s clothes, and blood on both of their faces. She doesn’t care, as long as he just keeps breathing

There’s no time for ambulances or emergency calls to the Beacon Hills vet.

 She has to rely on Peter’s bite, and that makes her even angrier.

“Live, dammit,” she snarls again.

“Okay,” he says. “Okay.”

He never could deny her anything.

 

---

 

Stiles opens his eyes and they’re a glowing gold that seems to burn through what’s left of Lydia’s control and consumes her. She grabs hold of Stiles and kisses him, ignoring the sweat and blood and faint taste of death. He reaches up and hauls her close, arching towards her as she covers him. 

“I’m a werewolf,” he says, his voice hoarse.

“You’re mine,” she tells him, and it doesn’t matter that Peter’s corpse is stiff with rigor mortis feet from them or that there’s dried blood on the floor. His eyes glow brighter, and he nods, as if he couldn’t imagine being anything else.

Peter said that he was giving Lydia one last gift, but he didn’t realize something important — Stiles has always been hers.

 

--- 

 

She’s not one for physical labor. That’s why she makes Stiles burn the warehouse down while she sends Derek a quick text, telling him not to worry about his uncle. She doesn’t tell him that Peter is dead, and she doesn’t tell him that Stiles is a werewolf now.

Stiles is hers, not Derek’s, and she has plans to adjust. She still wants that cramped apartment in Cambridge.