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War of Hearts

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Stiles Stilinski knows three things to be indisputable.

-The supernatural is not only very real, but also very present is his life.

-The Empire Strikes Back is a cinematic master piece.

-And that he was undeniably, desperately, unshakably in love with Lydia Martin.

 

Two of those facts had come to mind as he strolled the isles of the late night convenience store downtown. A supernatural free night with his favorite movie and his favorite snacks was exactly what he needed. The only thing missing was someone to watch it with. That someone being Scott, of course.

He's trying his best to convince himself that he doesn’t mind spending the night alone. Relaxing nights were rare. Now he can get all the snacks he wanted without the silent judgement from Scott, since he opted out of movie night to spend the night with Allison. Not that Stiles cared, even though he was dying to force him to finally watch Star Wars (so he could understand his hilarious references), he knew that a date night for them was nearly impossible for them these days. He couldn’t hold it against them. He wouldn't.

As he deciding between cookie dough and chocolate ice cream, he sees a familiar figure through the frost on the freezer door.

Make that reminded of all three facts.

"Lydia!" he shouts louder than intended, causing her to jump and nearly drop the Snapple bottle she had just reached for.

She turns to him with a hand clenching her chest. "Jesus, Stiles." She sighs through a deep breath.

"Shit, I'm sorry," he says as he closes the freezer door and makes his way to her. "I didn't mean to scare you."

She closes her eyes and shakes out the shock that is evident on her face. "That's a lot of snacks you got there." She notes as she opens her eyes. "Cookie dough and Chocolate, bold move." she laughs. Stiles looks down at the pile of food in his arms, now realizing he had taken out both pints of ice cream.

"What can I say, I like to live on the edge." he says lightly. She huffs out a small laugh of amusement as she continues stroll down the isle. Stiles, of course, follows in step. "Oh. Chex mix!" He says as excitedly as he reaches around her to grab a bag. "Almost forgot." he mummers as he meets her questioning eyes.

"What is all this for anyway?" She asks pointing toward his full arms.

"It’s movie night." He quickly spits out, like it's obvious. Even though Scott and his dad are the only ones that know of his Friday night tradition. More like was his Friday night tradition, but movie night are making a come back. He was determined to kick the supernatural out of his life and fill the void with marathons of Indiana Jones.

"Ooookay." She says slowly, eyes returning to the shelves. "Too bad you won't have your boyfriend to cuddle with."

"Who?" He asks with a bewildered expression. "Scott?"

"Mhmm" She nods with tight lips, trying not to laugh as she watches him out the corner of her eye.

"Scott is not my boyfriend." he mumbles indignantly.

"You two broke up?" she gasps, turning quickly toward him. "that does explain the ice cream but in that case you should probably get a third pint, honey." she says in mock concern, lightly tapping his shoulder.

"HA HA very funny." He glares at her causing her to smiling sweetly before turning back on her heels. "No, actually Scott is actually spending the night with Allison." he tries his best not to sound bitter. He doesn’t want this to get back to Allison and for her to think he hates her for stealing his best friend. He doesn't - for the record.

Lydia, however, doesn’t seem at all concerned about wearing her bitterness like it's a fashion statement. "Trust me, I know." she gripes with one of her perfected eye rolls.

Stiles never thought about Lydia being alone like him on the nights that Scott and Allison went out. Lydia was the 'it girl' of Beacon Hills High. Ever guy wanted to be with her and every girl wanted to be her. He had always pictured her out at crazy parties or on lavish dates. But even with all that popularity , she didn’t really have any close friends. Well that was until Allison came. Before that she only really had Jackson, not that Stiles saw the appeal of having such a class A douchebag in your life. But now even he was gone. When Scott and Allison got back together it put Stiles and Lydia in the same boat. Single and alone.

He watches her as she makes her way to pay. "Hey" he says as he drops his items on the counter next to her. "You wanna come over for movie night." He tries his best to hide the hope in his voice, better to sound casual. He leans against the counter trying to go for subtle but missing it when his elbow slips. Subtly was never his strong suite.

She examines him for a few moments. "Okay" she offers before skipping away.

Okay? Did she just say okay?

"But we're going to need these." she says as she returns to the counter with a bag of gummi worms.

Gummi worms. How did he forget gummi worms?

 

____________________________________________________________________________________________

 

Lydia watches the boy next to her on the couch, his eyes fixated on the TV screen. She doesn't remember the last time she actually watched a movie with a boy. In recent years if I guy said "Hey you wanna come over to watch a movie?" it meant a very different thing. Most guys would barely make it through the opening credits before they started to grope her. But here they were nearly at the end and Stiles hadn't even inched closer to her. Not that Lydia was surprised, Stiles had always been nothing but respectful to her. It was certainly different but in a good way. Refreshing.

She continues to study him as his eyes stay locked on the screen. She doesn’t know if he is aware but he has been mouthing nearly every word since the movie started. He even hummed the music from the opening credits.

[ Luke, you do not yet realize your importance. You have only begun to discover your power. Join me and I will complete your training. With our combined strength we can end this destructive conflict and bring order to the galaxy. ]

How many times has he seen this movie?

[ I'll never join you! ] Stiles adds extra dramatics to this particular line.

The laugh that she had been trying desperately to keep in comes rushing out of her mouth. She quickly covers her mouth with her hand.

"Watch!" He scolds. "This scene is important!"

"Watching." She returns as her eyes try to focus on the screen but then she notices that his have moved to her face. "Now who isn't watching?" She says side eyeing him.

"I want to see your reaction," he says excitedly. "Now watch."

[….He told me you killed him. ]

[ No, I am your father. ]

They are still as they watch Luke steps off the platform. Then Stiles shoots his hands away from where they rest at his temple and makes a explosion noise with her mouth. "mind blowing, right?"

"No, not really."

"What?" He shouts as his limbs flail. "You aren’t at all shocked?" She shakes her head. "But- But this is like one of the biggest plot twists in cinematic history."

"Not if you know Dutch." She says with a shrug.

"What?" He gapes at her.

"Vadar in Dutch means Father."

"Well-ugh. That's cheating " He grunts as he falls back on the couch. "Oh course you know Dutch." he mumbles to himself.

She softly laughs at his frustration. "Also 'Luke, I am your Father' is a very overused pop culture reference, so…" She trails off as she reaches for the bag of Chex mix . "There's that."

"You win, Ms. Martin." he concedes before shoveling a spoonful of ice cream into his mouth.

When the credits begin to roll, Lydia swings her body around to face him. "Next time, I pick the movie." she declares before biting the head off one of the gummies. She had to admit that Stiles Stilinski wasn’t bad company and with Allison spending a large majority of her time with Scott, she could use the company.

He coughs on his mouth full of food then swallows hard. "Next time?"

"Well… yeah if you want." She says hesitantly. "I just figured that Allison and Scott are going to be busy together and if you wanted to hang-"

He quickly cuts her off. "Next Friday work for you?"

________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

"Stiles!" Scott shouts in his ear causing him to leap in the air.

Stiles places a hand over his ringing ear. His eyes raise from his phone to shoot daggers at his best friend. "Scott!" He returns in the same volume. "What?"

The alpha bites back a grin. "Have you heard me talking to you for the past 5 minutes or you too busy on your phone?"

"Uhh yeah I heard- Isaac said something that I can only assume was ridiculously stupid." he gestures with wild arms. Scott gives him a condemning look and shakes his head. "Sorry, dad. I'll listen next time." Stiles returns through his hands up in surrender.

Scott rolls his eyes at him. "Whatever, dude." he scoffs. He tries to drop the subject but when he looks back at Stiles, his eyes are intensity refocused on his phone screen. "Who are you texting?"

"Huh no one." Stiles mumbles. He locks his phone and throws it over his shoulder, it landing softly on Scott's living room couch. When he looks up Scott is staring at him with arched brow. "Let's just play, dude." He shakes the Xbox controller in his hand and nudges his head toward the TV.

It's not that he was trying to keep the fact that he was texting Lydia a secret. He just wasn't sure how he was going to explain it. 'Yeah, me and Lydia have been hanging out because we feel like our best friends are ditching us.' No way he could explain it without Scott getting offended. The only reason he used to text with Lydia was over supernatural emergencies or a occasional homework question (which if Stiles was being truthful was only an excuse to talk to the strawberry blonde.) . And he could use neither as an excuse being that nothing supernatural had happened in over a month and it was summer.

"Fine." Scott concedes as he presses start on his controller.

Stiles arches his back against the couch and stretches out his legs. He remembers this spot on the floor being much more comfortable when they were younger. He tries to focus on the game but his mind goes off track again. Instead he's thinking about what movie he's going to pick out for next Friday to wash out whatever chick flic Lydia provides them with tomorrow. The past few weeks it seems like they had watched anything starring Ryan Gosling or Leo DiCaprio. Stiles couldn't complain though, his Friday nights were undoubtedly better with Lydia curled up next to him on his couch. If he was being completely honest with himself, he hadn’t told Scott because it felt good to have something just between him and Lydia.

His thoughts are interrupted as his phone starts to vibrate. The boys simultaneously look at each other then to the lite up phone resting on the couch. They both scramble toward the couch, fighting each other for possession of the small device. Scott, of course, is victorious. He holds the phone over his head and lets out a loud 'HA'.

"Well, obviously." Stiles pants. "Alpha werewolf. Frail human." He says finger wagging between them.

Scott softly snickers before his eyes move to the phone in his hand. "Oh." He says in a disappointed tone. "It's just Lydia."

"I know, thank you." Stiles mumbles as he is handed his phone.

"Wait a minute."

Stiles sucks in a breath. He has no idea how he's going to lie his way out of this. Would Lydia be mad at him if he told Scott the truth? It would kind of be throwing her under the bus with Allison and he definitely didn’t want to piss of Lydia. For someone so small in stancher, she could be terrifying. But at the same time, they weren't doing anything wrong and they hadn't discussed not telling Scott and Allison. He can physically see Scott trying to think of reasons the two would need to be in connection. Clearly, like Stiles, he couldn’t come up with a good reason.

"Why are you texting Lydia?" He questions, his eyebrows pinched together in confusion.

"Uh, she was curious about what it's like to volunteer at the hospital so-." He has no idea where this lie came from. But he hopes if he rambles enough that Scott will get frustrated and drop the subject.

"You don’t volunteer at the hospital."

"I'm a candy stripper and-"

"Only girls are candy strippers at Beacon Hills Memorial." Scott cuts in again.

"Anyway she was looking for something to add to her college apps. Yanno' Lydia, always ahead of the game. And she was wondering if it involved people skills because she isn't too good with people-"

"Stiles…"

"And I said are you kidding have you met me? I hate people and I'm the best candy stripper they have."

"Stiles…"

"Plus I look super cute in the uniform."

"Stiles." Scott sighs, finally catching Stiles' eyes.

"OKAY FINE!" He cries out. He should have known his attempt to change the subject by rambling wouldn't work on Scott. He had had known him too long from that to still be effective. He sinks low into the couch cushions, trying to find the right words. "Me and Lydia… uhh. Lydia and I… we…." Scott looks at him impatiently. "We've been hanging out." He spits out hoping the simplicity of the statement will be enough to please Scott's curiosity. He was wrong.

"Hanging out?" Scott's eyebrows pinch even closer together, seemly more confused than before.

"Yes. Friday nights she comes over and we watch movies. We alternate who gets to pick the movie weekly."

"Weekly?" Scott nearly squeals.

"Yes?" Stiles replies hesitantly.

"So this has been going on for weeks!??" He raises his voice and moving closer to his best friend. Despite his angry tone, Stiles sees a glimmer of excitement in his eyes.

"Going on? Scott, nothing's going on." Stiles clarifies with a quick shake of his head. "We aren't like- dating or anything."

Scott expression returns to confusion. "Nothing's going on? Nothing?"

"Nothing. Nada. Zip. Zilch. Diddly-Squat."

Both boys sink low in the couch. "Just watching movies?" Scott says disappointly.

"Yep." Stiles returns with an extra pop of the 'p'. Scott has been having to hear Stiles go on and on about Lydia Martin since they were eight. So if anyone was even close to as disappointed as Stiles that it was 'just watching movies', it was Scott.

 

___________________________________________________________________________________________

 

"Okay so… we have two options." Lydia bursts through Stiles' bedroom door lugging two tote bags.

He would have been startled had he not been use to this. Stiles would laugh at her when she would patiently wait on his front steps for him to let her in. It seemed ridiculous to him, especially since they never lock the door. 'It’s impolite to just walk into someone's home, Stiles. Have you no manners?' she had said. 'Have you met me? But fine Lydia, have it your way.' He replied. She continued to be "polite" knocking and waiting at the door, no matter now many times Stiles told her it wasn't unnecessary. Then one night his dad answered the door with a chuckle and said 'it's always open, Lydia. No need to wait outside'. Stiles appeared behind the sheriff with a his best 'I told you so' look. She stopped knocking.

Stiles stands from his desk chair as Lydia plops the bags on his bed. "I'm listening."

"We can go with an old stand by" she says pulling out a copy on The Notebook. Stiles groans. "Or-" She declares reaching bag into the bag. "A classic." She says cheerfully as she waves her copy of Breakfast at Tiffany's. "Choose wisely."

"Wait, You're letting me choose?!" Stiles asks abruptly. He usually never got much of a say on her nights. When he would complain she would just tell him to sit down and shut up.

"Yes. I'm being indecisive. And they're two of my favorite movies." She hums.

"I mean you could've just done Ennie, Meenie, Minny, Moe. That's how I make most of my decisions."

"That actually explains a lot….especially your outfit choices." She teases. He puts his hand over his heart as if he had been shot. "But if you don't want to pick-"

"No!" He howls. "Not the Notebook. If I have to see Ryan Goslings beautifully chiseled face again I'm going to stab my eyes out."

Lydia's mouth stretches into a wide grin. "beautifully chiseled?"

"A real dream boat." He sighs, goofily batting his eyelashes.

"Breakfast at Tiffany's it is." She laughs grabbing the tote full of snacks and making her way toward the door.
The boy smiles to himself as she watches her skip down the stairs. Thank god for Fridays.

____________

Stiles keeps glancing from the TV screen to the strawberry blonde to his left. He's trying his best to focus but then he hears her angelic voice whispering along with the script.

[You know those days when you get the mean reds?]

[ The mean reds, you mean like the blues? ]

[ No. The blues are because you're getting fat and maybe it's been raining too long, you're just sad that's all. The mean reds are horrible. Suddenly you're afraid and you don't know what you're afraid of. Do you ever get that feeling? ]

[ Sure. ]

[ Well, when I get it the only thing that does any good is to jump in a cab and go to Tiffany's. Calms me down right away. The quietness and the proud look of it; nothing very bad could happen to you there. If I could find a real-life place that'd make me feel like Tiffany's, then - then I'd buy some furniture and give the cat a name! ]

Stiles finds himself nearly entranced as her red stained lips softly release each word as if it were instinct. Is this what it's like to watch him watch Star Wars?

Stiles knows why the Star Wars movies are his favorite, and that is simple because they're awesome…. obviously. But he thinks that Breakfast at Tiffany's is one of Lydia's favorites for an entirely different reason. Sadly, he thinks that she loves it because she relates to it. Just like Holly Golighty, Lydia Martin doesn't trust men or their intentions so in turn she uses them so she can't be hurt by them. Emotional detachment is her safest route. That thought alone makes his heart ache.

"Lyds?" He says softly not even sure what he wants to say next.

"Umhm" She mumbles , her eyes still fixed on Audrey Hepburn.

"Do you have a Tiffany's?" He asks. She turns her head and looks at him with a confused expression. "Like a place you go that makes you feel safe?" Stiles continues with a small laugh, now feeling idiotic for asking.

"I use to." She whispers looking down at the hands in her lap. She reaches for the remote and presses pause. There is a moment of hesitation before she turns to him fully, sitting Indian style on the couch. "When I was little, my parents and I use to go this park. Victory Park. We would go on nice days and have picnics." She pauses, a small smile creeping on her face. "I would search for rocks along the pond to skip on the water. And I could always hear my mother laughing over my shoulder. I would look back and see her laying on the spread out blanket with her head on my father's lap, him smiling down at her while his hands played with her hair. I remember thinking how happy they looked." Her smile quickly fades as if it was never there at all. "And then.. That happiness went away. They got divorced. Everything changed, including the way that park made me feel."

Stiles slowly takes her hand. "I'm so sorry, Lydia. I shouldn't of-"

"No." She says, cutting him off. She lifts her eyes to meet his. "I’m glad you did." She pulls herself into him, resting her head on his torso. "It feels good to have someone to talk to." She reaches for the remote again. "not someone. you, Stiles. I like talking to you." She whispers into his chest before pressing play.

Chapter Text

It was past noon on a Thursday when Stiles had awoken. He stretches and makes his way toward his bedroom window to discover that it was pouring rain. He makes the excusive decision to not leave the house and stay in his pajamas all day. With the start of the new school year a few days away, he didn’t plan a wasting a perfect opportunity to do absolutely nothing. He stumbles down the stairs and into the kitchen. As he reaching for the milk, his phone buzzes in his sweat pant pocket.

He smiles down at his screen. [ 1:48 Lydia: You busy? ]

[ Not in slightest ]

[ Good. I'm outside. ]

Stiles nearly drops the gallon of milk he was sipping on as he rushes toward the door. He opens his front door to find Lydia slamming her car door and squealing as the rain hits her. He made a good decision not to leave the house he notes as he watches the strawberry blonde try to dodge the big droplets of water. She smiles when she looks up that the boy standing in the doorway and his disheveled appearance. "Cute jammies." She says with a giggle.

"You’re just jealous." he teases as he shuts the door.

"I really am." she says with a pout as she examines how warm and comfortable he looks.

Stiles watches her shivers in her wet clothes. "Second drawer to the left." He says pointing toward the stairs.

She smiles brightly and hands him a plastic bag she was holding. "Thank you!" She exclaims as she quickly runs up the stairs.

"And sweatshirts are in the closet!" He calls up to her as he makes his way back to the kitchen. He's tossing the bag on the counter when he remembers his appearance and rushes to the bathroom. He brushes his teeth and tries his best to tame his hair.

He laughs to himself as he begins rummages through the bag on kitchen counter. Lydia voice appears from behind. "What's so funny?"

"What's the-" he starts to say but when he turns to face her he is suddenly at a lose for words. He can't help but gawk at her as she stands in the doorway. She's in his favorite pair on grey sweatpants and his lacrosse sweatshirt. Her damp hair is tied in a loose bun, ringlets of auburn falling down her neck and framing her face. He has seen Lydia Martin in many ways but he decides, right then and there, that this is his favorite.

She tenses slightly at the look on his face. "What?" She says shyly, looking down at herself. "Is it okay that I'm wearing this? I can change if-"

"No!" he shouts cutting her off. He clears his throat awkwardly trying his best to sound causal. "It's okay." He says as he turns trying to hide his now rosy cheeks. "most definitely okay" he mumbles to himself. "So what's with- this" he says as he empties the bag. The counter is now covered with a wide variety of desert toppings.

"Oh!" she exclaims as she excitedly skips toward the counter. "I was craving pancakes. And since you claim to be the 'Master of Breakfast' I figured I would test your skills."

"Ahh" he exhales examining the sea of topping options. "Challenge accepted."

_______________

"Okay…" Stiles says as he turns away from the stove and toward Lydia who is sitting on top of the counter. "You ready to have your life changed?" He asks as he displays his 'masterpiece'.

"Changed like werewolves exists and your best friend is one of them. And my best friend is a hunter and I'm something called a Banshee. Which basically just means it find dead bodies. And we are constantly risking our lives to protect our town from supernatural threats, changed?" Stiles gives her a pointed look. She giggles and examines the colorful plate very carefully. "I don’t know…" She says hesitantly. "Banana and chocolate chips?"

"Lydia…" He says slowly sliding the plate into her hands. "I can guarantee you this, you’re never going to regret trying this mind-blowingly delicious pancake." He examines the pancake again. "But uh, I can't guarantee you that you won't not regret it, also."

"That was a double negative."

"You're a double negative." He replies with a point of his finger.

She huffs a small laugh out of her nose. She shakes the smile off her face before breaking off a small piece of the pancake with her fork. Stiles watches attentively as she chews. "Wow" she hums. "That is life changing." She takes another bite as Stiles excitedly slides across the floor on his socked feet. Lydia watches the boy dance in victory as she finishes her plate. "Okay, my turn." She says hoping of the counter. Stiles leans against the island as she starts throwing things into a bowl.

"Strawberries" Stiles notes peaking over her shoulder. "why am I not surprised?"

Lydia slaps his hand away as he reaches to steal one of the berries. "Go sit down." she demands.

"Yes mam." he agrees taking Lydia's place on the counter. He swings his legs as Lydia finishes her creation.

"Close her eyes."

"So demanding."

"Just do it." She sighs exasperatedly. Stiles complies apprehensively, slowly closing his eyes. "Ready?"

"As I'll ever be." he jokes nervously.

"Then open your mouth, dork." She says gently hitting his shoulder. Stiles obeys.

"Holy shit." he says opening his eyes widely.

Lydia smiles contently. "I know I-"

"No. I mean holy shit-" he cuts her off. "I finally found something that Lydia Martin isn't perfect at." He declares excitedly causing the smirk on her face to quickly disappear. He starts to laugh but before he knows it Lydia has emptied the bottle of whip cream into her hand and smeared it across his face.

"Something funny?" She asks, her smirk returning. His staggered expression causes a giggle to escape her lips. She tries to suppress it by walking away from the boy but she is stopped when arm wrap around her waist.

"Not at all." Stiles utters throwing her over his shoulder causing her to erupt into loud laughter.

"Stiles!" She squeals.

Their laugher is interrupted the sound of someone clearing their throat. Stiles turns slowly toward to the kitchen doorway, the strawberry blonde still slung over his shoulder. "Scott…" He nearly whispers taking in the appearance of his best friend leaning against the door frame. He can't help but feel like he's doing something wrong because of the look of amusement on Scott's face. "Hey." He says slowly lowering Lydia to the ground.

"Hey Scott!" She says happily skipping toward the counter to pick at the reminder of the strawberries.

"Hey, you two." Scott says in a tone that immediately annoys Stiles. He now remembers another reason he didn't want to tell him about his developing friendship with Lydia. He was going to read too much into it. They were just friends. That’s it. But Scott smiling as if Stiles was just on one knee proposing to the girl. "Whatcha' up to?" He asks making his way into the kitchen. "Baking?" He asks as he examines the messy counter top.

"Pancakes. You want one?" She asks cheerfully. "Gordan Ramsay over here can whip one up for you." She says heavy with sarcasm, sticking her tongue out at Stiles. Stiles finds himself beaming at her but quickly snaps out of it, feeling Scott's eyes on him.

"No thanks. I'm actually suppose to be getting lunch with Allison soon. Just wanted to swing by a say what's up to my buddy Stiles." Scott replies with a grin that makes Stiles' stomach turn. He can almost see the wheels turning in his head and he has a feeling he is up to no good. "You two should come!"

"What?" Stiles returns with squinted eyes. He knew he was up to something.

"We are going to grab something to eat then we'll probably go see a movie. You should come it will be fun!" Scott continues, his grin growing wider with each word.

Stiles looks to Lydia. She simply shrugs and says, "Okay."

Stiles cleans up the kitchen as Lydia goes up to change back into her, now dry, clothes. All the while he feels Scott's eyes staring at him. He tries his best to ignore him but he soon gets annoyed. "What?" He grumbles looking up at the alpha.

"Oh, nothing." Scott chuckles.

"I'm going to kick your ass."

"You could never."

He knew he was right, of course. So instead of taking his frustration out on his best friend he takes it out of the dirty counter top, scrubbing much harder than was necessary.

His focus is interrupted when Lydia reappears in the kitchen. "Ready when you are, jammies." She says teasingly, eyeing down Stiles' lazy attire.

"Oh, I was just going to go in this. What do you think?" Stiles says striking a pose. "Super fashionable, right?"

This earns him a rare toothy grin, which he adores. She rolls her eyes. "Just go get changed, dork."

"Yes mam." He returns, quickly making his way to the stairs.

"Make it quick! I don't want to keep Allison waiting!" Scott yells. Stiles had almost forgot we was there for a minute. Suddenly he's nervous and he doesn't know why. He had hug out with the three of them plenty of times before. He wasn't sure why this felt different, but it did.

Stiles tries to settle his nerves as the three of them drive to meet up with Allison. He somehow got roped into driving. Not that minded. He loved driving his jeep, it gave him control. And he felt like he wouldn't have much control this afternoon.

They meet with Allison at the diner at the center of town. As they ate Allison looks up movie times. They discuss their dread over the summer coming to an end and their relief that no supernatural force intervened with their much needed break. After they are done eating and have made a decision about what movie to see, they make their way to the parking lot.

"I'm gonna ride with Allison. We'll see you guys there." Scott says with that same suspicious grin.

Stiles knows he should be mad at his friend for his devious ways but instead he feels relief. He isn't quite sure if the relief is from the lack of pressure from the couple or that he gets to spend some time alone with Lydia. Regardless, his worries quickly fade away as the petite figure in his passenger seat drums along to a killer's song on the dashboard. And he can't help the smile that creeps on his face when she points to him as she sings the word 'baby'. He refuses to be in his own head all day and let his overthinking prevent him from enjoying moments like this.

_______________

By the end of the afternoon, Lydia is getting back into the passenger seat of Stile's jeep rubbing her now sore cheeks from the smile that had been plastered on her face all day. When the movie was over and they left the theater, Allison and Scott said their goodbyes (clearly wanting some alone time) and made their way toward Allison's car. Before getting into the vehicle they both called out in unison 'I'll text you' to their best friends.

Now Lydia looks at herself in the side mirror and nearly laughs out loud at her goofy grin. She was apprehensive about today, that's no lie. She couldn't quite put her finger on why she was nervous. They had all hung out several times before but somehow, when Scott had first offered the idea, it felt different. 'Double date' were the first words that popped into her head but she quickly forced herself to shake that thought. It was stupid to overthink it. They were all friends and she was desperate for a fun day with friends. So before she could talk herself out of it, she agreed. Now she's very glad that she did. She can't remember the last time she laughed so hard that it causes her eyes to water but it felt good.

She looks over at the boy behind the wheel and sees that he is wearing a similar grin. Then suddenly she is hit with a memory. A memory of the first time she can recall ever spending time alone with Stiles, and they were in the same seats they are right now.

It was one day after school, start of sophomore year maybe. She can't remember all the details. But she does remember standing in the school parking lot with her arms folded across her chest, fighting with Jackson about god knows what. She had planted her feet to the pavement as Jackson stormed to his Porsche.

"Well?" He said impatiently as he turned back to her. "You getting in?"

She was pondering a rude comeback when she saw a flash of blue out of the corner of her eye. There was a blue jeep pulling out a few spaces over. Scott's friend. As the jeep was making it's way toward her, she was hit with an idea. When the jeep stopped to allow another car to pull out, Lydia pulled open the passenger side door and plopped herself into the seat. She can still picture the bewildered look on his face.

"Can you give me a ride home, please?" She pleaded with pouted lips. "I would really appreciate it." His mouth open and closed several times before releasing a high pitched 'sure'. She shot a quick smirk at Jackson, who's faced was red with anger, before Stiles pulled out of the parking lot.

She doesn't remember most of the car ride, if she was being honest. Her phone was constantly buzzing with angry messages from Jackson. Stiles was rambling about something nervously but she wasn't listening. She didn't even try to get to know the kind boy giving her a ride home, she was just using him to piss off Jackson. She hates herself for that.

When she gets a text from Jackson basically demanding that she be on his beck and call the next day to make up for what she'd just done, she shoves her phone in the bag and turns to face the boy beside her. If there was one thing Lydia Martin hated it was being told what to do.

"Hey" she says, interrupting whatever he was going on and on about. "What are you doing tomorrow?"

He turns to her quickly, shock evident in his face. "Uhh tomorrow I-umm" he pauses tightening his grip on the steering wheel. "Nope, no plans." he finally admits.

"Well you do now. We're hanging out."

"We're hanging out?" Stiles repeats pointing a finger between the two of them. "We? Me and you?" Lydia simply nods at the flabbergasted boy. "Ok awesome!" He exclaims, his shock turning into excitement. She took her phone back from out of her bag and texted Jackson 'can't. have plans'. Just as she pressed send Stiles was pulling up to her house. She didn’t remember telling him where she lived but she does remember the big smile on his face as he said goodbye.

She, of course, didn't end up following through with her plans to hangout with him. She had made up with Jackson a few hours after he dropped her off and there was no longer a need.

Suddenly a voice is dragging her back to the present. "Lyds?" She looks up to be met with concerned golden eyes. She is hit hard with a wave of guilt. How could she have ever treated him so poorly? The sad melody of a Coldplay song playing on the radio fills her ears. She feels the flood gates in her eyes start to open.

"You okay?" He asks, his words laced with worry. She tears her eyes away from his. She can't stand looking at him anymore. She watches as rain drops trickle down the window. Funny that the rain starts to fall again, the weather seems to be mimicking with her mood. When she doesn't answer he pulls the jeep to the side of the road.

"Hey…" She says grabbing her left hand off her lap. "What's wrong?" he asks as he gently running his thumb over her knuckles. The lump in her throat prevents her from speaking, her eyes burn from unfallen tears. "Look at me. Please." he whispers. It's the sweetness in his voice that causes her to cave. Slowly but surely, she turns to face him.

His eyes go wide with concern when he sees that her eyes are rimmed with tears. "Oh my god, Lydia. What's wrong? What happened?" He asks squeezing her hand and moving closer to her. She tries to find her courage to speak while his worried eyes nearly bore holes into hers.

"I'm sorry." She croaks. It's all she can muster up as the tears finally make there way down her cheeks.

His eyebrows crease in confusion. "You're sorry? Lydia… What are you sorry about?" She understands why he is so confused. They had just had a great day and now here she was crying in his passenger seat. Part of her can't believe that she's being this vulnerable but the other part of her is too plagued with guilt to care. Guilt that she feels eating away at her.

"Talk to me." he pleads as he gently cups her cheek and wipes away her tears with his thumb.

"For that day you drove me home from school." She explains when she finally finds her voice. His hand slowly falls from her face. "And for all of sophomore year and for anything before that." She looks into his eyes begging for forgiveness but his have fallen to the center console. She can't take it anymore. "I'm so sorry." She repeats before opening the car door and venturing out into the pouring rain.

She speeds walks down the side walk. She hadn't really thought this whole walking in the rain thing through. All she knew is she needed to get out of that jeep as soon as possible. It isn't long before she hears a muffled voice screaming her name over the sound of water hitting the pavement. Lydia doesn't dare look back. The more she looked into those whiskey eyes the more she felt her body grow heavy with guilt.

"Lydia!" She hears, this time much closer. Then his fingers wrap around her wrist, pulling her to face him. "Please get back in the car" he begs.

"I don't deserve you giving me rides! I don't deserve your friendship!" She yells, thankful that the rain is disguising her still falling tears. I don’t deserve you, she thinks. She looks straight into his eyes, trying to make her point clear. "You should hate me." She demands.

Stiles stands their looking completely stunned. "Hate you?" He repeats in a disbelieving tone.

"Yes! You're always been so nice to me while I've been a complete bitch. For years! You should hate me! I hate me!" Her eyes return to the wet cement only to be brought back up when she hears a light chuckle. "What could possible be funny about this situation?" She demands, completely baffled.

"I'm sorry. I just don't think I've ever hear Lydia Martin say something so stupid." he says lightheartedly. She scoffs at him causing him to be more serious. "Lydia, I could never hate you." He states as he takes a step closer to her. "Have never, will never."

"but you should." she nearly whispers. "I was horrible to you."

He takes her hand again and uses his free hand to lift her chin up. He smiles softly at her and simply shakes his head as a response. "But I'll tell you what…You can make it up to me by getting back in the car so I can get out of this rain." He says after a few moments of silence. "Because I'm not leaving without you. And I'll stand here all night if I have to…but it's kinda cold." He says with a laugh.

She can't help the soft smile that starts to form on her lips. This boy truly was a blessing.

She was at war with herself. She would never deserve him but she also believes she will never met anyone like him. So she simply nods at him before he leads her back to the car.

The car ride is comfortably silent and she's lost in thought again as the car pulls to a stop. Lydia looks up to see that they aren't in her driveway but his. Lydia is relieved. She didn’t want to go home. Her mom was away on "business" and she simply didn’t want to be alone. She didn't vocalize this to Stiles however, she felt bad enough as it is. She didn't want to be a burden. She isn't sure if he had brought her back so she could get her car or because he could sense she didn't want to be alone. But when smiles softly at her, she can tell it was the ladder.

"Come on." He says, nodding his head toward the door.

She smiles at him before reaching for the door handle. She loved that he somehow had the ability to read her.

When they make their way into his room, he hands her a pair on dry clothes and points her in the direction of the bathroom. When she pulls the sweatshirt over he head, it's scent invades her nostrils. A scent that she can only describe as Stiles. A scent she now associates with safety and comfort. She stands in the mirror and wipes away the smeared mascara from under her eyes. God, she's a mess.

Their eyes met as she reenters his room. He wears the fresh pair of clothes and the same expression as when she had entered his kitchen this afternoon. She can't really decipher what is means but it causes goose bumps to appear on her arms. She tries to rub them away as she steps further into the room. He pats the spot next to her on the bed. She relaxes onto his navy plaid sheets and looks at the clock on his nightstand. She didn't realize how late it had gotten. After a few moments she breaks the silence.

"I'm sorry about before." She admits, feeling embarrassed about how emotional she had been. That wasn't like her to be so vulnerable around people.

"Don't be." He replies as he lays downs on his pillow and turns on his side to face her. She copies his movements. "You can talk to me, Lydia. About anything." He continues, the corner of his mouth raised in a warm smile.

She knew he was being sincere. And Lydia felt like she really could talk to him, about anything. They may have not been close friends for long but in a short period of time he had become her best friend and closest confidant (next to Allison). So when he looks into his warm eyes, She opens her mouth and talks. About anything.

Chapter Text

Stiles blinks awake. As he stares up at where the morning sun is hitting the ceiling he is hit with confusion. He hadn't remembered falling asleep. When he goes to sit up slightly he feels a weight on his chest. He rubs his eyes with his free hand and blinks several times to make sure he's not still asleep. The double check was very necessary since what he is seeing, he had dreamt of many times. As his senses become more awake, he takes it all in. Lydia's head lays where Stiles' left arm meets his shoulder and her hand rests on his chest. Her smooth hair tickles his neck. Their legs are slightly entangled. He can hear her soft even breathes, signifying she's still asleep.

He gently cranes his neck, not wanting to wake her, to look at the time . It was nearly 9am. He recalls the last time he looked at the clock. They had been laying down talking when Lydia started to doze off. He was shocked to see that it was almost midnight which means that they had been talking for hours.

He had listened attentively as she talked about her parents and her broken relationship with her father. She talked about Jackson. Stiles couldn't help but flinch slightly when she'd mentioned something Jackson had done to hurt her. He'll never understand how anyone could ever treat any women like that, let alone Lydia Martin.
He swears, if he ever sees Jackson Whittemore again….
Lydia had squeezed his hand comfortingly as he talked about his mom. He expressed his worries about his had.
They talked about their friends and their fears about losing someone close to them.
A great feeling of tranquility had washed over him in those four or so hour that they had laid in his bed. The fact that she trusted him that much to open up to him, it filled his chest with warmth.

Suddenly Stiles is struck by an odd realization. He had slept for nearly 9 hours. For a known insomniac, that was unheard of. He's in awe, counting the hours in his head over and over. He hadn't slept for more than 4 in years. Not only that but he hadn't even intended to fall asleep last night. Maybe that was because he was never really comfortable enough to sleep anymore, always full of anxiety. After his mom died, it was the anxiety of losing his dad. Anxiety of being left a orphan. Fear of being left alone in the world with no one to love and no one to be loved by. Then sophomore year his world flipped and his anxiety was kicked into overdrive. He was consumed by thoughts like what supernatural creature they would be battling next or who would be the next to get hurt fighting said supernatural creature. His night usually consisted of three possible activities that took place of his sleep schedule. Each nights he rolled the dice on whether to toss and turn, stare blankly at the ceiling, or research things on the dark web. Well that was, until last night.

Maybe it was finally verbalizing his fears that had settled a little piece inside him. The piece that would allow him to sleep through a whole night. Or maybe it was just Lydia. Her presence eased him.

His thoughts are interrupted as the strawberry blonde laying on his chest begins to stir. Stiles quickly shuts his eyes, pretending to still be asleep. He didn't want to come off as creepy, like he was just watching her sleep. He was. But that’s not the point. She stretches and he can sense her confusion over her surroundings. Glad he wasn't the only one. She takes a deep breathe before removing herself from his side. Stiles immediately misses the contact.

He hears her feet hit the wood floor. He keeps his eyes shut tight, fighting the urge to see what Lydia Martin looks like when she wakes up in the morning, because he's suddenly nervous. What if she was embarrassed about waking up in his arms and wants to make a break for it? He's sure she didn’t mean to rap herself against him in her sleep. Her subconscious must have mistaken him for someone else. At least that's the only rationale explanation his mind can form. His frustration causes him to accidently stir. Shit!

"Stiles…" she whispers. God he loves when she says his name. "Stiles." She repeats, lightly shaking his arm. And her touch. C'mon Stilinski, not now. Get it together.

He hums softly, pretending he had just wake. Then he slowly opens his eyes to peek at her. "Hey." He says in his raspy morning voice accompanied by a boyish smile. She's even more beautiful in the morning then he had imagined.

"Hi." She says sheepishly, returning the smile. "I, uh, have to get going." This causes Stiles to sit up. Shit. She was making a run for it. "I have to pick up my mom from the airport."

God, Why does this feel like an awkward morning after a one night stand scene from one of those rom coms she's always making him watch? One were the guys super into it but the girl is full of regret and desperate for a way out.

"Ok." He says simply, trying to hide his disappointment. Was it the truth? Or was she looking for an escape? Stiles can't help but be insecure. How could he not? This was the girl of his dreams.

She lightly squeezes his forearm. "Thanks… for last night. Sorry for falling asleep." She laughs shyly.

"Oh, no problem. My bed is always open." Oh god he hopes that didn't sound as creepy to her as it did to him.

She huffs a small laugh before standing and making her way to the door. "I'll see you later."

A stupid grin forms on Stile's face as he watches her walk away in his clothes. He throws his pillow over his face. No, Stiles. Don't get your hopes up. It's never gonna happen. He groans before getting up to change for the day.

As he's sliding on a pair of jeans, Scott burst through the door causing Stiles to jump and fall on his ass. "dude.." he groans on the floor. "I'd be cool if you knocked so, you know, you didn't scare the shit out of me." Scott ignores him and makes his way further into the room. Stiles stands and rubs his, now sore, butt and continues to put on his pants.

"So…" The alpha starts as he leans against Stiles' dresser.

"So…" Stiles repeats, glaring at him. Scott has been smirking at him a lot recently and he's not sure how to feel about it.

"I just ran into Lydia in your driveway."

Oh great here we go. Stiles just hums and nods because he knows where this is headed.

"It seems as if she had spent the night…" he continues as Stiles pulls on a clean tee. " and she was in your clothes."

"Yes, Scott. That is all correct." Stiles sighs defensively. "Your assumptions, however, are not." He calls over his shoulder as he leaves the room. Scott is quickly on his heals as he walks to the bathroom.

"Really?" Scott says in a disbelieving tone.

"yep." Stiles says as puts paste on his toothbrush. "completely innocent."

"Then explain the clothes."

"Hers were wet. If you can recall it was raining last night." Stiles quips as he spits and he returns his toothbrush to it's proper home. He pushes past Scott and ascends down the stairs. He happily skips into the kitchen, thinking he has prevented any further questions. As he reaches for the handle of the fridge, Scott slams his hand on the door.

"So where did she sleep?" He asks with arched eyebrow.

"Huh?" Stiles hums, pretending to have not heard the question.

"Where did Lydia sleep, Stiles?" Scott enunciates.

"My bed." He admits. He slaps Scott's hand away, now successfully opening the fridge.

"And you slept….on the couch?"

"In my bed." Stiles mumbles, adverting his eyes away from Scott. He takes a big sip of orange juice and nearly gags. He was so distracted from this interrogation that he forgot the cardinal rule of never drinking OJ directly after brushing your teeth. He blames Scott. He looks up from the carton to see Scott shuffling on his feet. He's giving him a look of concern. "What?"

"Nothing, nothing."

"Scott…"

"It's nothing. So.." He starts, immediately changing the subject. "I came by to see if you'd be interested in a guys night tonight? We can go to that dive bar downtown. I heard they're loose on checking IDs." Stiles gives him a quizzical look. "The summer is coming to an end and I just figured we haven't really chilled the two of us in a while." He says with a bright smile and tap on the shoulder. "I miss my buddy."

At first, Stiles is apprehensive. It's Friday. His Fridays have since been dedicated to movies and a certain strawberry blonde. But Scott was right, they really hadn't spent much time alone this summer. And after spending a whole day together, It's safe to assume that Lydia wants a break from him. "Yeah I'm in."

 

______________________

 

They get into the bar without any trouble and are given a stamp on their hands to signify to the bartender that they are of age. Well not quite, but that beast of man they call a bouncer didn't need to know the truth.

Scott points out a table in the corner while he tells Stiles he's going to get them some beers. When he returns he isn't alone. "Isaac." Stiles groans, giving the beta a half hearted smile. Of course Scott had to invite the most annoying member of the pack. So much for hanging out just the two of them. Maybe he should have stuck to his Friday night routine after all. Is it too late to un-send that raincheck text to Lydia?

"Hey Stilinski. How's the fake girlfriend?"

Stiles gapes at him before shooting Scott a mean glare. "Oh my god!" Stiles exclaims with a flail of his limbs. "We're just friends!"

"Men and Women can't be friends. That's like life 101. Everyone knows that." Isaac says before taking a sip of his drink. "You obviously want to sleep with her."

"That's Bullshit!" Stiles objects, even though he can't deny the ladder. "It's the 21st century." Isaac just shrugs in response. "You and Allison are friends… do you think about sleeping with her?" Scott's eyes go wide as they both wait for the beta's answer.

"Well….umm…." Isaac hesitates. Scott slaps the back of his head. "I'm sorry." The curly hair boy laughs. "I'm sorry but it's true. And especially true when it comes to you because everyone knows you're in love with her." He says unceremiously.

"He has a point, Stiles. You've had a crush on Lydia since we were eight years old and…."

"yes, I'm fully aware of that, thank you!" Stiles loudly interjects. He starts to take his frustration on the label of his beer bottle.

"All I'm saying is that I've seen how you've been acting around her lately and it's clear you still have feelings for her." Scott continues. "And I don't want you to get wrapped up in whatever's going on between you two and then for some other guy to come into the picture and-"

"That's enviable." Isaac interrupts. "What?" He asks when they both glare at him. "It's true. She's like super hot and super hot people date… well other super hot people."

"Thanks for the confidence boost, pal." Stiles retorts, voice full of sarcasm. Seriously why was he here?

"Sorry to be the one to break it to you but she's going to start dating someone and you're going to be crushed." He returns with a shrug. "Might as well forget about it and move on."

"We're just trying to look out for you." Scott sighs, pulling his arm around Stiles shoulder. "And I may only have a few beers in me but I love you, dude."

"I've only had one," Isaac states shaking his bottle in the air. "I just think you're alright." Scott laughs as Stiles rolls his eyes.

"Alright, let's get another round!" Scott says enthusiastically, jumping out of his chair.

A few hours and many drinks later, Stiles is comfortable enough to start to mingle. He has been talking to a tall brunette that Scott and Isaac, quite literally, pushed him to talk to. Her name is Zoe. She's attractive and the conversation is steady so Stiles doesn't mind. She talks him into doing a few shots of tequila then drags him onto the dance floor. As the tempo begins to pick up, she moves closer to him. Stiles tries to lose himself in the music and feel of the girls body grinding against him. Suddenly her lips are on his. He closes his eyes as she deepens the kiss. The song changes to a familiar tune and his thoughts are invaded by a certain strawberry blonde singing in his passenger seat. He stumbles backward away from the brunette.

"You ok?" Zoe asks with confused expression.

"You aren't her." He mumbles to himself.

"What?" She shouts over the music, stepping closer to him.

"I'm sorry. I have to go." He says before clearing the dance floor and pushing through the bars exit.

Once in the fresh air, he plops himself down the curb and puts his head in his hands. He sucks in a few deep breathes and tries his best to shake thoughts of red lips and porcelain skin. He lifts his head then he feels a knee bump his.

"You okay, man?" Scott asks. Stiles can just tell that he is picking up on his chemo signals.

"Yeah…" Stiles sighs with shaky breath. "Just got a little claustrophobic." he says, knowing that they both know it’s a lie.

After a few moments and many deep breaths on Stiles' part, Scott breaks the silence. "So wanna go back to my place? Order a pizza and play Halo?"

"Does this plan include a certain obnoxious beta?" Stiles deadpans.

Scott tries to give him a stern look but quickly cracks a smile. "Nah, Isaac's talking to some blonde inside. Told me he has no interest in leaving any time soon."

"Thank god…. Let's get out of here." Stiles huffs, standing from his spot on the cement. Scott wraps his arm around his best friend's shoulder as the pair makes their way down the sidewalk.

_____________

 

"Dude, wake up!"

Stiles groans and squeezes his eyes impossibly tighter. His head is pounding and he wants nothing more than to go back to sleep. He feels a strong hand shove him. His best friend, however, clearly has a different agenda. Stiles opens his eyes to glare at the alpha only to groan again. God, could it be any brighter in here? When he is shoved again, he shoots up fast from his stop on the floor, prepared to attack the nuisance. He instead instantly regrets the motion as his stomach drops. He mentally curses the tequila from last night as he groans again.

"Is that the only thing I'm going to get out of you today?" Scott teases as he looks down at him with his hands on his hips. His chipper attitude causing Stiles to groan one last time.

"Not all of us can heal like you, Scotty boy." Stiles replies exasperated. He closed his eyes and rubs the bridge of his nose. Never again, tequila. Never again. The sound of a shaking pill bottle and a water bottle hitting his lap interrupts his internal scolding. He sends his friend a thankful nod before he takes two Advil and chugs the water.

"So it's the last night of the summer…." Scott says breaking the silence.

"That it is."

"So I was thinking we should do something, like the whole pack."

"Please nothing involving alcohol." Stiles replies with a rub of his temples.

Scott chuckles lightly. "How about a movie night?"

"Works for me." Stiles agrees. He stands from the floor and makes his way toward the door. "Text me with the details."

"Wait, where are you doing?" Scott asked with raised brow. "It's the last day of summer dude! Allison will be over soon. Let's do something fun!"

"My body is too busy punishing me for my terrible decision making last night." He indicates pointing to head and his stomach. "Have some fun for me though." Stiles winks before exiting the room.

"I'll see you tonight!" Scott calls after him with a laugh.

_____________

By 8 o'clock, Stiles was finally descending from his bedroom and making his way out of the house. After spending the whole day in bed, most of his hangover had dissipated and ,aside from the lingering feeling of drunken regret, he was feeling pretty good. He hopped in the Jeep and made his way to Scott's. Even though this morning the thought of doing anything that involved any form of motion made his stomach turn, he was excited to spend the night with his friends.

He reaches the front steps and shakes off the soft smile at had appeared on his lips with the sight of a certain blue Toyota. As he opens the front door he is hit directly in the face with a couch pillow. "That's my face!" he yells in response, looking up to search for the culprit.

"Yes!" Isaac says victoriously. "I knew it was Stilinski." He clapping his hands together in solo celebration.

"What if it was someone else?" Stiles says throwing the pillow back at the beta.

"Oh, no. I literally knew it was you. Remember heightened senses." He explains with a point to his noise. "The stench of utter disappointment is distinctive." He concludes with a smirk.

"Ha hilarious!" Stiles mocks. He turns on his heels and starts to head in the direction of his best friend's voice in the kitchen. His steps stutter and his heart picks up pace when he hears the rare but beautiful sound that is Lydia's laugh. Seriously? Could he ever play it cool when it comes to her?

"You’re pathetic." Isaac calls after him.

He quickly turns to glare at the boy. "For the love of god, shut up."

Isaac sends him another shit eating grin before Stiles leaves the room.

"Hey Man!" Scott greets entuestically.

"Hi, Stiles!" Allison sings.

Stiles simply waves at them before turning his attention to the petite figure in the corner. Her eyes were already on him sending him a knowing smile. When Stiles opens his mouth to say something Allison cuts in. "So, we have all the snacks. Isaac picked the movie-"

"Oh, god…" Stiles groans. "What did he pick?"

"Inception, you dick." The beta calls from the other room.

"Does he have to be here?" Stiles mummers which earns him a light shove from Scott.

Allison and Scott exit the kitchen with bowls in hand as Stiles moves closer to the strawberry blonde.

"How you feeling?" Lydia says with a smirk. She smiles when Stiles tilts his head in confusion. "After last night, I mean."

"Oh! I'm alright." Stiles replies. He makes a mental note to hit either Scott or Isaac for telling the girls about his booze filled night, he assumes it was the ladder. Curse you, Lahey. "Much better than this morning, that's for damn sure." He mummers. He watches her as she moves to the fridge and takes out a bottle of water. "Wait… Who told you about-"

"Have you checked your texts from last night?" She says before taking a sip.

"No." Stiles croaks as he begins to internally panic. He doesn’t remember sending any texts last night and he hasn't been on his phone all day.

Lydia chuckles softly before retreating from the room. Stiles starts to pace and tries to remember pieces of last night.
He was drunk. There was a girl. She kissed him. He was thinking about Lydia. Oh God.
Stiles immediately starts to fumble in his pocket for his phone. His mind goes to the worst scenarios. Had he drunkenly admitted his feelings for her? Had he ruined their friendship? Was she uncomfortable being around him now?
He nervously clicks on his messages and carefully reads their conversation.

12:57pm Stiles: Lydia
12:58pm Stiles: Lydiaaaaa
12:58pm Stiles: Lyds
12:59pm Stiles: Lydia
12:59pm Stiles: Camille Grace
12:59pm Stiles: Martin

1:00am Lydia: what Stiles?

1:01am Stiles: hi

1:02am Lydia: hi?
1:02am Lydia: Jesus, Stiles. I thought someone was dying!

1:02am Stiles: yeah me.
1:02am Stiles: dyingg totalk to you:)

1:03am Lydia: Stiles, are you drunk?

1:03am Stiles: nooooo
1:04am Stiles: and I don’t care for thaat assumption miss martin

1:04am Lydia: my apologies, Mr. Stilinski.

1:05am Stiles: it''s ok! I can never stay mad at youu Lyds
1:05am Stiles: can I call you in a few?

1:06am Lydia: sure stiles

Stiles cringes as he runs his hand down his face. He prays to god that he did not call her. He then checks his recent calls. No outgoing or incoming calls to or from Lydia in the last 24 hours, thank god.

"Hurry up, Stilinski!" Isaac yells.

He huffs in embarrassment before moving into living room. By habit he fills in the empty seat next to Lydia.

"Sorry" He whispers shyly to her as Scott presses play. "About last night" He elaborates when she gives him a questioning look.

"It's ok." She laughs. "You didn't call so I just assumed you fell asleep."

"I guess so."

"You have fun?"

"kinda." he shrugs before getting 'shhh'ed by the other members of the back.

Lydia smiles fondly at him before snuggling into his side. All the tension in him slips away with the contact. He pulls a blanket around them and averts his attention to the movie.

They're nearly half way through the movie when Scott breaks the silence. "Am I the only one that’s struggling to understand what's going on?"

"Nope." Allison chimes in. "All I'm doing is focusing on Leo's beautiful face." Lydia hums in agreement.

"I can't blame you, he's one handsome dude." Scott chuckles. "Do you think he even needs to hit on girls or do you think they just flock to him?"

"Oh, No way he even has to try. He's fucking Leonardo DiCaprio."

"Dude's probably got some killer moves though." Isaac adds. "Like our boy Stiles." He laughs causing everyone to look at him questioningly. He turns to Stiles giving him a grin that makes his stomach drop. He was a pretty good idea where Isaac is going with this and the last thing he wants to do is talk about last night. Especially in front of the girls. Especially in front of Lydia.

"Stiles was putting the moves on some brunette last night. She was pretty cute too, way too cute for him. Beats me why she was interested in you but more power to you, Stilinski."

"Oh really?" Allison says looking from Stiles to Scott with raised eyebrows, clearly curious about the details Scott had left out about last night.

"Oh, yeah. Things even got a little hot and heavy on the dance floor." Isaac continues with a wink to Stiles.

Lydia straightens a little at his side, creating more distance between them. Scott looks between his beta and his best friend. One is wearing a look of triumph the other wearing a look of utter irritation. "Oh damn, look's like shit's hitting the fan." He says pointing at the TV in attempt to avert their attention and break the tension.

_________

Lydia stands from her seat on the couch, trying to be as quiet as possible as to not catch anyone attention. Of course, the move doesn't go unnoticed by not only Stiles but also her best friend.

"Where you going?" Allison whispers.

She mouths 'bathroom', partly to avoid further attention but also because she doesn’t trust the strength of her voice.

She shuts the bathroom door behind her and lets out a breath she wasn't even aware she was holding. She locks the door and makes her way to the vanity. She starts to run the water and wraps her hands around both sides of the sink. Ever since Isaac brought up the events of their boy's night she's had a knot in her throat. She takes a sip of the water she had cupped in her hands. The knot in her throat, however, doesn’t begin to dissipate until she feels a single tear roll down her cheek. She quickly wipes it away before looking at her reflection.

Why does she feel so shaken about Stiles hooking up with another girl? It's not like they're dating. Stiles has a right to see other people. He's not seeing her. They're just spending a lot of time together because they're friends. Is that why he wanted to call her last night, to tell her about hooking up with some hot chick at the bar? I mean they do tell each other everything. It wouldn't be weird if he had told her because they're two single people, who are friends. He's totally free to do whatever he wants, with whoever he wants. They're just friends.

The repeats the last statement over and over to herself.

She cringes at her reflection in the mirror, she looks wrecked. A splash of cold water on her face helps her come to her senses.
You are Lydia Martin. So what if Stiles is going out hooking up with other people? Nothing is stopping you from doing the same.

When she ascends from the bathroom she is greeted by the worried eyes. Allison is standing in the kitchen clearly trying to act busy. "You okay?"

"Of course, I am." Lydia returns as if it is the most ridicioulus question she's ever heard. But truthfully she couldn't be more grateful for concern in Allison's eyes. She reaches for Allison's hand and a sends her a reassuring smile, she knows she can't pull that act with Allison. Allison is the only one who can see through her facade, while except for Stiles.

And I know somewhere inside that cold lifeless exterior, there's an actual human soul. And I'm also pretty
sure that I'm the only one who knows how smart you really are.

She swallows hard before shaking the words from her head. "Now c'mon. Let's go ogle at the beauty that is Leonardo DiCaprio." Lydia says with a wiggle of her eyebrow causing Allison to giggle. As they make their way back into the living room, Lydia struts with her head held high like nothing ever happened. She also conveniently avoids all eye contact with Stiles for the remainder of the night.

Chapter Text

"Pssss Lydia." Stiles voice echoes in her ear for the twentieth time.

Lydia tries to stay focused on the words written on the board in front of her. Then a new voice interrupts her concentration.

"Lydia." Mia, the girl sitting in the desk next to her, whispers. When Lydia looks up at her the girl hands her a small folded piece of paper. "From Stiles." She nods in thanks to Mia before apprehensively opening the note.

Do you think that the Loch Ness Monster exists?

Lydia quickly whips her head around to send him a glare. This is what he has been relentlessly trying to get her attention the last ten minutes for? He simply raises his eyebrows at her, clearly expecting an answer. She rolls her eyes at him and turns back to the board.

When the bell rings Stiles is quick at her heels as she exits the classroom. He clears his throat. "Excuse me, miss Martin."

"Yes, Stiles?" She chimes innocently.

"What are your thoughts?" He asks as he leans next to her locker.

She looks over at him to read his expression. "Oh! You were serious." she chuckles. "I thought that was just a bad joke."

"Nope. Very serious."

She slams her locker and pats his shoulder affectionately. "Well, that's unfortunate." She smirks before ascending down the hallway.

He stands there dumbfounded for a few seconds before chasing after her. She curses his long legs, they make it impossible for her to escape him. "Think about it, Lydia." He mummers. "Before Scott, did you ever think that there was even the smallest possibility that werewolves were real?" He frowns at her until she shakes her head. "Exactly!" He exclaims loudly, earning him some odd looks from surrounding students. He chooses to ignore them. "So who can say that the Loch Ness Monster doesn't exist? Or any other mythical creatures for that matter."

"Is this how you spent the whole period instead of actually learning calculus?"

"Lydia, no one actually learns calculus. We just use your notes." Stiles retorts.

"Touché." Lydia hums.

"So….. Loch Ness Monsters. Real or fake?"

"Fake."

"How do you know?" Stiles exclaims with failing arms. "Have you been to Scotland?"

"No… But those that claim that the Loch Ness Monsters is not a myth also claim that it is a living dinosaur." Lydia says with a chuckle.

"And?" Stiles shrugs.

"And?" Lydia says defiantly. "Stiles, that completely idiotic! 'Eyewitness accounts' describe it as a sauropod which were enormous and known for their long necks. They were terrestrial, AIRBREATHING dinosaurs." Stiles just blinks at her. "Imagine a giraffe living underwater. They would need to come up for air every few seconds. It would be hard to miss an animal of that size emerging from the water, Stiles. It simply doesn’t exist, sorry."

"I don't even know why I'm still surprised about how much you know anymore…" Stiles says running his hands through his hair.

"Well, when you find out your best friend's boyfriend is a werewolf and your whole world flips into a supernatural frenzy, you do some research."

Stiles chuckles half heartedly. "Yeah, who do you think was the one who put together that said best friend's boyfriend was in fact a werewolf? Trust me, I get it."

"Would've loved to be a fly on the wall in that conversation." Lydia laughs as they walk into their economics class.

"He almost ripped my head off, Lydia!"

"And I'll do the same…" Coach interjects from behind them. "if you don't sit down and shut up, Stilinski!" He screams causing Stiles to cup his ears and Lydia to stifle a laugh.

"God, I hate him." Stiles mumbles as they find their seats.

_____________________________

 

"So Lydia…." Ms. Morrell starts as she pulls her chair closer to her desk and shuffles through the papers in Lydia's file. "I know we talked over the summer when we were laying out your schedule but I recently received news regarding a new program that's available for Beacon Hills students."

Lydia arches her brow at her. She's intrigued but skeptical. She hardly had enough room in her life for an after school club.

"The program selects students to go abroad to third world countries. The students help build schools and assist in teaching the children- English, Math, Science, et cetera." The guidance counselor searches Lydia's eyes but when she gets not reaction she continues. "It's a 6 week program and you get credit, of course. Not that you need much more to graduate, Miss Martin." She says with a smirk. "But I think this would be a great opportunity for you. It looks great on college applications and I already cleared it with all your teachers. It was quite obvious you were the perfect applicant and-"

Lydia lets her eyes drop to her lap, her hands twitching as she tunes out the counselor and gets lost in thought. If this opportunity had been presented to her in the past she would have jump at the chance to get out of Beacons Hills for 6 weeks. When her parents were going through their divorce, leaving home was all she could dream of. But things were different now. She had friends, real friends. A pack. She couldn't leave them for that long. What if something happened and she wasn't here to help? What if someone go hurt? She couldn’t bare the guilt. No, she couldn't leave Beacon Hills. She couldn’t leave the pack. She couldn't leave Allison. She couldn’t leave him.

"Does that sound like anything you would be interested in, Lydia?" Morrell's voice calls to her, breaking her out of her internal struggle.

"Umm…" Lydia looks up from her twiddling thumbs. "I'm not sure if it’s the right time…for me."

Morrell raises her brow at her before setting her with a sympathetic look. "I understand, Lydia."

Of course she does. Lydia knows that she knows much more about what goes on in Beacon Hills than she lets on.

"I know the school year is just starting and you have other obligations. But sometimes… you have to do something for yourself. And this program not only helps others but it also helps you." She says sliding a pamphlet across her desk. "Just something to think about." She concludes with a smile.

"I will." Lydia returns the smile and raises from her chair. "Have a good day, Ms. Morell."

__________

 

"I swear, Mr. Harris is the devil reincarnated." Stiles huffs as he slams his laptop closed.

"You're so dramatic." Lydia laughs, her eyes on her notes that are spread across Stiles' mattress.

"I am the least dramatic person that has ever walked the face of the earth." Stiles scoffs. Lydia raises an eyebrow at him. "I see your point." He concedes. "But seriously this essay is kicking my ass."

"What do you have so far?"

Stiles reopens his laptop and begins to read from his word document. "Thermodynastics…" He pauses and looks over at Lydia.

She raises his eyes to him. "I'm listening…."

"That's it."

"What?"

"That's all I got." He bellows, throwing his head down on his keyboard. "It's hopeless." Lydia bites down her lip to prevent from laughing at his melodramatics. "At least this gives Mr. Harris an excuse to be hideously cruel…unfortunately it will be at my expense."

"You're just overthinking, Stiles." Lydia comments raising to her feet. "You just need to get out of your head." She leans against the back of his deck chair and rubs his shoulders comfortingly. "And clearly let go of tension cause….damn." She notes increasing the pressure.

"yeah sure… any ideas?" He sneers.

She pauses, thinking. "Actually… I think I do." She announces when she's hit with an idea. A crazy idea. A risky idea. But an idea non the less.

"I'm all ears." he mumbles. She turns his chair around swiftly, startling him.

"Do you trust me?"

He straightens at the seriousness in her tone. "Implicitly." He replies affectionately.

They silently stare into each other eyes. She gets so lost in his golden irises that she hardly notices that her hands have found the warmth of his cheeks. Then, suddenly, her lips are on his. Stiles freezes in shock but then slowly melts into the kiss. "Lydia…" He whispers against her lips as they part.

The wariness in his voice causes her to open her eyes. "Trust me." She breathes hesitantly. She's not sure if she's repeating the words for him or for herself. All she knows is that she has been never felt this nervous and enraptured in her whole life. Especially not when it came to a boy.

She slowly settles into Stiles' lap, straddling him. She smiles warmly at him before her lips are back on his. It's slow at first, lips and hands exploring each other. Then Stiles hands at gripping her ass and he is lifting them both from his chair. Lydia gasps, both surprised and incredibly turned on by his boldness and strength. He walks them to the mattress, haphazardly shoving her notes to the floor. As he lays her down on the bed she claws at the fabric of his shirt. He gets the hint and rolls the flannel off his arms.

Both of his hands are rested beside her head, his body hovering over her. "Lydia, are you sure about this?"

She responds by pulling him into a passionate kiss. Her hands make their way under his shirt, working the fabric up his chest. He complies by ripping off the garment and tossing it to the floor. His finger find the buttons of her blouse. His eyes meet hers and she nods in silent consent. Stiles stares down at her in awe. Lydia seizes the opportunity and flips them over. She smirks down at him and reaches behind her back to unhook her bra. When her chest is exposed, Stiles quickly takes charge, flipping them yet again. He kisses his way down her body, never once breaking eye contact. The strawberry blonde is left breathless in his gaze. She swears that she has never seen so much tenderness or admiration in someone's eyes than she does right now in those gorgeous whiskey ones.

He hesitates as his fingers finger the zipper to her skirt. She nods and lifts herself so he can slide the fabric down her legs. Bless this boy and his pursuit for consent. She makes a mental note to thank the sheriff for raising such a gentlemen.

She sighs contently as he kisses the inside of her thigh. She's on the edge and he's barely even touched her yet. He nips at the elastic at her hip then hooks his finger around the lacey material, pulling it down until she's left bare. Then his mouth is on her core.

She gasps, throwing her back. "Stiles.." She whispers his name like it’s a prayer.

When she opens her eyes, she is met with darkness. She quickly hoists herself to discover that she is alone and in her own bed.

A dream. It was just a dream.

The confusion washes through her only to be met with frustration. Frustration not only evident on her face but between her legs. She huffs in annoyance as she throws off her covers and proceeds to the bathroom. A cold shower was very necessary.

As she lays in bed that night her mind is clouded with thoughts of whiskey eyes and mole littered skin. She throws her pillow over her face in exasperation. Stiles is one of the best friends she'd ever had. She can't afford to lose that friendship over something as stupid as confused feelings. That all is was after all, she was confused. She didn't actually have feelings for him. Her mind have mixed the feeling of companionship with intimacy. No, Lydia Martin did not have romantic feelings for Stiles Stilinski. She didn't. The idea of simply entertaining that thought alone could ruin their friendship. She wouldn't let that happen.

After another hour of tossing and turning, she had an idea. It was so clear. She needed a distraction. Someone to fill the void of intimacy so she could no longer put Stiles anywhere near that category. That way everything can go back to the way it was. No feelings involved. Yes, a distraction so Lydia wouldn’t stupidity cross the friendship line with Stiles. Friends, that's what they are and that's what she intents for them to stay.

 

______________

 

Lydia had spent the majority of the morning avoiding Stiles. Well, dodging him was more like it. She had successfully dodged him this morning by her locker and between classes in the halls. She had even maintained her focus in all their shared classes even when her body was screaming at her to turn and look at him.

She stalls in doorway to the cafeteria, looking at her table and the people that filled it. Isaac's sat chatting with Kira, a new student that Scott had befriended. Scott and Allison were, of course, were sitting parallel so they could admire each other without distraction. Then there was Stiles. Stiles is perched in his patent spot, next to his best friend. As she glances at the empty seat across from him she thinks about bolting. But the last thing she wants is for people to think somethings up. And she'd barely talked to him all day. She couldn't avoid him forever. It was time for her to face this. She wouldn't let a stupid dream stand in the way of her friendship. Friends, Lydia. Just friends.

"Hey!" Allison lilted as Lydia settled into her chair.

"Hi" Lydia returns trying her best to mimicked her chipper tone. She fails. Thankfully, Allison doesn't seem to notice.

Stiles picks up his head and gives her a warm smile before returning his focus to the book in front of him. Lydia lets out a breath and unscrews the top of her water bottle. Maybe this lunch wouldn't be so difficult after all. Stiles has his eyes in a book. Isaac and Kira are babbling about some TV show she's never heard of. And Scott and Allison are doing their own, disgustingly adorable, thing. This will be a breeze.

A few minutes later Lydia near chokes on her water as she watches Stiles eat his apple. He's only eating an apple, an activity Lydia normally wouldn't think twice about. But it's drawing attention to his mouth. A mouth she hasn't been able to get out of her head since last night. She'd be lying if she said that she hadn't noticed Stiles' oral fixation before. She'd seen what he does to the strings of his sweatshirts and pen caps. (The ladder made it very hard to focus on what Mr. Harris was saying last period.) But now it seemed like she couldn't stop noticing it if her life depended on it. And right now it felt like it did.

She jinxed herself, this was not going to be a breeze. In fact, watching him right now left like some kind of strange torture method. To have what she hasn't been able to stop thinking about, the thing she wants the most, right in front of her and not being able to have it. It was cruel. Lydia wasn't used to not getting what she wanted and honestly she hated the feeling.

Her focus on him is broken by a nudge on the arm. "Hello? Earth to Lydia. You in there?"

"Huh?" She responses weakly.

"Are you okay?" Allison asks solicitously. "You were kind of zoned out there." Lydia nods. "Is it a banshee thing?" Allison whispers, which earns her everyone's attention.

"No.. I'm fine." Lydia reassures everyone at the table. She freezes when her eyes lock on Stiles' worry filled whiskey irises. "I was just lost in thought." She turns to Scott and Allison, who are looking at her expectantly. "Calc homework." She shrugs. Everyone seems to accept this answer but the couple. Lydia needs to escape the litany of questions she sees Allison's mind forming. "Actually now that I think about it, I'm pretty sure I left my AP Calculus text in the chem lab. So I'm gonna go get that." She says quickly raising to her feet. "Talk to you later." Then she rushes to the hallway before her best friend has a chance to interject.

She slows her pace when she reaches her locker. Her forehead lands on the cold blue metal with a thud. She has never felt more idiotic. A voice breaks from her self loathing. "Tough day?"

Lydia hesitantly picks up her head to find a guy leaning against the locker next to her. "What gave it away?" She quips sarcastically.

He laughs. "Aiden." He says putting out his head.

She returns the smile half heartedly before putting her hand it is. She wasn't really in the mood for introductions. "I'm Lyd-"

"Lydia Martin, I know." Of course, he does. "This isn't the first time you've noticed you, Lydia." He smiles. Lydia has to fight the urge to recoil. Really? What was the line he was going with? She looks him over was she contemplates a way to destroy his ego. He was tall and attractive. He has a strong jaw and a built physique. Come to think of it, she had seen him around the halls with his twin. A new students who was exactly Lydia's type. And the perfect distraction.

"So Aiden… You busy next period?"

"Actually, no. I have my free period."

"Perfect."

Chapter Text

"Sometimes people should just be friends."

"That's a ridiculous argument."

"And honestly, for all 6 of them to be paired up with each other in the end would've been….tacky."

"Allison!" Lydia gasped. "Wow. I truly have no words."

"I’m sorry, Lydia. But I speak the truth." She laughs as she closes her locker. She leans against the tan metal to face her best friend. She giggles when she sees Lydia's features are colored with indignation.

"Please don't tell me that you actually enjoyed the Joey and Rachel storyline in season 8?" Lydia pleads.

"Oh god, No! That was just terrible writing." Allison exclaims.

"Thank god…" Lydia sighs. "I got nervous that this conversation was going to be as bad as the 'which guy Evelyn should have ended up with in Pearl Harbor' debate."

"Danny." The brunette coughs.

"Allison…" Lydia warns.

"Sorry." She giggles.

"I will end this disagreement the same way I ended that one… and that is by getting the last word. Joey and Phoebe should have ended up together, just like Evelyn and Rafe did." She quickly retorts before retreating down the hallway.

"Which was by default!" Allison calls after her.

"I'm not listening!" She goads with covered ears. She hauls at the sight of something… uncommon. Stiles is posted up against the doorway to Mr. Yukimura's classroom, flirting with a girl. A girl that Lydia doesn't recognize.

"You can't escape me that easily, Lydia." Allison sings songs from behind her and throwing her arm over her shoulder. "What's wrong?" She asks, concerned by Lydia's flushed complexion.

"Who's that?" She asks with a clear of her throat.

Allison follows her stare. "You mean Malia?"

"Malia?" Allison nods. "Like the werecoyote we recently had to save from being killed by her own father- Malia?"

"That'd be the one." Allison laughs.

"Well, what is she doing here?" She spits out. She's not quite sure if she meant 'what is she doing in beacon hills high' or 'what is she doing talking to Stiles' but either way she didn't feel comfortable.

"Her dad wanted to get her readjusted to a somewhat normal life. Which, for a teenage girl, includes high school." Allison clarifies.

If he really wanted her to have a normal life he would send her far away from Beacon Hills. This town was far from normal. But then again so was Malia. So was Lydia. So were the majority of her friends.

Lydia fights the urge to roll her eyes as Malia laughs loudly at something Stiles had said. She was trying too hard. But she noticed so was Stiles. He clearly wanted to impress the school's new addition.

"Are you alright?" Allison asks, looking from the strawberry blonde to the pair in the doorway.

"Yes, of course. It’s just how do we know that she isn't going to lose control at any given moment. Is a high school really the best place for her to be?" She clears her throat again. "Just thinking about this from a safety aspect."

"Don't worry about it. Scott is teaching her control and all other things present in the werewolf manual. And Stiles is helping her with her transition back to humanity. So it's all good. " Allison consoles. She smiles at her reassuringly before leading them into the classroom.

"great." Lydia mumbles to herself.

Stiles is training Malia on how to be more human. Which, Lydia can tell, will take a lot of time. Stiles spending a lot of time with a gorgeous, tall, bronzed werecoyote. She takes a deep breath to try to calm this sudden queasy feeling in her gut. Then takes one final glance at the pair before pulling her phone out of her bag.

To Aiden: coach's office. 15 minutes.

_________________________________________

 

3 weeks. It has been 3 weeks since Stiles and Malia have gotten together.

Lydia had unwillingly gotten all the details from Kira. Apparently Stiles was coaching her through her first full moon as a human. He had told her to focus on something, something that would calm her down. So she kissed him. The kitsune had found that particularly swoon worthy. Lydia found it nauseating. But that's probably because the details remind her of a time she had to stop a panic attack with a kiss. The memory hits her hard in the gut. She has to shake the thought from her mind, yet again.

It has been a very dull month for Lydia. Her life was void of any and all supernatural threats and she definitely couldn't describe her social life as booming. She, of course, hangs out with Allison. But she always feels guilty. Like she's preventing her from spending time with who she really wants to be with, Scott. The logical side of her brain knows that that's ridiculous. It knows that she is Allison's best friend and that she loves her. But the other side of her brain, the louder side, is constantly screaming "You’re a burden!".

So instead of reaching out Lydia spends her free time in her room, challenging herself with equations and watching movies.

Watching movies alone.

She hasn't been over to Stiles' for a movie night in weeks. I makes sense to her that their little Friday night ritual had come to an end. It started because their best friends were in a relationship and they were alone. Now Stiles has a girlfriend and Lydia is still alone. It makes sense. But that doesn't stop her some missing it. From missing him.

"So Lydia are you in?" Scott's cheerful voice chimes into her thoughs.

She lifts her eyes from the stain on the table she had been staring at. She had completely zoned out about 5 minutes ago and has not idea what they're talking about. "I'm sorry, what?"

Scott's eyebrows furrow. "Do you wanna come bowling tonight?"

Isaac then leans in on her left side. "Aka do you want to crash their double date?"

"Shut up Isaac." Allison scolds.

"Me and Kira bailed so you'd be the fifth wheel." He continues.

"She would not be a fifth wheel!" Allison blurts. She reaches behind Lydia to swat him on the back of the head. He laughs in amusement.

"He's right… wouldn’t it be weird if she came?" Malia adds blatantly.

And there she goes again unashamedly voicing her opinion. Lydia's tongue is sore from the amount of times she had to bite down on it recently. But this time, despite the rudeness, she actually agrees with Malia. It would be weird. She remembers when her and Jackson went on a double date with Allison and Scott, and it would've been uncomfortable if someone else had tagged along. That, however, probably has to do more with the group dynamic, being that they weren't really friends at the time. But still, it would be weird if she crashed their date.

"No, It wouldn’t." Scott explains calmly. Lydia has to close her eyes to stop herself from rolling them. How Stiles could be attracted to someone who constantly needs things explained to her like a toddler is beyond her. "Because Lydia is our friend. Friends enjoy spending time with each other."

Allison's hand covers hers under the table. "Regardless of the situation." She adds softly. Allison knows something is going on with her but Lydia can't even admit it to herself, let alone anyone else. She wants to talk to her about it but then the voice plays in loop in her head.

You're a burden. You're a burden. You're a burden. You're a burden. You're a burden. You're a burden. You're a burden.

"Get out while you still can." Isaac whispers low in her ear.

"So you in?" Scott asks excitedly.

She looks at Stiles, who has been uncharacteristically quiet. He is awkwardly picking at his finger nails and avoiding eye contact.

"C'mon, it'll be fun!" Allison implores. Isaac snorts a laugh.

She smiles at Allison and Scott. She feels bad turning them down but she actually has plans tonight. It's not like she's making up an excuse. Her guilt subsides however when she looks at the other faces at the table. It's clear the other half of the group isn’t excited about the prospect of her coming along. Malia actually looks physically ill at the idea and Stiles' silence is deafening.

"I wish I could but… I actually have plans with my dad tonight."

"What?!" Stiles blurts, causing everyone at the table to jump. He looks from Lydia to Malia, who's looking at him accusingly. He clears him throat and returns to picking his nails.

"Really?" Allison asks, breaking the silence.

"Huh yeah.. We're going out to dinner." She replies, keeping her eyes on Stiles. The boy is clearly fighting the urge to join the conversation. She can see him mentally riffling through twenty questions. She understands why. If anyone knows the ins and outs of her complex relationship with her dad, it’s Stiles. She wanted to tell him. In fact she had dialed his number immediately after she had hung up with her dad. But she never pressed call.

"Do you know where?" Allison asks excitedly.

"This French restaurant we both love. We use to go all the time when I was younger." She smiles and this time it’s genuine. She's glad she can talk to someone about it and show her excitement. Her mother definitely wasn't thrilled about the idea.

"Aw.. That's so cute!" Allison gushes. Stiles begins chewing on his nails.

Scott makes a displeased face, like he just got a sniff of something rotten. "I'm sorry, Scott. I wish I could make it."

"What? No.. It’s not, you. It's not you- It's-" He babbles.

"What was that, Scott?" Allison teases.

He reddens and clears his throat. "It’s nothing." He say, laughing it off. "It's okay, Lydia. I completely understand. Have fun with your dad." Scott continues with a warm smile. She returns the smile and nods at him in thanks. It felt good to have support from her friends.

As the lunch period comes to a close, Lydia watches Stiles and Malia exit the cafeteria. As she focuses on their intertwined hands, she's filled with relief that she won't have to spend her night subjected to their PDA.

_____________________________________

 

Stiles shuffles uncomfortably in his seat. He tosses his phone back and forth in his hands anxiously. He wants to rip off these velcro shoes, which are one size to big, off his feet and drive to her house. He checks the time for what seems like the hundredth time that night. 7:19. He overheard her tell Allison that they were meeting at the restaurant at 7:30. Maybe he should go outside and call her so he can check in, see how she's feeling.

He's just about to stand to walk outside when his phone is torn out of his grip. At this moment, he loathes having a girlfriend that's stronger than him. Not that it's uncommon, most people are stronger than him. "Almost your turn." Malia says.

He groans internally as he watches her turn his phone on silent. "I know I just need to make a quick call-"

"Nope!" She interjects, sliding the phone into her back pocket. "No phone calls. Just bowling." She scolds in a joking manner. Stiles can't find it in himself to smile. "C'mon, Stiles. I haven't bowled since I was like 6."

"Ok, you’re right. I'm sorry." He concedes as his guilt beats out his anxiety. "Let’s bowl."

_____________________________________

20 minutes.

30 minutes.

45 minutes.

An hour.

Lydia sighs as she checks her phone, again. It's been over an hour. Over an hour of staring at the empty seat across from her. Over an hour of sympathetic stares. Over an hour of the waiter coming by asking if she was ready to order. Over an hour of her repeating the statement, "Oh no, I'm still waiting. He'll be here shortly."

"Still waiting, hun?" The waiter says for the fourth time this evening. His face is painted in pity. He's looking at her like she's a little girl that just witnessed her puppy get hit by a car.

She checks the time again. "Can I get an old fashioned with two maraschino cherries?"

"Right away, madam."

Lydia had mastered the skill of being served when she was fifteen. The key to not be carded was confidence. She had picked up the mannerisms from her parents. So when she orders she models after her mother and the way she ponders between being responsible or letting lose. And she copies her fathers drink order. When the waiter returns with her beverage, she gulps it down thinking how he should be across from her drinking the same thing.

She sits in her same seat at the same table she has sat in since she was seven years old. She remembers the dirty looks people would give her father for bring a child to a restaurant this high end. But he would just smile at them as pulled out her chair and whisper to her in a French accent that made her giggle. She once overheard her mother explaining to her friends that he brought her there to show her the way she should be treated on dates. She nearly spits out her drink at the thought. If he could only see the way that all back fired. She needs another.

Two hours, five drinks and zero messages later, it was clear he wasn't showing up. She knew that three drinks ago. It shouldn't be surprising. It isn't. But it still hurts. A hurt that the whiskey isn’t strong enough to numb.

She doesn’t know why she let herself get her hopes up. Her mother had warned her that this would happen. And she knows that if she had talked to him about it, that Stiles would have warned her too.

Stiles. She wants to talk to Stiles.

She stumbles to the bathroom and pulls out her phone. She smiles at his contact picture. She had taken it one night when he passed out while they were studying in his room. His body slouched in his desk chair, his face smushed in his history textbook. She had laid in his bed and listened to the sound of his soft snores as she continued to study. She misses hanging out in that room. She misses laying in that bed. Misses it's soft sheets. Misses it's smell. Misses the boy that it belongs to.

"Hey! This is Stiles and you missed me. Leave a message."

She groans. "Stilesss, pick up." She dials again. "Pick up. Pick up."

________________________________

 

"Goodnight, Stiles." Allison waves after kissing Scott goodbye.

"Night." He replies as Scott hops back in the passenger seat.

Scott watches as she makes it into the house safely. "Dude, are you okay?" He asks turning to the drivers seat.

"Yeah.. Why?" Stiles lies. The jeep's tires squeak on the newly dampened road.

"I can smell your anxiety." Scott explains with a wrinkle of his nose.

"And? Scott, me and anxiety are a packaged deal. That's nothing new." Stiles laughs, hoping to dodge the seriousness of this conversation.

"I know that but it's on a new level tonight. Actually, it has been since lunch." Scott concludes.

"I don't know." He shrugs. "Maybe bowling stresses me out. It can be pretty competitive."

"Stiles… "

Stiles drums his fingers against the steering wheel.

"It's about Lydia isn’t it." Scott asks, silencing the steady beat. He wasn’t expecting Scott to be this forward. He usually beats around the bush a little more.

"What about Lydia?" He replies nearly choking on her name.

"You've been extra anxious ever since she brought up going to dinner with her dad." Stiles shrugs again. Is he that obvious? "Stiles, I'm a werewolf with heightened senses. And you're my best friend. So yeah, I notice these things."

"Can you read minds now too?!" Scott glares at him, exacerbated. "Ok! Yes, I'm worried about her! Her dad's a douche, Scott. I don't want her to get hurt by him again." Stiles admits.

"Then why don't you just reach out to her?"

"I was going to!" He bellows. "But Malia took my phone and put it on silent. Then when she gave it back to me when we dropped her off, it was dead!"

"It's ok, man. When you get home, charge your phone and give her a call."

"Yeah." Stiles sighs. He begins drumming his fingers again. The jeep pulls in front of the McCall household.

Scott puts his hand on Stiles shoulder. "I'm sure she's fine, dude." He reassures. "I'll see you tomorrow. Drive safe."

"Will do." He sends him a half hearted smile before driving off.

His body calls out for his bed as he pulls onto his street. Constant anxiety can really wear the body down. The head lights shine on a figure slumped on his front steps as he pulls into the driveway. He squints, trying to see clearer. He wants to make sure his mind playing tricks on him. A guilt conscience is a powerful thing. He jumps out of his car hastily. "Lydia?" Her head is resting against the metal railing, sleepily. "Lydia." He repeats, this time getting her attention.

"Stiles!" She beams at him, renewed with energy. "Hi!"

As he gets closer he is overcome with the smell of alcohol. Whiskey. He had become very familiar with the scent over the years. Jack Daniels was his dad's favorite. His household reeked of the liquor in the years following his mothers death. The unmistakable scent of whiskey and sadness. Obviously, Lydia's night had not gone the way she wanted it to. "Hey, Lyds." He squats in front of her and resting his hand on her knee comfortingly. "How you doin?"

"Great. Fan-fucking-tastic." She slurs.

"You didn't drive here did you?" He asks looking around for her car.

"Nope." She says with an extra pop of her lips on the 'p'. "Took a cab."

"I'm guessing dinner didn't go so great."

"No! It went great! I have a lovely meal!" She objects. "Well, it wasn't really much of a meal. More like bread and whiskey." She giggles. "But I love whiskey! And the bread was free!"

"And your dad?"

"Didn't show." She continues to laugh but Stiles can see the sadness pooling in her eyes.

"Oh, Lydia." He moves to sit next to her on the step. He stretches his arm across her back, pulling her into his side. "I'm so sorry." He whispers into her hair. Once she's in his embrace, she breaks. He rubs her back until she calms down. She lifts her head to meet his eyes. Stiles wipes away the stray tears. "Why don't we go on inside." She nods. "Noah would be very disappointed if he saw you sitting out here in the cold. He's the town sheriff, ya know. He could have you arrest for not listening to him." He teases trying to get her to smile. "The door's always open, Lydia." He says impersonating his father's voice. It works, she smiles.

Her keeps his arm around her as they make their way into the house. "I tried to call." She says her voice weak. He holds her weight as they climb the chairs so she doesn't lose her balance.

"My phone was dead." He states, knowing it's over simplifying the situation. "I'm sorry."

He plops her down on the side of the bed and bends in front of her, removing her shoes. He moves to his dresser and pulls out a pair of pajama pants and a baggy tee shirt. He places the folded laundry on her lap. Part of him wants to help her so she doesn't stumble and hurt herself. But he knows it wouldn't be appropriate. "I'll be right back." He says before retreating to the kitchen to get her some water.

When he returns her dress is draped over his desk chair and she is curbed up in the bed. He creeps further into the room, trying not to wake her. He gently places the glass of water on the night stand. Then quietly picks up a clean tee shirt and his pillow and makes his way toward the hallway. Her voice causes him to pause in the doorway. "Where are you going?"

"I'm just gonna go sleep on the coach. Get some sleep." He says turning back to the hall.

"Stiles, please don't leave me alone." She pleads. The vulnerability in her voice breaks his heart.

He knows it's not the best idea, sleeping in the same bed with a girl that isn’t his girlfriend. But she isn't just some girl. She's Lydia and she needs him to be there for her. With what she's been through tonight, it's the least he can do. "Of course." He fluffs his pillow and slides into the open spot beside her.

After he switches off the lamp, the room is filled with the soft sound of Lydia's sniffles. He wants to say something, anything to make her feel better. But his words fail him.

She curls into his side, her head resting under his chin. "It was so embarrassing, Stiles. Sitting in that restaurant…alone." She cries.

"He's an idiot." He consoles. His fingers trace a path from her shoulder to the top of her arm. "Anyone that wouldn't show up for Lydia Martin is an idiot."

He feels her lips twitch into a soft smile. "How was your date?"

"It was alright." He wants to tell her the truth. That it sucked because he couldn't stop worrying about her. But he doesn't.

"Was she nice to you?"

"Malia?" she nods. Lydia hasn’t really seen the best sides of Malia. There always seems to be some tension between them. He hopes that changes. He wants his best friend and his girlfriend to become friends, eventually. "Yeah, she was."

"Good."

Their even breaths match. His eye lids become heavy. He feels himself starting to doze off.

"Stiles?" Her breath seeps through his cotton tee and warms his chest.

"Mmhmm?"

"You know how you asked me if I had a Tiffany's?"

"Yeah." He answers, recalling the night she had told him about the park where she used to go on picnics with her parents.

She hesitates for a few moments. Stiles begins to think she fell asleep. "You're my Tiffany's." She whispers sleepily causing the small warmth of her breath to spread through his body. He wants to reply but he's at a loss for words. So he softly kisses the top of her head. They both drift into sleep.

 

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Chapter Text

1:51pm - I’m sorry about last night, honey. Something came up and I couldn't get away. Dinner on me soon xo -dad

Lydia clutches her phone as she reads those words, over and over. If she wasn't in such shock she's sure she'd be fuming. She can't believe how unceremoniously he's apologizing for standing her up. If something had truly come up, he could have at least shot her a text so she didn’t sit there expecting him for hours. God, is it too much to ask for some common courtesy from her own fucking father.

She throws her phone across the room and curls back into her sheets. She squeezes her pillow, trying to get some comfort. But her bed feels foreign. Like it doesn't belong to her. Which is absurd because it's that same one she has had since she was fourteen years old. She inspects the sheets but finds nothing out of place. Her hands stretch for her giraffe stuff animal, her fingers stroke it's soft fuzz. One night Stiles had told her a story about when he had visited her after the attack at the video store. He said she was ridiculously high on her medication. He had asked about what at happened the night before. She had told him she had saw a mountain lion (a story that Stiles was not buying). Then when he had held up this very same stuff animal Lydia was convicted that it too was a mountain lion. At the time Stiles said he was incredibly frustrated but throughout the story he wore the biggest smile. Lydia's mouth twitches at the memory. She loves that smile. That bright smile that reaches his eyes. A true, genuine smile. Her stomach drops when she thinks about this morning. She squeezes her pillow again.

The sunlight had loomed over her closed eye lids and she instantly felt the warmth of Stiles' presents. His arms were rapped around her waist, his long fingers connected below her rib cage. She felt his soft breath against her neck. Usually in a situation like this she would instantly panic. Lydia never liked sleeping in the same room as someone, let alone the same bed. At sleepovers she would pretend to her asleep and kick any girl that was breathing too loud. She wouldn't even consider spending the night with a guy after a hook up. She valued her personal space too much. But this was different…comfortable, warm. Stiles hums against her ear, sleepily pulling her closer to him. She's just about to fall back into him but she's hit with a realization. Stiles has a girlfriend. Stiles has a girlfriend that is not her. This embrace no longer feels warm, but stolen. These arms aren't meant to be wrapped around her, but intended for Malia.

She turns in his arm causing him to hum again but he does not wake. Lydia admires him in the morning light. It's the first time in a long time that he actually looks his age, like a seventeen year old boy instead of a man constantly overflowing with anxiety. He looks peaceful. His eyelashes cast shadows over his mole littered skin. The corners of his mouth jerk, displaying his dimples. When she looks at his cupid's bow she can’t help but think about kissing him. Kissing every inch of his face. She wants to kiss him awake so she can see those beautiful whiskey eyes. She wants him so much that it terrifies her. So instead she slides out of his arms.

She successfully manages to maneuver out of bed without causing him to stir. She slips back into her dress, folds his clothes and places them on the edge of his bed. She thinks about writing him a note, at least something to say thank you, but she just wants to get out of this house. As she takes one last look at him, her heart aches. Her body is calling out to him, begging to be in his arms again. But her mind is screaming 'Get out now!'. At that moment, she doesn't care that she doesn't have a car or anyway to get home. All she can think about is how she is struggling to breath. She runs out the door.

The sidewalk is damp from the morning dew and cold against her bare feet. Her heels swing in her hands to the same beat as her pounding head. She knows she should be thinking about what happened at dinner, how much she had to drink, how her father had let her down. But the only think that comes to mind as she walks down the quiet street is how her life had gotten to this point. To the point that she could not longer deny the fact that she was in love with Stiles Stilinski.

The tears begin to roll down her cheeks, forming a puddle on her pillowcase. There's a knock on the door. She doesn’t answer, hoping that her mother will assume she's asleep and go away. But then the door opens. Lydia shields her face with her blanket, she doesn’t want to explain the waterworks to her mother.

Footsteps creak in the doorway. "Lydia?" It's not her mother.

"Hi, Allison." Lydia responses, her voice muffled by the blanket.

"Hey. I tried calling," She starts calmly, "But it was going straight to voicemail. So it just want to check in, see how last night went." Lydia turns, revealing her red eyes and blotchy face. "Oh my god, Lydia." Allison rushes toward her rapping her arms around her. "That bad huh?" All Lydia can do is nod. "I'm so sorry." She consoles, rubbing her back.

"Sorry about not answering, umm, I think I may have broken my phone." Lydia explains with a halfhearted laugh, pointing at broken device on the floor.

"yeah," Allison chuckles, "looks pretty dead to me. Damn Lyds, you're much stronger then you look." She jokes, squeezing Lydia bicep.

"It's not so much strength as it is built up aggression."

"So what happened?"

"He stood me up at the restaurant. Didn't even bother calling or texting."

"Wow. What a dick."

Lydia sighs. "So I sat at a table by myself and drank. A lot."

Allison gives her a sad smile. "You should have called me, Lyds. I would have picked you up. How did you even get home? A cab?"

"Well… yes and no." Lydia shrugs.

Allison tilts her head. "What does that mean?"

"I took a cab but I didn’t go home, not until this morning at least."

The brunette stares at her expectantly. "Well… where did you go?"

Lydia lowers her head. "To see Stiles." When Allison stays quiet, she lifts her eyes to read her expression.

"Oh," Allison chirps as they make eye contact, "were you expecting me to be surprised? Hold on." She clears her throat. "What!? You went to see Stiles!? Stiles Stilinski?! No way! I'm sorry Lydia but I'm going to need a few minutes to wrap my head around this."

Lydia slaps her knee. "Shut up." She demands but she can't stifle the laugh bubbling in her throat.

Allison smiles at her, happy to see her best friend laugh. "So are we gonna talk about it?"

"About what?" Lydia asks, hoping that playing dumb will help her avoid the upcoming conversation. "My dad? I've said all there really is to say. He sucks, end of story."

"No, Lydia." Allison shakes her head. "About Stiles."

Lydia laughs. "Why would I wanna talk about Stiles?" She knows this act won't work on Allison but she's still gonna give it a try.

"About your feelings for him." Lydia bows her head. "I haven't brought it up because I knew that when you were ready to talk about it you would come to me. I know that you like to figure things out by yourself. But I can see how him being with Malia is effecting you and I just can't stay quiet anymore. Not when my best friend is hurting."

The tears return in her eyes, trailing down her cheeks. "I love him." She confesses through sobs. "I'm in love with him." She feels broken down but also filled with a sense of relief, finally saying those words aloud instead of keeping them bottled up. "And there-there's nothing I can do about it." She collapses into Allison's open arms.

Allison pulls back to look her in the eyes. "I completely understand, I do." She wipes the tears from Lydia's cheeks. "But there is absolutely something you can do about it. You can tell him how you feel."

Lydia flops down onto her bed, a frustrated huff escaping her as she lands. "No. I can't."

"Why not?" The huntress ask, vexed.

"Because, Allison.." She starts, rising on her elbows. "That wouldn't be fair to him." When Allison's eyebrow crease in confusion she continues. "He is in a relationship now. His first relationship. We both know how important those are. Confessing my feelings to him now would just be… cruel. I had my chance with him and I was too stupid to realize it."

"Before I begin to tell you how completely wrong you are, I have to ask, Why didn’t you say anything before?" Lydia frowns. "Lydia, I know you. I could tell you had feelings for him months ago, before Malia."

"You could?" Lydia sniffles.

"Yes, it’s not like you were being very subtle about it." Allison laughs. "You started acting, I don’t know, a little off. At first I thought it was a banshee thing then I realized it only happened when Stiles was around. It's like you were nervous. And Lydia Martin does not get nervous around guys."

"Those damn dreams." Lydia mumbles to herself. Of course, not quietly enough.

"What dreams?" Allison asks, curiosity filling her features.

"I- um- I may have, um, had a sex dream about Stiles." She confesses, scratching the back of her neck.

"That's normal though you can't control your subconscious. Though I really wish you could." Allison shakes her head like she trying to remove an unwanted though.

"That's what I thought!" Lydia exclaims. "I thought it was just that I was alone and hadn't had any sexual interaction in a while. But then when that was taken care of-"

"With Aiden." Allison interjects, with a disapproving look. Lydia wishes that she had never caught the two of them seeking out of the janitors closet between third and fourth period.

"Yes, with Aiden." Lydia rolls her eyes. "But then the dreams became more…" Lydia looks around, as if anyone else was around to hear. "domestic." She whispers.

Allison bursts out laughing. "I'm sorry. What? You're going to have to be more detailed than that." She says, a devious smile plastered on her face. Lydia wants to hit her for being so amused but this but if the tables were turned she knows she would be acting the same way.

"The dreams weren't about sex anymore. They were of us going on cheesy dates and cuddling." Her face twist in pain, like explaining this physically hurt her. "and going food shopping together!" She exclaims.

"Oh the horror!" Allison mocks.

"It’s terrifying, Allison!"

"Oh my god. You really are in love with him." Allison utters. Her mouth hangs open in shock but quickly twists into an excited smile. "Oh my god! Do you know how long I've wanted this to happen? You and Stiles, me and Scott. It's perfect! That's why I set you guys up for winter formal! Can you imagine all the adorable double dates? Not to mention, you two are like a match made it heav-"

"Allison." Lydia bellows, cutting off her rambling. "You are forgetting one very important detail. Stiles has a girlfriend! And news flash, it’s not me!" She hates that she's giving Allison so much attitude but she can't help her frustration. She wishes it was as easy as Allison makes it seem.

"Oh yes, Malia. A girl he's been dating for- what? A month?"

"3 weeks." Lydia corrects.

"Exactly! Not even a month!" Allison bursts out with waving arms. She takes a deep breath, settling herself. "Yes, Stiles has a girlfriend that he has been dating for a few weeks." She confirms calmly. Then she rests her hand on Lydia's arm and looks directly in her eyes. Her eyes pleading, like she's begging for her to understand. "But, Lydia, That boy has been in love with you most of his life." The words fall from her mouth slowly and full of emphasis. "Since you were in like the third grade. Even I know that and I haven't lived her very long." Allison laughs.

Lydia shakes her head. Sure, Stiles use to have a crush on her. But love, that’s drastic. If he ever was in love with her that ended the moment he got to know the real her. He has seen most vulnerable and worse sides of her. Stiles has seen her for what she really is, a mess. No one could possible love that. She thought she would be out of tears by now but they pool her eyes again, blurring her vision.

Allison rests her arms around her shaking shoulders. "Danny's party is tonight." Allison says in a chipper voice. "Everyone knows Lydia loves a good party." Lydia snorts a laugh and roughly rubs her burning eyes. Allison is trying her best to cheer her up and she loves her for it. Lydia's smile quickly turns to a frown as Allison adds, "Stiles will be there." The brunette rubs her back comfortingly as she releases a long sigh. "All you need is a little liquid courage to tell him how you feel." She sends her a reassuring smile. "Stiles and Malia, that's a fling. What you two have, that's the real deal."

 

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Stiles would be lying to himself if he said that he wasn’t disappointed to wake up in an empty bed this morning. He usually loves having the ability to stretch out. He remembers how excited he was when his parents got him, what his mother called, his "big boy bed". He loved the extra room it gave him. All the sleeping positions were in the palm of his hand. However, ever since he has only been able to sleep one way. In the center of the bed, with plenty of room on both sides. So we would complain when Scott would sleep over and demand he'd scooch over. And if he was telling the truth, he hates how much room Malia takes up when she spends the night. He liked having his own space, the middle of the bed was his comfort zone. But this morning, with his limbs filling the space Lydia had occupied a few hours prior, he felt cold. Then he feels a pang of guilt. He shouldn’t have spent the night in a bed with a girl that wasn't his girlfriend. He shouldn’t have wrapped his arms around her and fell asleep in the comfort of her neck. But that guilt is being overthrown by a deeper feeling in his gut.

He can't really find the words to describe the feeling he has. Someone could offer him a thousand dollars to do so and he would still fail to find the right words. All he knows is that, after last night, it feels like something has shifted. Something big, even though he's not exactly sure what, happened between him and Lydia.

The cold metal of his keys fumbles between his anxious fingers. He had spent most of the day trying to talk himself out of it, but he had to see her. He turns the key in the ignition. He knows that he will see her in a couple hours, at Danny's party, but he can't wait. He has to see her now. No distractions, just them. The tires screech against the pavement as the jeep races to her house.

As he slams the car door and starts up the pathway, he forgets every word that he'd rehearsed on the ride over. His left foot hovers over the cement trying to decided to move forward or back. Forward. He shakes off his nerves and pushes the doorbell, praying that once he sees her everything will click into place. His eyes are trained on his blue Nikes as the door unlocks.

"Stilinski." Stiles stomach drops as he looks up to see Aiden leaning against the open doorway. He can honestly say that out of all the scenarios that played out in his head, Aiden wasn't in a single one. Stiles tries to find his words as they stare at each other. "Can I help you with something?" Stiles wants to smack that smug smile off his face.

"uh, I was-"

"Stiles?" Stiles peeks over Aiden's shoulder to find Lydia standing on the stairs.

"Hey." He replies, awkwardly. It's fight or flight. Punch Aiden square in the jaw and steal Lydia away. Or run.

"What are you doing here?" She asks as she appears next to Aiden in the doorway.

Stiles eyes up his competition. Aiden's tall and broad. Even if he wasn’t a werewolf, Stiles is certain he could still kick his ass. So flight it is. "I-um. I came to see if you needed a ride to Danny's tonight since Allison's car is gonna be pretty full." He fumbles on his words. "But I can see that you already have that taken care of." He gestures toward Aiden. The words come out more bitter sounding than he had planned. Run, Stiles. Get out of there. Run.

"Stiles, I-" He can't stand the pitying look in her eyes.

He cuts her off. "So I- I guess I'll just see you at the party then." Retreat. Retreat. Retreat. "Ok, bye." He rushes down the front stairs and toward the street, not daring to look back. He waits until he is two block away until he pulls over to the side of the road. As soon as he puts the jeep in park he throws his head against the steering wheel.

Shame and guilt now overshadow whatever he was feeling before. How could he be so naïve? Of course nothing has changed. And nothing ever will. Lydia will always only see Stiles has a friend. Whatever he thought was happening last night was because she was drunk and upset. But none of this matters. He has a girlfriend. And said girlfriend is expecting him at a party. A party with his friends and most importantly booze. Lots and lots of booze.

 

______________________________________

 

"Allison!" Lydia shouts when she spots her best friend leaning against Danny's kitchen island. She pushes her way through the crowd of drunk teens. She doesn’t have the patience to her polite.

"There you are!" Allison cheers. "Took you long enough to get here."

"Yeah.. I know." Her eyes frantically scan the room. "Have you seen Stiles?"

"I saw him a few minutes ago in the living room but-" Allison moves closer to her, inspecting her face. Then she grabs Lydia by the elbow and drags her to the nearest hallway. She looks around but the only people within five feet is a couple who’s aggressively making out against a closet door. "What happened?"

"Well I was planning on talking to Stiles tonight…"

"But? I can tell there's a butt." " Allison bursts out impatiently. "I'm sorry." Allison adds when she's met with Lydia's bewildered eyes. "I'm just super invested in this and I may have had some of Danny's infamous jungle juice." She admits with a shake of her now empty solo cup.

"Anyway," Lydia starts with a shake of her head. Her thoughts are going a thousand miles a minute. "I was going to talk to him when I got to the party. But first I needed to end things with Aiden. I know we didn’t have an actual relationship but I think he thought it might be going in that direction so I needed to end things. So he wouldn’t get hurt-"

"Plus you don’t want to be with anyone but Stiles." Allison interjects loudly. Lydia gives her a pointed look before checking to see if anyone had heard her. "Sorry." She whispers. "Continue."

"So I invited Aiden over to talk and a few minutes later Stiles shows up!" Lydia exclaims in a low tone. Allison gasps. "You should have seen the look on his face, Allison! Now he thinks something is going on when I was actually ending things!" She holds her hand over her racing heart. "I think I might have a panic attack." God, that would be ironic.

"Lydia, breath. Everything's going to be fine. All you have to do is find Stiles and explain the situation." Lydia nods. "I'll help you find him." Allison grabs here wrist and pulls her back into the herd of people.

With every passing minute, Lydia grows more anxious. Every second she fails to track down Stiles, the pit in her stomach doubles in size.
Her and Allison had split up, her covering the east side of the house and Allison checking the west side. She had always loved Danny's house. When they were younger and they would have playdates, she would walk wander around admiring it's beauty. She imagined growing up and living here with Jackson. He would be a doctor or a lawyer and she would be his glamourous housewife, cooking him lavish dinners. Lydia had changed a lot since then. She had bigger dreams for herself and she no longer could see herself living here. She now sees herself as successful biologist who would come home to her studio apartment after a long day to Stiles waiting for her with a glass of wine and take out. Now she hates this house for it enormous size. She was convinced she would never find Stiles in this swarm of people.

"Hey." Isaac smiles as he appears to her side. "Are you ok?" Lydia nods, eyes still scanning the sea of bodies. "You want a drink? That usually helps people when they're nervous."

Lydia tilts her head at him, confused. Isaac taps the bridge of his nose. Of course, chemo signals. "I could use about twelve." She jokes trying to slow her racing heart. Isaac can definitely hear it, regardless of the blaring music. She stand on her tipping toes to get closer to his ear. "You haven't seen Stiles, have you?"

"Not in a while, no." He says with a shake of his head. "The last time I saw him he was at the bar. But he mentioned something to Scott about going outside to get some fresh air so maybe check the back deck." He shrugs.

"Ah, thank you!" She quickly kisses his cheek before pushing her way to the backyard.

Allison yells her name from across the room, waving her arms. When she gets her attention, she points to the backdoor. Lydia raises a thumbs up and mouths a quick thank you before bursting through the French doors. In her hast she almost runs into a group guys playing a game of beer pong. Then she sees him. The unmistakable, flannel covered figure of Stiles Stilinski. He stands on the empty side of the deck, leaning over the railing, twirling a beer bottle loosely between his hands.

She opens her mouth to speak but her mouth is dry. Her mind goes blank. C'mon Lydia, this Stiles. You can talk to him. Say something, anything. "Hi." She squeaks. Well, it's a start.

His body shudders causing him to nearly drop his drink. He turns hesitantly. "Hi." He repeats. His voice sounds strange, detached.

"I wanted to talk to you." The tone of her voice lacks control. One second it's high, loud and the next it's low, muffled.

"Ok." He nods and clears his throat. "What's up?" His eyes drop to the wood planking, his feet shuffling.

"Ok, um. A few things," She bites the side of her cheek. "First, Aiden and I- we aren't together. And when you came by that was-" She stops when Stiles starts chuckling. "What?"

"I’m sorry." He apologizes but he's still laughing. "It just gotta ask. Is this going to be like one of those times where you ask for my opinion and I give you some advice but you end of doing the exact opposite so I look like an idiot?" His words are harsh, bitter.

"What?" She holds her hand to her stomach like he had just punched her. "No." He's her best friend, of course she values his opinion. The fact that he doesn't know that hurts her. "No, of course not."

"Good" He takes a long sip of his beer. "Because I think the guy is scum. I've gotten bad vibes from him since the second I meet him. He's not a good guy, Lydia." When he looks back it her his harden features soften. "And you're way too good to be with a guy like that."

"Really?" She smirks, the heaviest lifting from her chest. She steps closer to him.

"Really, Lyds." He rests his hands on her shoulders. "You deserve to be with someone who appreciates you. Someone who gets you. Who gets that you are so much more than just beautiful, they see how smart and funny and kind you are." Someone like you. She moves closer, reaching for one of the buttons on his shirt. "You know, someone who makes you feel good-" She smiles. He doesn’t realizes it but he's describing himself. "Like how I feel with Malia."

This time it feels worse than a punch, like he had just shot her in the stomach. Who knew that three syllables, a name, could hurt so much.
She shallows what feels like vomit rising in her throat. She rises her head to send him an understanding nod.

"And second of all?" He asks.

"Huh?"

"You said first of all. Was there a second of all?"

"Oh, yeah…" She mumbles. She wants to tell him but then she thinks of the day that Jackson had pushes her up against the lockers. He told her that she ruins everything. He was right. But she wouldn't ruin this for Stiles.

"Lydia?"

You ruin everything! You ruin everything! You ruin everything! Jackson's voice echoes in her head.

"No…" She twists the ends of her hair, anxiously. "No that was all of it. The whole all." She laughs.

"Ok…" His eyes scan her expression. She tries to loosen up. "Ok." He nods with a smile. "I'm gonna go in and get another." He says with a shake of his empty bottle. "I'll see you in there?"

"Definitely." She replies with a forced smile.

As Stiles walks inside, Lydia takes his place against the railing. She takes a few deep breaths to prevent the unfallen tears in her eyes from leaving any trace. Then she straightens and returns to the party. She'd intended on finding Allison but the only thing she manages to see, besides the hoards of drunk adolescences, is Malia and Stiles groping each other in the living room. The sting of salt water reappears in her eyes. She had to get out. She fishes her keys out of her pocket and makes a dash for the door. The wind muffles out the sound of a voice calling her name. She doesn't stop walking until she realizes it’s Allison.

The huntress runs and blocks the path to her car. She wraps both hands around Lydia's forearms. "What happen?" She asks, her eyes wide with concern.

Lydia bites down hard on her lip, hoping that the pain with distract her from the burning in her eyes. "He's happy, Allison." A tear breaks free. "She makes him happy. That's all I want for him, happiness. He deserves it."

"Lydia.. He-"

"Maybe you’re right." She interjects. Allison's forehead cringles. "Maybe it is just a fling. Maybe it isn't. I don't know. But what I do know is that I won't be the one to ruin it." Allison shallows her words and nods. Lydia wipes away her stray tear and clears her throat. "Now enough of this pity party. Go inside and enjoy the real party."

"Only if you're coming with."

"I'm not in much of a party mood." Lydia laugh halfheartedly. "I'm just gonna head home."

"I'll go with you." Allison insists walking toward the passenger side.

Lydia grabs her elbow. "No! Go inside and have fun." Allison frowns. "Scott's probably looking for you."

"Lydia-" Allison begins to protest as Lydia gets behind the wheel.

"I'll be fine!" She sends her friend one last reassuring smile before driving off. Lydia looks at the glowing house in her rearview. Allison remains on the walkway, her arms folded. She wishes she was coming with her, no denying that she could use the company. But the voices return in her head.

You're a burden! You ruin everything! You're a burden! You ruin everything!

Her night was ruined but she wouldn’t ruin Allison's.

When she arrives home, she's relieved to find her mother's car missing from the driveway. Her mother would be shocked with her early arrival home which would lead to a game of twenty questions. However she does play the game with herself as she lays flat on her bed. She stares blankly at the ceiling. How was she going to continue pretending that she was fine? How would she face Stiles and Malia everyday? If everything was going to go back to normal, like she wanted, she gonna need some time. She needs space. She needs to get away from Beacon Hills, at least for a little while. The twirl of her ceiling fan is almost hypnotic. It's rhyme helps clear Lydia's mind just enough that something occurs to her. She did have a way out. She leaps from her bed and toward her laptop. Her fingers dance quickly over the keyboard.

Dear Ms. Morrell:

Chapter Text

Stiles tightens the straps of his heavy backpack before pushing through the cafeteria doors. The sunlight shinning off the patio is refreshing change from the dim atmosphere of his bedroom. He has been out of school and sick in bed for the last three days. He didn't want to admit, to anyone, that those "sick" days were really mental health days. But they were very necessary. He needed some time- to himself and away from Lydia. Some time to accept the current situation. Some time to get over her for good. Three days definitely wasn't enough but that's the most his dad would allow. His feet stutter against the pavement as he hears the familiar voices of his friends. Whether he's ready or not, it's time. Time to see her. Time to pretend that everything's ok. Without raising his eyes he stops in front of the table and slinks in backpack off his shoulders, placing it down in an empty seat.

"Stiles!" Scott cheers, halting conversation at table. "Good to have you back!" Stiles lifts his eyes to his best friend and returns a bright smile. He missed Scott's constant positivity. Positivity was definitely something Stiles needed more of in his life right now, oppose to the heavy negativity he had need stewing in the last few days. "How you feeling?" Scott asks with pinched brow. It's amazing how quickly he goes from energetic puppy to concerned alpha.

"I'm good…" He quickly glares at the faces of the bodies filling up the table. No Lydia in sight. "Feeling better. What were you guys talking about?" He asks, not because he's interested but in hopes that a change in subject will stop Scott from discovering that he's lying. He isn't feeling better, not even slightly, but he doesn’t want to talk about it.

"That Isaac's an idiot." Kira chimes in.

"Oh, so we are all just reviewing things we already knew? Well, in that case I'd like to contribute that the sky is blue." Stiles teases, laughing into his water bottle before talking a spit.

"Hilarious, Stilinski." Isaac says in forged amusement. "I'm really thrilled to have you back. I missed that golden sense of humor of yours."
Stiles gives him an enthusiastic thumbs up. "I'm not wrong, Kira!"

"Lagos is a city! It's not a country!" Kira slams her palm against the table.

"Now I'm confused!" Malia yells over her.

"Ok...Lagos is a city. That-" Kira explains her fingers drawing shapes in the empty space in front of Malia. "CITY-" She sneers at Isaac. "Is in Nigeria which is a country."

"So what does Africa have to do with this?" Malia asks her eyes nearly crossed in confusion.

"Africa is a content. Nigeria is a country within that content." Kira describes calmly. "Get it?" Malia nods. Stiles smiles to himself. Kira is exactly the kind of friend Malia needs. She's kind, understanding and most importantly very patient.

"Kira's right." Allison chimes in, lifting her eyes from her phone. "Lagos is a city in Nigeria." Kira makes a victorious 'whoop' sound as Isaac disbelieving snatches the device out of Allison's hand.

"How did you guys even start talking about this?" Stiles laughs. African geography was a random subject, even for them.

"We were trying to figure out how close she is to Cape town." Isaac mumbles, his fingers still scrolling on the screen.

"Isaac thought she'd be closer to Nigeria. When in actuality, she's closer to Kenya." Kira adds sticking her tongue out at him.

"And the mention of Nigeria lead to this whole debate." Allison waves her hands between the two of them. "And to headaches for the rest of us." She teases.

"Hold on, She? Who's in Africa?." He says loudly enough to break up the chatter at the table. Everyone stops what they're doing and stares blankly at him. Then they all look at each other.

"He's kidding, right?" Isaac asks looking at Scott.

Stiles starts to internally panic. "Who's in Africa?" He repeats.

"She didn’t tell him." Scott asks, turning to Allison. She shrugs.

"Scott." Stiles barks, the panic now evident in his voice.

"Lydia." Scott responses in a low voice. "Lydia's in Africa."

Stiles laughs, thinking they're fucking with him. They continue to stare at him. "Wait, seriously?"

"Seriously." Scott nods.

"There's this program where high school students are selected go to third world countries to help build schools and teach the children. So Lydia's in Tanzania right now teaching some math." Allison smiles.

"Honestly, there's no one better for the job." Kira adds with a smile.

"Yeah… if she can teach Malia, she can teach anyone." Isaac mumbles, earning him a punch in the arm from Malia.

Stiles scratches the back of his neck trying to figure out how Lydia went from partying at Danny's on Saturday to building schools in Tanzania on Thursday. "How- This happened so fast."

"Yeah… Ms. Morrell had mentioned the idea to her months ago but at the time she wasn't really interested. Then she seriously started to consider it. So she emailed Morrell over the weekend and she said she knew of a group that was leaving this week that had a few spots open. And just like that Tuesday morning she's on a flight to Florida to meet her group. Crazy." Allison shakes her head and takes a bite of her granola bar.

"So…How long will she be gone?" Stiles asks. He continues eating his lunch and trying his best to act casual. He's going for unfazed but he feels flustered.

"She's suppose to arrive in Tanzania on Friday and then she'll be there for six weeks."

Stiles wishes he hadn't continued stress eating his lunch because he nearly chokes.
Six weeks? Six weeks without seeing Lydia?
Wait… Maybe this is a blessing in disguise. An opportunity to get over her. The space he was talking about, this is it.
"Good for her. I think it will be a really amazing experience for her." He concludes with a nod to Allison. She smiles back. Scott stares at him, his forehead crinkled, as everyone else at the table breaks off into separate conversations. Stiles avoids the incongruous glares from his best friend.

When the bell rings and the group goes their separate way, Malia loops her hand into his elbow. "We should add geography to our study list. It confuses me." Stiles attempts a laugh but his thoughts are with the empty seat that will be to his left next period.

 

_____________________________

 

It's been nearly 5 weeks… 32 days… 765 hours, since Stiles found out that Lydia was gone. Not that he was keeping track. He had not once thought about the missed study sessions and late night chats. He didn't miss the sight of her petite figure stretched across his bed, her legs swaying in the air above her, her auburn curls contrasting with his blue comforter and falling in her face as she focuses on her math notes. He doesn't miss the crinkle between her eyebrows that appears when she concentrating or the way she ties up her hair in a loose bun when she's frustrated; she always has two hair ties around her wrist for when that happens. No, he's completely fine with the view of his empty bed from his seat at his desk. Completely fine with the quiet and lack of lavender, the scent of Lydia's shampoo because it reminds her of her grandmother, in the air. He is fine.

He stares at the blank email on his screen. The blinking type bar is mocking him.

"Dear Lydia," delete.
"Lydia," delete.
"Hey Lydia…" delete.
"Lydia, hi!" He repeatedly pounds the backspace key and slams his head on his desk in defeat.

A week ago Allison had mentioned that she has heard from Lydia, an announcement that certainly took his attention away from whatever Malia and Kira were gabbing about. Stiles frowns, thinking of the four unanswered texts he had sent her.

"How's she doing?" Scott asks excitedly.

Before Allison can respond Stiles cuts in. "So her phone works?"

"Uh-" Allison raises one brow in a questioning fashion. "No, she shut it off before she got there. Not that she would have much service, third world country and all." Allison teases. She smiles as Stiles frowns. "But they have some access to internet so she sent me an email."

Ever since Stiles has been trying to compose an email. And ever since, he has failed. He could ask her questions about her trip but he already knows basically everything after hounding Allison. He could fill her in on what’s going on in Beacon Hills but since she's been gone he can’t think of a single interesting thing that has happened.

He exits out of his email, opting to scroll through his newsfeed instead. Lydia may not have a phone but other students on the trip with her certainly do. She's tagged an a album posted by a guy named Levi Reid. Stiles curiosity, of course, gets the best of him as he begins to clicking through the album. His eyes immediately shoot to Lydia in every photo. Then he notices Levi's arm's constant presents around her waist. Stiles finds his face getting heated as continues through the pictures. He doesn't think there is a single photo where he is not touching her in some way or another. Who is this guy? His detective nature kicks in as he opens a new tab and googles "Levi Reid". It doesn’t take long to match articles to his profile. And it only takes a few minutes of stalking for Stiles to be completely annoyed. Levi is from Australia. He is an honors scholar, star athlete in track and soccer and an animal lover. Not to mention his heavy involvement in several charities.

Lydia has always been attracted to star athletes, ever since the sixth grade. That was one of the reasons Stiles tried out for the lacrosse team freshmen year. But he was very far from captain material. Levi would have little to no difficulty matching her in intellectual debates, when she usually talked in circles around the guys she dated. Stiles can almost picture them bonding over pictures of Prada. And Levi is probably showing her pictures of malnourished babies he single handedly nursed back to health. This guy has every base covered to insure that everyone finds him irresistible, Stiles even had to admitted he was giving Scott "Dream Boat" McCall a run for his money. And to top it all off, he has an accent. That's cheating. This Levi guy is not playing fairly. No guy has a chance, especially not someone as lanky and uncoordinated as himself.

He clicks back to the album. He frowns at a candid of the two of them laughing together. Seeing Lydia's wide grin and bright eyes while she's looking at someone else is a new form of torture. As his bedroom door creaks opens, he slams his laptop shut. Malia stands in the doorway a pile of books in her hand.

"Hi." He smiles at her and tries to push away the feelings of resentment he has for a guy he's never even met.

"Too busy to help me study?" She asks, a twinkle of sadness in her eyes.

He feels a pang of guilt. He has been blowing off their study plans all week for no other reason other than he didn’t feel like it. Thank god Kira is around to pick up his slack. "Of course!" He raises from his seat and kisses her lightly on the lips. "I'm just gonna run down and grab a drink. You thirsty?" He asks as he rubs her arms. She nods. "Ok make yourself comfortable. I'll be right back." He quickly kisses her before rushing down the stairs.

He paces in the kitchen, mentally giving himself a pep talk. It was time to forget about Lydia and her new Australian boyfriend and focus on Malia and her algebra homework. You can do this Stilinski. He grabs two bottles of water and jogs back up to his room.

 

_____________________________

 

Stiles stands on Danny's back porch. This is the last place he saw Lydia. The last place he talked to her, and he didn’t like the conversation they had. His knuckles drum against the wood railing. He tries to focus on the beat and the scratching of his skin to distract himself from the hollow feeling in his chest.

"Yo, Stilinski." Stiles looks over his shoulder to see Isaac standing in the frame of the open sliding glass door. Stiles prepares himself for an insult as Isaac steps forward. "Uh, I was-" He teeters back and forth on his feet. 'Gonna play beer pong but I need a partner. You interested?"

Stiles hesitates, taken back by the sincerity in his voice. "Sure, yeah…" He needs to have some fun maybe that will help. And if it doesn't then alcohol certainly will. "I'm in."

Two hours later Stiles can physically feel his head buzzing from the alcohol. The three games of pong and shots with Greenberg are catching up to him. He plops down in a comfy looking chair in the living room. Scott appears in front of him with a bottle of water in his hands. He extends his hand to Stiles. "Here. Drink."

Stiles pushes his hand away. "Thanks Scotty but I'll pass."

"What? Stiles, no you-"

"I'm fine. I don't want the water." He shrugs, sending Scott a positive grin. He feels better than he has in weeks. He doesn't want to sober up and come back down to reality, not yet.

"But Stiles you-" Scott starts to argue but Stiles has tuned him out because reality has just walked through the door… literally. "Stiles?" Scott places his hand on his shoulder.

"I'm fine, Scott." He repeats as he brushes off Scott's hand and raises to his feet. He suddenly feels very sober. He's no longer stumbling and his once blurry vision is now perfectly clear. He pushes his way through the crowd, absence mindedly bumping shoulders with everyone in his way. He doesn't care. He has tunnel vision. When he arrives at the desired location, he doesn't think. He just acts. "Hey." He shouts pointedly.

Jackson turns his head to identify the individual jabbing his fingers into his back. "Stilinski…" He sings, turning fully to face him. His features are covered with amusement. "I gotta say, I'm very surprised to see that you are still alive." He turns his smile to Scott. Stiles wants to smack that smirk off his face. As Allison walks toward them, He smiles wider. "Hey Allison. Where's-" Stiles fist connects his jaw before he even has a chance to finish his question. He stumbles back, caught off guard. Stiles takes the opportunity to hit him again, this time using at his weight to knock him to the ground. Scott is quick to pull him off him.

"What the fuck, Stilinski!" Jackson yells, holding his nose. Danny pulls him to his feet. Stiles thrashes in Scott's arms, wanting desperately to hit him again and again. The adrenaline putting through his veins making him believe he has a chance to win in a fight against a werewolf. "What the fuck is your problem!" Jackson demands as Danny and Isaac hold him back.

"That’s for my girl!" Stiles repeats over and over as Scott pulls him out of the room.

Scott tosses Stiles into the backseat of Allison's car. "Ok, I have to go back in to get Allison and make sure everyone has a safe ride home. Can I trust you to be left alone?" Stiles grumbles. "You promise you won't try to go back in?"

"Sure."

"Stiles…" Scott warns.

"Yes, I promise I won't try to go back inside to fight that piece of shit, even thought he deserves it."

"Just try to calm down. I'll be right back." He says before closing the door.

Stiles huffs out a breath and throws his head back on the head rest. He hears the door open again. "I'm calm!" He yells, thinking it's Scott checking on him already.

"Yeah. You seem really calm." It's not Scott. It's Malia.

"Hi.." Stiles starts picking up his head. She slides into the seat next to him. "I'm sorry. I thought you were Scott."

She nods. "So.. What was that back there?" She asks, pointing her thumb toward the party.

Stiles rubs the bridge of his nose. The adrenaline is gone along with his buzz. "That- That was a long time coming. That's what that was. He had it coming." His voice increases in volume and the heat returns to his cheeks. She frowns at him, clearly not satisfied with that response, but he doesn't know what else to say. "I don't know, Malia. I've just always, always hated him." He clinches his fist, wishing he could hit him again.

"Yeah I think I know why." Malia says under her breath.

"What?" He can tell by her expression that she's fighting back words. She twists her lips when she wants to say something but isn't sure if she should. "Malia…"

"Who's your girl?" She asks in a hushed tone, eyes still on her lap. Before he even has time to answer she wipes her head to him. "Who's your girl, Stiles?" She enunciates, their eyes locked.

"What are you-"

"You said that's for my girl. After you hit him you screamed 'that's for my girl!'."

"I can explain tha-"

"Who's your girl, Stiles?"

"I was- that guy is a fucking asshole who was really shitty to a good friend of mine. Okay? and-"

"Oh my god." She bites her lip. "You can't even say it. You can't even look at me and say her name."

Stiles shakes his head and stares at the back of the drivers seat. He opens and closes his mouth several times, unsure what to say. "I don’t even-" He turns to her rapidly, frustrated. "I haven't even talked to her since she left." He deadpans.

"I saw the typed email, Stiles. The night I came over to study and you slammed your computer shut. I saw the pictures you were looking at."

He continues to shake his head. "It's not- I wasn't-"

"You've been different since she left and you can't even deny it."

He can't even find the words to explain his way out of this. The words jumble in his head. He sighs in defeat.

"It's just so clear now. Everything. You and the way everyone's acting around you and the chemo signals. Just everything." She laughs then she smiles at him. He can see the hurt in her eyes but it's a real genuine smile. "Things haven't been right with us for a while. I know that. And now I know why. I just don’t think you're ready to admit it."

"Admit what?"

She laughs, softly. "You'll figure it out." She reaches for the door handle.

"Figure out what?" He breathes out, mostly to himself. "Wait, Malia." He grabs her hand before she can open the door. She looks at him and he realizes he doesn't have anything to say. Maybe that he's sorry or that he never meant to hurt her.

She smiles and kisses his check. Then she's gone.