The beautiful thing about ballroom dancing is that nobody puts their hands on you unless you let them. With the state of Lydia's life at the moment—where being attacked by random werewolves of a weekend is an actual thing—it's a really nice reminder of how life ought to be.
The fact that she looks like the promo for a Hollywood dance drama when she puts her back into it is just an added bonus.
Lydia taps play and spins in place, relishing the flare of the skirt around her legs and tossing her hair for added effect. It feels good. Good in a way nothing else has over the last year.
Because this? The discipline and the grace needed to pull these steps off? She rocks this. People look at her again—not because she's the town whack job—but because she's smooth, sensual and poised as fuck. The world makes sense again.
Or it should.
"How - how is it possible for you to screw up a basic cross?" She says, watching as Stiles tries to shake his hoodie off where it's snagged on his watch. It's like watching a puppy try to shake off its collar.
"I think you have me confused with someone who can be suave, Lydia," Stiles says, finally dislodging the hoodie with a violent tug. "You've met me, how did you think this was a good idea?"
"Because-" Lydia stops, huffs. As much as she's semi accepted that she and Stiles make a pretty good team, she'll shoot herself in the face before she admits it out loud. Stiles will do that ridiculous fist pump thing and it's just not dignified.
Lydia sniffs. "Just, try it again," she says, pacing back across the floor. It's instinct to step around the newly repaired floorboards in the middle of the room, but it's one that she fights. The wood clunks deliberately under her heel and she twists on it for good measure.
"Do you think she even realises she's doing it?" Laura says, dropping down onto the stair next to him.
Derek grunts, reaching over and snagging a handful of popcorn out of the terrifyingly huge bowl in her hand. When Laura had suggested they needed movie snacks for the proceedings, Derek had thought she'd been joking. He really should have known better.
"Yeah," Derek says. "She does."
Peter's been dead for months now, but Derek knows Lydia's going to be burying him for a while yet.
Laura hums, crunching down on an un-popped kernel. It's just as teeth-achingly irritating as it used to be. "Girl's got brass," she says.
'Girl' had single-handedly masterminded a plan to resurrect Laura, drain Peter of his power and serve him up on a silver platter for Laura's revenge killing. Brass is the least of what Derek would use to describe Lydia.
"You could say that," he says, going for another handful.
When Lydia had marched into the Hale house that morning, dragging a reluctant Stiles and announcing that they needed the living room for a project for her dance class, Laura had stomped so hard on Derek's foot he'd actually yelped. Which had been fine, because at least it'd stopped him doing something unforgivable, like try to turn them away.
Laura hasn't been back that long but she already knows that one does not say no to things that cause the level of terrified embarrassment that'd been on Stiles' face as he'd hovered over Lydia's shoulder. Saying no to that is like saying no to laughter and happiness.
On cue, Lydia yelps. "Ow! Stiles!" She's limping backwards as Stiles does some complicated flail that ends in a face-palm. Laura snickers and grabs another handful of popcorn.
"Oh my god, I'm sorry!" Stiles says. "I'm just- I'm not good with the whole-"
"Not stepping on people?" Lydia snaps.
Laura grins. Lydia's snark is fast becoming one of her favourite things. If she's being truthful, Lydia's everything is fast becoming one of her favourite things. Laura blames the fact it'd been Lydia's face peering down at her the first time she'd opened her eyes post-resurrection. Shit like that makes an impression.
"You could help them out you know," Derek says.
Laura scoffs, shooting him a look and trying not to let his grin warm her too much. Derek doesn't smile enough. "So could you," she says.
Derek shrugs. "You're better at the tango."
It's true. She is. Derek's forte is the waltz, because he travels through life with the requisite stick up his ass.
After another ten minutes of watching Stiles murder a basic forward ocho Laura gives up. There's amusing and then there's painful.
"May I cut in?"
Stiles pinwheels backwards out of Lydia's arms so hard he almost twists something. Which he can add to all the other bodily pains he's going to be feeling after this nightmare. "Oh my god, please do."
Lydia gives him a filthy look which he fends off with a helpless shrug and a wave at Laura, who's looking at him like he's a cute puppy trying to walk on its hind legs.
Lydia rolls her eyes. "Agh, fine."
Stiles totally doesn't run towards the stairs, but he could see where someone might see it that way.
Derek holds the popcorn out to him as he sits, which Stiles sorta doesn't know what to do with. There've been a lot of moments like this since Laura came back – little glimmers of Derek relaxing, not expending so much energy on hating the universe and everything in it.
Stiles had even seen him smile earlier, which had actually been worth the punch in the arm Lydia had dished out when Stiles had tripped over his own feet because it it.
"I can't believe you made popcorn," Stiles says, taking a handful and shoving the whole thing in his mouth. Sue him, he just survived the sixth circle of hell, he deserves this.
Derek snorts. "Laura made popcorn."
Stiles snags more salted goodness as the music (seriously, he's going to have nightmares about this freaking music) cuts back to the beginning.
"Since Laura just saved me from a slow death by two-step," he says, watching as Lydia and Laura line up. "I think I'll forgive her."
"Laura also took video on her iPhone," Derek says.
Stiles knew he'd regret adding werewolves to facebook. "Forgiveness revoked."
Derek snorts and Stiles can't help the look he sneaks out of the corner of his eye, because Derek's being warm and amused. It's like he's been taken over by a body snatcher or something. A really attractive body snatcher who offers Stiles popcorn and presses his knee against Stiles' thigh as they sit together.
Luckily, Laura and Lydia choose that exact moment to blow every freaking lesbian fantasy Stiles has ever had out of the water. With a nuke.
"Um-" Stiles says.
He's lucky he gets that out, really. Because Laura's hand is spread, comfortable and possessive across Lydia's back as she spins her into a complicated looking slide-step move and they're basically moving like a freaking movie montage. It shits all over any of the simple crap Lydia has been trying to teach him and- breathing. Breathing would be good right now. Holy shit.
"Don't strain anything," Derek says next to him, which, screw him – Lydia's just hooked her leg up over Laura's hip and there's lunging and dipping going on. Stiles has every damn right to be affected by this. He's not made of stone.
"What-" Stiles stops and chokes on spit a little because he may be a virgin, but that particular thrusting move is so not lost on him, Jesus. "Where did she learn how to do that?"
"We learned when we were kids," Derek says nonchalantly. "We taught professionally in New York."
This is what going crazy must feel like. Stiles nearly breaks his neck snapping around to fix Derek with a wide-eyed look. "We?"
Derek shrugs, like he's not ripping the very foundations of Stiles' universe out of the ground and playing shot put with them. "It paid the rent."
Laura has made a terrible mistake. Because Lydia Martin is not only smart, beautiful, snarky and the perfect level of stuck up to make Laura itch to break her composure at every turn; Lydia Martin can dance.
It'd taken all of two lessons when she was a kid for Laura to stubborn her way into learning to lead. As an instructor in New York, both skill sets had come in handy. She'd been able to follow with grace and patience, offsetting her partners' mistakes and gentling the routines. As a lead, she'd been the one to challenge – push her followers to their potential, often beyond what they thought themselves capable of.
Lydia- Lydia doesn't need pushing. Lydia takes. Lydia follows Laura's lead and owns every goddamn step, flourishing beautifully through advanced moves with an ease of instinct that makes Laura want to lean her into a dip and bite.
So yeah, Laura's made a mistake. Because Lydia's been intriguing for a while now but this... she's not going to be able to let go of this.
They close on a lift, Lydia tucking beautifully before turning into an extension as Laura dips her. It's one of the most advanced finales Laura's ever tried and she can't help the way her eyes dip down to Lydia's lips as they pant against each other.
"How long did you say you've been taking these lessons?" she asks.
Lydia flushes as Laura pulls them upright, keeping one hand on Lydia's waist because- yeah, no excuse for that one really, fuck her life.
"I've been dancing on and off since I was six," Lydia says, and Laura's acutely aware of Lydia's hand as it slides from her shoulder to her arm; of how it stays on her arm. "I've never- I mean I-"
"That was freaking incredible!" Stiles says loudly.
Lydia's hand drops away and she steps back. Laura would punch Stiles if she didn't think Derek would throw a tantrum over it.
Lydia clears her throat and Laura can practically see the mask slip back into place. Dammit.
"It was," Lydia says. Laura has to fight the urge to sweep an errant strand of strawberry blonde hair back over a pale shoulder. Lydia tips her chin. "I need you to do the showcase with me."
Laura snorts. "I don't-"
"Please." Lydia smirks. "Don't act like you're not going to do it."
Yep. Laura's in so much trouble. Why is she always attracted to brats? "Why do you say that?"
"Because we're amazing together," Lydia says, and Laura only sees the blush because she's looking for it. "And you want to rub it in peoples' faces as much as I do."
Laura feels the smile slipping slow across her lips and it must look wolfish as hell but at this point, she hardly cares. "True," she says. Because it is. She ignores the voice that wants to add, probably not for the same reasons.
The beautiful thing about ballroom dancing is that no one puts their hands on you unless you want them to. Laura's hands? It's a little disconcerting how much Lydia wants them on her.
They've been practicing together for a week now, learning their limits and getting comfortable with the way they move together. Not that they seem to need the second part so much. Lydia's never danced with anyone so instinctually before. She has to wonder if it's a werewolf thing or just Laura herself.
"Have you ever tried a Sliding Volcada?" Laura asks, tucking her hair up into a ponytail.
Lydia busies herself at the laptop so she doesn't get caught up noticing the stretch of skin across Laura's middle where her top is riding up. "Once," she says, mouth twisting with the memory. "My lead was a moron – he dropped me."
Laura makes a disgusted noise and Lydia loves it a little; loves how much Laura can sound like she's willing to step on the neck of the universe and make it submit.
"C'mon," Laura says. "I won't drop you." It's a throwaway comment, easy as the smile on Laura's face as she holds her hand out; an invitation.
Always an invitation with Laura. She has a way of leading that makes each step a choice; that puts all the power in Lydia's hands. It's something Lydia never realised she needed until she had it.
Lydia takes the outstretched hand, curling her fingers through Laura's in a way that isn't strictly part of the dance. Laura's eyes widen and Lydia feels her heart double-tap.
"I know you won't."
They nail the showcase, of course. Lydia all but throws herself into Laura's arms, giddy and light and full of laughter.
She kisses her the same way.