It was a lovely evening, Lydia thought. Tomorrow was her birthday and given the fact that spring break had started already, it would have been such a wonderful way to begin it; if not for the fact that in the past two weeks a number of weird accidents, animal killings and two cases of clear-cut homicide happened in the vicinity around Beacon Hills. Ever since Scott, Stiles and Allison had undergone the sacrificial ritual, they all have been dreading for something like this to happen.
The mark of the supernatural was obvious. Forensic reports were unable to name the animals which had ripped apart three grown men and two children in two weeks without being seen by anyone. Stiles’ father had even let the werewolves and Allison’s father take a look at the crime scenes. Eventually, Stiles had convinced him to let her have a look, to see if she sensed anything. That had not been the case, but the twins, Isaac and Scott agreed that it was not an animal. It was not another werewolf either. That was all they knew. Neither of them could make sense of what exactly it was they smelled at the crime scenes: just that it was not something natural.
Without more details, Deaton was not able to give them any information as to what might be responsible. Stiles and Scott decided that they needed help from a more experienced werewolf. Since nobody wanted to ask Peter, they had decided to use spring break and look for Derek and Cora. While both had nothing to do with the ritual, they all hoped the two remaining Hale siblings would come back and help if that meant saving innocent lives.
In light of the body count that stacked up around town, Sheriff Stilinski had decided to issue a curfew. Now that he knew about werewolves and Beacon Hills being an actual beacon for supernatural things, he was overlooking that the Twins, Isaac and Allison were driving around visiting the last crime scene. Being the only one with parents who were out of the loop, Lydia had to stay home.
She understood her parents. After all that had happened to her, getting torn up by a crazy alpha werewolf, then nearly being strangled to death by a deranged teacher who was actually a dark druid, they were worried. Lydia's parents did not even know what had happened to her in between those events. She had been too smart to tell anyone that she was hearing voices: one voice to make that more precise. It had been real, but it had felt like she was going crazy at the time.
In hindsight, as surreal as this experience had been, it had been even stranger to have Peter hang around. He was giving advice, making comments and everyone was fine with it, like nothing bad had ever happened. Even she had not said anything against him; and she had the distinct feeling, that Peter knew more about everything that was going on than he told them.
He had been helpful, that much was true, but Lydia had not forgotten what Peter had put her through. Yet, she felt someone should ask him about the ongoing events. He knew things that Derek did not. Since Lydia was not willing to ask herself, she thought she could hardly ask the others. Besides, Peter's interest so far had been primarily focused on getting Derek and Cora alive out of the last situation. Who knew if he was even willing to lift a finger or share knowledge when it came to anyone else. On this night anyway, it was out of the question, she would be stopped during curfew and did not even know where to look for him.
Lydia was stuck at home, unable to even plan a decent birthday party. Having her usually grand party was unthinkable in light of the curfew and the dreadful killings.Then there was, of course, the possibility that given what happened last year, no one would come anyway. That did not bother her as much as not having the chance to help figure out what was happening. Lydia was only ever asked to use her newfound senses and she really did not want to find another torn up body. She loved to put pieces of the puzzle together, maybe translate another text. It was a good excuse not to be alone; to feel useful.
Instead, Lydia was left reading yet another book on mythological creatures. This one was in French and had arrived only two days ago. Not that it was much help. Wherever she looked the texts all said similar things about banshees. Nothing compared to what she was able to do and had experienced; her wails were not exactly announcing death and she did not feel at all like a messenger from the other world. While she had found Miss Blake's victims, or two of them, she was not even a reliable psychic. Sometimes she did pick up things but it came and go. Usually bothering her at the most inconvenient times. It seemed to her that being a banshee was mostly useless.
Those few instances, where it seemed like she was able to help, appeared, in hindsight not all that special. Like at the suicide motel. Allison was the one that had discovered the suicide count going up. All she had been doing was feeling like she was losing her mind again. Had they really needed her visions to check up on their classmates? That was the only time, she had found someone before they were dead. Though she had drawn the roots of the Nemeton, Lydia could not help but feel that they might have figured it out without her help. Either way, they still had needed to do that ritual to find it.
Just as Lydia clapped the book shut in frustration, she sensed that someone was behind her. Grabbing the heavy volume, she swung it as hard as she could from her sitting position. The person who had snuck upon her simply took it from her grasp and flipped it back open.
“You,” Lydia said, feeling like a broken record.
Peter just smiled at her before looking at the first page of the Banshee entry. Lydia used that brief moment to step back. Suddenly, he clapped the book shut and threw it on her bed. Gaining on her with two swift steps, he commented with a brief look at the heavy volume. “You are not going to find what you are looking for in books that are actually printed.”
Her first impulse was to ask if he really was there or if it was another of her nightmares. Lydia knew very well that Peter never was as real in her more recent dreams as he felt now. Not since he had come back from the dead or more precisely since she had helped him come back from the dead.
“What do you want?”
Her voice sounded disappointingly timid, when she had meant to appear confident. She usually was. Peter showing up in such similar circumstances as before left her feeling nervous.
“I need your help, or more precisely Derek does ...”
The way he smiled told her that he was not being entirely honest with her. Shaking her head, she remembered that being truthful was not something one could expect from him; he loved tricking people by telling them half-truths.
“My help? Maybe you should ask one of the others - someone who can actually do something useful. Besides what makes you think I am going to trust you?”
He cocked his head to the side and looked like she had said the funniest thing in the world.
“The others are actually pretty useless.” Reducing the distance between them to two steps, he continued: “It is kind of cute that you think you have a choice - you should have learnt that from our past.”
Lydia flinched, then kept herself together. “I am trying hard to forget about that.”
“Hmm, how is that going for you?” Peter asked.
It was pretty obvious he knew that she was stuck on the trying part. Then again, as they kept bumping into each other it was kind of hard to accomplish. Lydia knew it was a horrible idea to just leave with him. Even though there was little she could do to stop him from just taking her, she thought about her options. Calling for help would just endanger her parents. If she was able to get out a message to Allison, her friend could inform the others. Lydia was no match for Peter, but Aidan could easily take him and together with Ethan he was literally able to wipe the floor with Peter.
“It would help, if you stopped showing up in my bedroom.”
He laughed. “Stop showing up? It is the first time I am actually in here.”
“You know what I mean.”
There was something about the way he kept looking at her with this slight hint of a smile that made her heart beat just a tiny bit faster. Lydia knew he would notice but thankfully Peter did not mention it. He just nodded before pointing out they needed to go.
“I want to get back before someone else stumbles upon Derek - that might not end so well for them.”
“Why is that?”
“I tell you on the way,” Peter said and held his hand out to her.
“I can't just leave, if my parents notice I’m gone ...”
He turned his head to the other side and let his hand sink. Lydia could tell that he knew her parents were often totally obvious to where she was and hardly ever noticed her screaming her head off.
“I should call the others and let them know.”
“Be my guest.”
Lydia was surprised Peter didn't mind, until she saw there was no reception on her cell phone. How is that possible, she thought. Despite the innocent face Peter was making, Lydia had the feeling it was his doing. She couldn't understand how he did it. Somehow she doubted werewolf powers included control over electronic devices.
Sighing, she stepped past him and reached for her jacket and her handbag which she equipped with her cell phone. “Fine,” she groaned. “Let's get this over with.”
Before she knew it, Peter had pulled her close and lifted her up. Lydia was startled by his glowing blue eyes as he changed just a bit. Then they left her room by jumping out of the largest window onto the ground below. She had found herself wrapping her arms around him a bit closer. When she felt them land on the pavement in front of her parents house, she looked at him. Stiles had told her that werewolves with blue eyes had taken an innocent life. She wondered when exactly that had happened and who it had been. Then it occurred to her that Peter looked slightly different from the others, when he transformed. When she had seen him first, he had been an alpha and that seemed to account for the difference. Now, she was not so sure anymore.
However, she was sure that he was holding onto her longer than necessary considering that they were on the ground. Their faces were way too close. Which might had something to do with the fact that she was still clinging to him. Embarrassed, she eased up and brought a few more inches between them. Just as Lydia wanted to tell him to put her down, Peter did so on his own accord. After one last look at his face, her gaze went up to her windows which were surprisingly dark.
Peter mentioned they should leave and lead her to a Jeep. The wheels were muddy which suggested it had been driven through non-asphalted roads, maybe even fields. Going into the wilderness with a werewolf seemed like a pretty bad idea. Lydia felt mildly comforted that the usual dread she felt before someone was going to get killed was not there. While that sense was not reliable by any means, it was better than a feeling of impending doom.
She looked up to her windows. Chances were low that her mother would come into her room and realise that she was gone. Still, she would be worried if her daughter was nowhere to be found. It would have been better to leave a note. Lydia was not even sure what she could have written on it. 'Mom, don't worry, I am heading out for the night with the lunatic who slashed me up after the formal. See you soon.' She might have written that she left with Aidan. As she hadn't had a chance to leave a note, it hardly mattered what she could have written.
Hearing the sound of the door opening, she saw that Peter was gallantly holding it open for her; as if that could distract her from the fact that she did not had a say in where they were going. Once she had sat down and Peter had closed the door, she checked her cell phone again; there was still no reception. Lydia was stuck with him.
“So what is wrong with Derek? Why does he need my help of all people?”
She did not mind helping Derek. Her problem was, she doubted that this was indeed what was going on. Otherwise, it made no sense to cut her off from her friends, they certainly would encourage helping Derek. They had not excluded Peter before, so the only reasonable explanation was that something else was going on.
“It has to do with your special abilities,” Peter said looking briefly at her before turning his eyes back to the road. “Even if I knew another banshee, I doubt they would be willing to help.”
“You know what I am?” Lydia said.
It was not a total surprise for her, not after the last thing he had said to her, when she and Ethan had come to Derek's place to warn him about Kali coming. Yet, so far only Miss Blake or whatever her name really had been had recognized what she was. Then again, she was the only one who had said anything. Lydia was less sure about Dr. Deaton. Up to the point where she had helped with the ritual, she had not spend much time with him. From what Stiles had told her and her own experience, Lydia was sure the druid knew more than he let on. Somehow, after what their former teacher had mentioned about banshees she was not sure if she wanted him to know. She trusted Stiles with her secret and he had promised her to stick with the she was something explanation. He even had tried to find out more about banshees, with the same lack of success as she’d had so far.
“I thought you were merely immune - I didn't realise there was a reason for your immunity until later, “ Peter said and added with elation. “If you only knew what you are capable of.”
Hearing him talk gave her the distinct notion that she might not like finding out more. The admiration in his voice was very unsettling, since she doubted it were powers that could be used for good, if he was so fond of them.
Nonetheless, she wanted to know. “What would that be?”
“A number of things, apart from finding dead bodies, you should actually be able to foretell their deaths.”
Lydia took a deep breath. “I tried to do that ...”
“Ah so impatient - developing skills takes time. It's like fine-tuning an instrument. I could help you with that. But first you must do something for me - use another of your gifts.”
For some reason, she didn't doubt his ability to teach her. If he was actually willing to he was probably only interested in using her powers for his own purposes. Yet, suspecting as much, Lydia was still tempted to accept his offer. After all, she might be able to use her powers for something good regardless. Even if that just meant putting an end to her waking up screaming from her really bad nightmares.
“What other gift?”
“Derek got himself possessed - you can help by getting the demon out.”
“Possessed? How did that happen?”
Peter shrugged. She got the impression that he was actually amused by the situation; most likely because Derek once again needed his help. Lydia could tell how reluctant Derek was to accept help, especially from his uncle.
“I mean to ask him that - but who knows, he is rather good at getting himself into trouble. He really should know better by now.”
“And what am I supposed to do about that?” Lydia asked.
“Don't worry - if you do as I say it will work out just as fine as the last time.”
If Lydia had ever heard a less reassuring statement, that had to be it.
“Like me getting tons of nightmares? The police raiding my birthday party? My friends getting drugged by wolfsbane? Nobody telling me what is going on?”
It looked like Peter attempted to look guilty about what he had put her through. Lydia did not buy it. Even if he felt a bit sorry, if he needed to, he would do it again. He was essentially kidnapping her. On top of all that, he seemed more amused than anything.
“You won’t have to poison anyone, I hope you won’t get more nightmares and maybe you’ll even like the exorcism.”
“Coming from you, I very much doubt that.”
He laughed. “I hope you will. Don't worry, it’ll come to you easily.”
“And how far away are we?”
“A couple of hours.”
“Hours? I am stuck in this car with you for hours?”
“You might recall, I am actually good company.”
Lydia did remember. Before she had discovered what really was going on with him, that all of their interactions had happened in her head, she had indeed liked spending time with Peter. It was not necessarily something she wanted to dwell on. So she opted for looking out of her window, avoiding an answer.
Without warning, she felt his hand on her neck and him pulling her down. Lydia struggled against the pull, which was useless given his unnatural strength.
“Sheriff's car, you better stay down.”
With that his hand went back to the steering wheel, leaving her cheek resting against his thigh. Lydia had to agree with keeping out of sight. It just seemed self-serving to pull her head in his lap. If she had not been so surprised and then found herself feeling uncannily flushed, she might have said something. Instead her mind skipped the protest to wonder what might happen if they were pulled over. It would be so embarrassing if that was Stiles’ father.
It seemed to take forever and she eventually asked. “Is the car past us?”
“It passed a few minutes ago. Did forget to mention that?” Peter said with a smirk.
Lydia sat up immediately, glaring at him. Since his smile only broadened with her glares, she decided not to complain, especially, since most of her outrage came from her getting naughty ideas in that somewhat precarious position. That felt so wrong, not just given Peter having messed with her mind, she was sort of attached. She refused to acknowledge what she had with Aidan as more than a nice distraction. Somehow, it was a bit more than that. They might not be holding hands but she had hardly done that with Jackson either.
Despite vowing not to attach herself to just one guy on a permanent basis, she had not looked elsewhere. That gave way to the impression that she and Aidan were officially together, but they had never even discussed anything. It was not like she had much to complain about - except maybe a substantial lack of imagination in bed. Not that the sex was bad: if Jackson and Aidan were any indication, then werewolves in general had great stamina.
Looking toward the driver's seat she could not help but think that lack of imagination was somehow not Peter's problem. Not that she minded giving instructions to Aidan; it would just be nice if for a change she would not need to do that.
Maybe that was why she felt this unwelcome stir between her legs. Lydia tried to remind herself that if she was looking for more excitement in bed, that it should not be with the werewolf who tore two huge gashes into her side with his fangs.
“Interesting”, Peter said.
Even though Lydia knew she should not ask, she felt compelled to. “What is?”
“That you also enjoyed that our little moment just now.”
“What gave you that idea?”
Her voice betrayed her instantly; she might as well have said straight out that she did.
“Apart from your heart beating faster; there is also the fact that your blood went here ..”
His voice trailed off as his hand touched her thigh, his fingers almost reaching between them. Lydia smacked them with her handbag and thankfully he removed his hand.
“I was just thinking about Aidan, how much I would have liked to spend the evening with him.”
It was such a weak lie, especially since his totally inappropriate manoeuvre had only aroused her further. What was it with guys behaving inappropriately that she found so stimulating?
“You can't lie to me, especially not with your heartbeat quickening like that.”
At that moment, Lydia hated it so much that Peter could see right through her. It was weird enough to realise that she still felt attracted to him, that he knew it only made it worse.
“When some sleazy guy gropes me,” she shot back, “the only thing that my heart beating faster proves is that I am still alive.”
“Sleazy? You know I got feelings, too.”
While his playful tone was making it obvious that he was not serious, it somehow upset her. Given his past deeds, even if he had been hurt by the remark, it would only serve him right.
“If you want people to say nice things about you, maybe you should give them a reason to.”
Peter shrugged. “Here I thought I had. I might have made a few mistakes in the past, but in my defence - I have been somewhat besides me. But ever since you brought me back, I have been very helpful. Gave nothing but good, honest advice to Derek.”
“Except you tend to forget to mention along with your advice how it benefits you.”
“Such harsh criticism. I wonder what you have been told about my efforts to help.”
If Lydia was honest, she had to admit that she didn't know that much. Stiles had told her a few things, like the episode with the bank vault. But nothing very concrete, as he knew Peter was kind of a sore topic with her.That and other events, Stiles had only mentioned after he had sent her to Derek, which was the first time she had become aware that Peter was actually still hanging around. Which had surprised her a great deal.
However, she recalled one thing from Stiles’ recount of Peter's attempts at helping, that she could use to prove her point.
“I know you told Derek that he could use his healing powers to save Cora.”
“You say that if was a bad thing,” he pointed out.
“Not that part - but as a result Derek lost his alpha powers.”
Peter smirked. “Now, that is definitely not a bad thing. You saw yourself what he accomplished as an alpha. He got his entire pack killed. Isaac does not count - he was clever enough to switch his allegiance to Scott.”
She felt the car speeding up and saw that they had reached the highway. As the road was free, Peter turned to her. “I told Derek exactly what would happen if he healed Cora. It was not a decision I would have like to make but I did tell him about the consequences. Trust me, losing his alpha status was the least of it; It could have killed him. I even warned him that that losing his power was exactly what Jennifer or whatever-her-name-really-was wanted.”
Somehow Lydia doubted he was lying, yet she suspected there was more to it. It was too easy to assume everything he said was a lie or half-truth. He was still able to get what he wanted. Which he had proven when he had dropped all pretence and made it very clear what would happen if she did not go through with it. In light of that, she should feel grateful that he was approaching it that way.
“What I have to say might not always be welcome - but I do give good advice.”
He sounded noticeable offended but that might have been an act. She knew that he had helped out in the past year, Stiles had told her that much. He had seemed genuinely concerned about Derek’s safety. He certainly was not completely evil otherwise he might have taken revenge on Derek when he had been knocked out and helpless. Given that he was forcing her again to help, it just was easier to assume the absolute worst.
“I still don't believe you are actually helping, Derek. You’re always looking after your own interests. You don't care who gets hurt in the process.”
“That's not actually true ...” Peter began only to be interrupted by her.
“I don't want to hear it.”
With that she reached into her handbag, took out her phone that still showed no reception; it wasn't as if she expected it to change. Not wanting to listening to him, she got her headphones out of a side pocket in her Prada bag.
“Well, we can just not talk, if you prefer that,” he offered, sounding genuinely disappointed.
“I do,” Lydia replied, plugging in the headphones while cranking up the volume.
They spend almost an hour like that. Peter drove without saying anything while Lydia listened to one of her playlists. She could not help but look over when she felt he was not noticing. It irritated her that she was not as upset as she should be. That she kept thinking how he was exactly her type. Eventually, she just had to force herself to stare out of the window.
When he pulled over after some time, she felt a bit startled. Turning to him, she took the headphones out. “Are we there?”
“No, I just felt like getting something to drink. You want something as well?”
Reaching to the back-seat he returned with two bottles of some coloured energy drink, one blue and one red.
“No, thanks”, she said and put her headphones back inside.
With a shrug, he put the red bottle into her cup holder and then drank a few sips out of the blue one. Afterwards, he put it into his cup holder and started the car again. As the drive went on and on, Lydia eventually pulled out her ear plugs again.
“How far is it?” she looked at her phone. “It's almost midnight.”
“Hmm, maybe another hour,” he turned to her. “I am kind of ruining another birthday for you. Sorry about that.”
Lydia flinched: “I am surprised you even remembered.”
Peter laughed. “It's my birthday, too.” Then his face became serious again. “I know you probably hate me, I don't expect your forgiveness, but I did not want to stay dead.”
“Derek killed you because you murdered his sister. You tried to kill Allison, my best friend. So ..” she began, not wanting to actually mention that maybe he deserved it.
“Alright, I did kill my niece, I might have been a bit overly enthusiastic by going after Allison,” he paused. “In case you you forgot, I was in a bad place: being burned and broken, slowly returning from a coma. All those things combined didn't exactly put me in a ... let's say agreeable mindset.”
Lydia stared out of the window, not wanting to remember. As she could not avoid the memories, something else occurred to her. “Strange that you seem to do better, after being burned again, and killed.”
Suddenly Peter turned the wheel and stopped the car on a non paved side road before stopping. His gaze was fixed upon the dark road ahead. “I spent six years trapped in my mind after having watched most of my family burn alive, feeling my broken body heal bit by bit. Knowing that the people responsible for that were still out there.”
He turned to her and slowly reached out as if to touch her cheek, before taking a strain of her hair and brushing it gently back behind her ear.
“And after your friends set me on fire and Derek slashed my throat, there was nothing. At least until you woke up. Even then there was no pain and unlike before, I was not alone with my dark thoughts. I was connected to you. Let me say, your mind is not that bad a place to be.”
It was creepy to be reminded that Peter had been there all the time, lurking in her subconscious. She remembered that she had felt someone, but of course, back then she had thought she was simply going out of her mind. At the same time, Lydia could not help but think about what it might have been like for Peter. Being in agony and trapped inside one’s own mind seemed pretty horrible. That he had come around to being less homicidal by spooking around in her head was even flattering, but Lydia was not willing to excuse his behaviour that easily.
“Good to know that at least you had a great time on the expense of my sanity.”
Recalling these feelings of utter devastation when she thought she was losing her mind was a like a shield against his excuses. Lydia knew she was forgiving bad behaviour way too fast. Allison had often lamented how quickly she forgave Jackson, even before the werewolf/kanima chaos came over them. She knew all too well how that had turned out: she got dumped again, with Jackson not even bothering to sent her an e-mail or text. Not that she wanted to ever again wanted to hear anything from him. Well, maybe if he came crawling back.
Peter did not say anything to her last comment, maybe realising that she was not willing to listen. Instead he drove on and mentioned that he had secured Derek at a cabin in the woods.
'Wonderful,' she thought, 'where no one can hear me scream.'
Which was not that different from being back in her room; neither her parents nor the neighbours seemed to have ever heard her nightmare induced screams. That or they had ignored them. Her parents could be very good at overlooking things. For once that might work out to her advantage. If she was not back for her birthday, they might not even notice.
After all, they would leave around eight in the morning for some event up-state. They might not even think about looking in on her. They always made it a point that dates did not matter and had given her birthday presents days before or after her actual birthday. Not that she was bitter about that, the fact that her parents were leaving her alone for a few days, meant they had finally calmed down. The last thing Lydia needed was for them to get upset again.