Rolling over in the bed, he stared at the bright auburn strands of her hair. Willed it to change color. Any color. Any color but the one she had now. The one that he'd listened to his best friend wax poetic about for years.
It wasn't a punishment. It wasn't. No matter what Issac said or Lydia thought. He wasn't punishing Stiles for Allison's death. Because it wasn't his fault. Scott knew it wasn't his fault, and even if it were, he wouldn't do this to punish him for it. He wouldn't sleep with Lydia for it.
Yet, that's exactly what he had done, wasn't it? He'd slept with Lydia. More than once, and now, because of it, he would probably lose his best friend. The guy who had always been there for him, ready and willing to do whatever Scott needed him to do. Even if he didn't like it. Even if he got hurt.
Scott lifted his hand. Ran it over the fragile cheekbone just visible beneath Lydia's mass of red hair. Her eyelashes fluttered then lifted, pinning him in a too quick, too knowing gaze.
"Derek knows," she said, voice shaky, slightly breathless from the rigorous sex they'd just had. "He smelled it or something. I don't think he's going to tell Stiles about it, but…" she shrugged, pulling her lower lip between her teeth before releasing it to whisper, "he could, Scott. He could tell him."
Yeah, he could. A lot of people could. One of them even would. Probably.
"He's going to figure it out anyway," Scott murmured, eyes welling up despite knowing he didn't deserve to shed them. "It's Stiles. Stiles figures everything out, even when I wish he wouldn't." He paused and added, "Mostly when I wish he wouldn't."
She nodded and scooted closer, burying her head in the crook of his neck. "What will you say when he does?"
"The truth. It happened. I don't know how or why, but it did." He frowned. "I wish I could say I'm sorry about it. I wish I could tell him I regret it, but I don't. I don't regret it, Lydia, and that makes me the worst kind of friend."
She opened her mouth and kissed his neck, her full lips sucking on the skin once before letting go again. "You're a good friend, Scott. You are. This is just…a little bit of a detour, but he's still going to love you. He's still going to be your friend. He can't not be your friend. He's Stiles. Stiles doesn't turn people away. No matter how much he probably should."
No. No, he didn't. Even when he should. Even when Scott would. "If the tables were turned, though," Scott said, running a hand up her arm, through her hair, "I wouldn't forgive him. I'd cut him from my life for betraying me like this. For hurting me like this."
Which is why Scott knew Stiles could never find out. Never.
"I should go," he said, sitting up, rubbing his hands down his face. "He could drop by unannounced and I don't want him to find me here." He didn't want him to ever find him here. "I'll talk to Derek. I'll make sure he doesn't tell Stiles anything. Honestly, I don't think he will. They aren't really that close to each other. They don't share secrets like that."
Lydia lifted her head and arched a brow. Perfect in shape…and in judgment. "You can't be serious. Scott…Derek and Stiles, they—they have this thing. With each other. They argue, or banter whatever, but they also know each other really well. Really well," she repeated, brow furrowing the more she contemplated it.
"Haven't you noticed that they look at each other before they look at anyone else? They do it all the time. Worse now, after the Nogitsune and crazy Kate, than before, too. They talk, but they talk without saying a word most of the time. They are close, Scott. I think they're closer than any of us really know, or want to believe."
Derek and Stiles? No way. "They tolerate each other. They work together on occasion. When we need them to, but there is no way they are close. Not close like you're insinuating, at least. Or, close like I think you're insinuating."
His brow furrowed. "Besides that, Stiles isn't gay. If he was, he would've told me. He would've told me something like that. He couldn't not tell me something like that."
"Like you told him about this?" She frowned at him. "Scott, you need to face facts here. You and Stiles…you don't tell each other everything. And Stiles…" she paused again, frowning deepening, before she said, "Stiles is really good at keeping the important things to himself. Especially the important things to himself. He's always been that way, and as his best friend, I know you know that about him."
He did. But still… "It's Derek, though. He doesn't keep Derek things from me. He wouldn't…do that."
"Like you wouldn't sleep with me even knowing he's sworn to love me for the rest of his life?" She shook her head, sitting up, one hand holding the white bed sheet to her chest as she met his eyes. "You don't know him as well as you think you do, and I don't think I do, either. The only one I do think knows him like that is Derek. I don't know how or why, or when it started or happened, but…it is there. I know you've seen it. You have to have seen it. Allison and I used to talk about it all the time at my house."
Allison knew about this? She knew and didn't tell him?
Something dark and deep settled in his gut. Something a lot like betrayal. "I can't believe she didn't tell me that. Why wouldn't she tell me that?"
"Maybe because she didn't think it was her place?" Lydia shook her head again, her frowning deepening as she said, "I don't think you have a right to be angry at him for not saying anything about it. I know you are, because I see it in your eyes, but…it's unfair to be angry when you're lying in bed with the girl he always thought he wanted, you know."
The words hit him like a punch to the stomach. Hard, jolting, devastating. "Jesus. He's never going to forgive me, and he shouldn't. He shouldn't because I…I'm a bad friend. I'm a horrible, bad friend."
Lydia rolled her eyes at him. "You're not horrible. You might not be the best friend that he thinks you are, but you're not horrible. You're just human."
No. He wasn't human. Not just human, at least. "I'm a werewolf. I left human behind a while ago, Lydia. So did you."
But that wasn't an excuse for what they'd done. It would never be an excuse.
Scott tossed back the covers and climbed out of the bed, reaching for his boxers and jeans, pulling them on with shaking hands. "I have to go. I have to…get out of here. Do something. Anything. Just…not be here."
"It's a little late for self-flagellation, Scott. We already did the deed. We've done the deed a lot these past few weeks."
They had. Fuck, they had.
Scott shook his head and reached for his cell phone on her bedside table. The message light was blinking and when he opened it to read it, all the air left his lungs.
From Stiles: Hey, buddy. I know you're probably with Lyds right now, that's why I didn't call you, but when you get this, head to the loft. Bring her with. Derek and I think we've got a problem. In the preserve. It might be a witch. Possibly an entire coven of witches. Witches, Scotty. Witches.
Scott blinked. Read the message again. Still didn't understand it. Couldn't process it. The longer he stared at it, the worse the knot in his stomach felt.
"Shit. He knows. Lydia, Stiles knows. He knows."
She shrugged. "Of course he knows, Scott. Like you said. He's Stiles. Stiles knows everything. Well, almost everything, and what he doesn't know, he somehow figures out." She tilted her head, considering. "I'm not sure he knows about him and Derek yet, though." She leaned over, reading the message still visible on his phone and smiled. "Then again, maybe he does. Maybe he's always known and just didn't know how to deal with it."
Scott looked at her. "You think he's dealt with it? You think they're…together?"
She lifted a shoulder and climbed out of bed. "I don't know, but if we hurry in the shower and get to the loft like he wants, we can probably find it out."
But going to the loft meant looking Stiles in the eye, knowing his best friend knew what he'd done. What he'd been doing. "Fuck. He's totally going to kill me."
"No, he isn't. Honestly, Scott, you're freaking out about nothing now."
No, he wasn't. Stiles was going to kill him. Maybe not today. Maybe not even tomorrow, but someday soon, his friend would get his retribution. Scott knew that. He was sure of it. Almost as sure as the heated looks that passed between Derek and Stiles at the loft later that night, when they thought no one was watching them.
Lydia was right. Even Scott could see that now that he'd watched the two men talking together and not bickering like before. He had a feeling whatever was going on between them now was the reason Stiles wasn't as angry about Lydia and Scott as he probably should be, and for that, Scott couldn't help but be grateful.
Because it meant he'd get to keep his friend, despite knowing he didn't—and likely never would—deserve him. Deserve him, or his ability to forgive and forget. Even when it hurts.
No, Scott thought smiling wryly as he watched Stiles shake his head at something Lydia said, especially when it hurts.