Dedication

Tuesday

The next morning dawned clear and cold, jack frost's handiwork apparent on all the window panes throughout the town.

School was still on, a fact which many students grumbled about, but Stiles accepted it philosophically. The more cold days they spent listening to old prunes prattling on about boring subjects, the fewer sunny and warm days they would have to waste sitting in air conditioning.

“Hey Lydia,” he greeted his crush-since-third-grade as she passed him in the hall, yet again completely ignoring his existence. “Really,” he stomped his foot. “I rescue her from her jerkazoid boyfriend and she doesn't even blink at me.”

“What's this?” Scott appeared in his line of vision from behind. “You rescued Lydia? When?”

“Dirty details later, my friend. We're already late!” They raced to their lockers and then to class, still getting there five minutes late.

“Sorry Coach,” they apologized in sync, sinking into chairs side by side with Scott behind Allison and Stiles behind Danny.

Coach muttered an affirmative that he'd noticed them, diving into the latest chapter of economics.

“Hey, Danny,” Stiles popped the boy in the back with an eraser.

“What?” he turned around, irritated.

“What's going on with Jackson and Lydia, huh?” Stiles asked, determined to get to the bottom of whatever was troubling her.

Danny's expression immediately morphed into an unreadable mask. “Nothing,” he snapped, sharply turning his back on the curious ADHD youth.

Stiles silently let his arms flop to the side in a gesture of 'what the heck man?'. Something was definitely up.

And he wasn't giving up until he found out what.

Alison looked at Stiles with an expression that clearly conveyed 'you have got to be kidding me'. “Really? Stiles, this is-”

“Look, just, twenty seconds. Please?” he begged, his hands clasped over his chest as his eyes grew wide imploringly.

Her shoulders slumped slightly in defeat. “Fine.”

“Yes,” he crowed. “Thank you, thank you, Alison, seriously.”

“Stiles,” she interrupted him. “Shut up, or I'm recanting.”

“Okay, understood. No more talk of this until later tonight.”

“Are you sure this is gonna-” Scott started.

“Hey,” Stiles cut him off. “Dude, do not rain on my parade. Do I ever rain on your horrible ideas? No. Who helped you find a suit for the formal that you were banned from? Who? Point them out to me? Did they rain on that idea?”

“That formal was a disaster,” Alison pointed out.

“So,” Stiles' voice squeaked slightly. “I know what you both are thinking - Stiles is nuts, he's finally cracked, but let me assure you all of my sanity. I know this plan is awful, and it'll probably fail, but I have got to try something, and this is all I can think of.”

“Really?” Scott scoffed playfully. “You're reassuring us you're sane by assuring us you know this 'plan' of yours is going to end in disaster.”

“If you don't knock, you'll never-”

“Hear the sky echo it back. Yeah, I know. That's your motto for every bad idea.”

“This isn't a bad idea . . .” Stiles disagreed. “It's just . . . a sure recipe for disaster. A disaster which I will take full blame for should it reach such a point.”

“Mmhmm,” Scott and Alison both nodded.

“Yeah,” Alison rolled her eyes. “Like we would leave you to your doom.”

“Why am I getting the sudden distinct impression that I am the Mozzie to your Neal and Kate?”

“Because you watch too much tv,” Scott retorted. “Now eat your lunch.”

“Eat your own.”

“Stop glaring the both of you and just eat.”

Stiles took a deep breath, bracing himself mentally. Watching carefully he mumbled a victorious 'yes!' as Alison expertly distracted Lydia's flock of sycophants that the blonde had surrounded herself with all day. Taking his opportunity he leaned against the locker beside hers behind the open door.

“Hey, Lydia,” he greeted her.

She slapped the door shut, standing with her head cocked to the right and her left hand on her hip, her text books cradled in her right arm. “What do you want?” she demanded.

“I want to know what's wrong,” he didn't bother beating around the bush.

She pretended to think. “No,” she turned away.

“Oh come on,” he lightly grabbed her arm and pulled her back, forcing her to look at him. “I helped you dodge Jackson last night, alright? So, whatever this is, I'm already in.”

“No,” she enunciated it clearer, turning around again.

“Look,” he pulled her back; again. “Look, just . . . whatever this is between you and Jackson, I want to help.”

“Why?!” she threw her arms out, letting her books slap into her side.

"Because there aren't many brain cells working in his noggin and he's not the gentlest of brawn bound nincompoops and I don't want you hurt because you perceive him as some dopey ogre that you can just order to sit down and stop drooling. He's volatile, Lydia, and whatever is going on between you two is making him more so. And don't even try telling me you disagree," he took a breath. "You've had your sycophants surrounding you since first period, so obviously you're scared of him right now."

Lydia just stood blinking in surprise for a beat, taking a deep breath. “How do you like coffee?”

“I hate it,” he responded instantly, reveling in her shocked expression. “But . . . I do love a good mocha,” he grinned.

She huffed a not quite laugh and rolled her eyes as her mouth turned upwards momentarily. “It's still none of your business.”

“After school then,” he smiled and quickly took his leave as Alison's power over the flock of idiots dissipated.

Lydia smiled softly, quickly hiding it as she was surrounded by her . . . sycophants.

“I take it the plan worked?” Scott commented on his friends victory fist pump as soon as they were in the Jeep after school.

“Like a charm,” Stiles grinned like a fool. “So . . .”

“Not to burst your bubble, but I'm invited to,” Scott showed Stiles a text from Alison.

“Lydia probably doesn't want to be seen with me, at a coffee shop, without an exam coming up. This way she can pass it off as Alison's boyfriend's best friend tagged along and she's too much of a dear heart to tell me to sock it and sod off.”

“Have I ever told you that the way you read Lydia is scary to me?”

Stiles grinned maniacally. “My mind is a terrifying place.”

“Yeah,” Scott laughed in agreement. “It's terrifying all right.”

The coffee shop was relatively empty as the four teen agers made their way to the most private booth available.

After their drinks were all ordered they awaited their arrival and then waited for the conversation to begin as they curled their hands around the hot drinks.

“So,” Alison popped her lips, turning to face Lydia beside her. “What's going on?”

Lydia sighed and sipped her hot double dark chocolate fudge latte, avoiding everyone's eyes.

“Okay,” Stiles quietly clapped his hands together. “Maybe just some yes or no questions to get the words flowing. Is something wrong?”

Lydia nodded.

“Is it something with Jackson? Like, physically or mentally wrong with him?”

Hesitating, she shook her head no.

“Okay,” Stiles nibbled on his left thumb nail, thinking. “It is, something . . . healthwise wrong with you?”

She shook her head.

“Okay good,” he relaxed back. “I'm running out of questions here. Something changed between you and Jackson?”

She nodded.

Steepling his fingers he pressed them into his lips. “Something, mentally, maybe?”

“Sort of.”

“How so sort of, you don't approve of something he's doing, vice versa,”

Sighing she sat back, meeting his eyes for the first time since they'd entered. “Why do you care?”

“Because . . .” he looked away. “Because I just do, okay, I care about my fellow humans, my fellow students are part of that, and you have never gotten below a B+ on a test and yesterday you got a D- on a multiple choice quiz we've known about since last tuesday, so, I'm a little freaked out for you. Something, is wrong. Okay, and I need to know what.”

“Why?”

“Because,” he played with his napkin.

Lydia reached out and stilled his hand. “Because why?”

“Because screwing the fact that you never acknowledge I exist I've known you since third grade and the last time somebody that I knew that well started having issues she wound up dying without even knowing I was her son, okay? So I just, I need to know what is going on with you, because I just . . . I just need to know.”

Scott silently leaned into Stiles at the mention of his friend's mother, several things clicking into place in his own mind that he had never connected before.

Lydia just sat, shocked and struck speechless. Here she was, being a complete and utter capital B witch to this boy for going on ten years, and he cared enough to notice when something was wrong; and he cared enough to be scared by that knowledge.

“I'm pregnant,” she blurted, quickly covering her mouth with both hands. Her eyes moistened against her will and she fought back a sob at the shocked expressions facing her.

“Wha-” Scott began.

Stiles quickly kicked Scott in the shin, hard, to shut up whatever insensitive reflexive response was sitting on his tongue. “You're pregnant?”

She nodded, mouth still covered.

He couldn't fight the slight smile that threatened to break into an all out grin as he bit his lip and leaned back, then leaned forward and put his forehead on his crossed arms. “I thought maybe you had a brain tumor.”

She shook her head, though he couldn't see it. “I almost think it would be easier,” she spoke with tears in her voice.

Stiles' head shot up, a look of horror on his face. “No! No, that would not be easier, Lydia . . . Lydia look, this, this isn't so bad. I mean yeah, you obviously weren't planning on getting pregnant but that doesn't mean your life is over! It's just a . . . a plot twist that no one saw coming.”

She sobbed, leaning into the comforting hug Alison was providing silently as tears stung the brunette's eyes. “Jackson wants me to abort,” she choked out.

Stiles' eyes bugged. “What!” he practically squeaked. “That, little, oh . . . that. . .”

“Okay,” Scott interjected. “What's the long term consequences of this for you Lydia? I mean, what . . . what scares you the the most?”

“I'm never gonna graduate and my family is going to kick me out,” she sat up, pulling a tissue out of her sleeve.

“Lydia, hey,” Stiles captured her left hand, holding it warmly in both of his. “You, are gonna do whatever you want to. There are plenty of teen moms who graduate, with honors. Okay? What, you think a Fields Medal is gonna walk away 'cause of one thing you didn't plan on? Seriously? You're the smartest girl in the state.”

She laughed tearfully, sniffling.

“You are going to find a way through this, okay? I'll help, we'll help.” he gestured to the two relatively silent spectators at the table. “Anything you need, we will find a way to provide.”

“Thank you,” she smiled, biting her lip as she fought more sobs.

“Let's . . . let's go somewhere a little less public,” Alison prompted. “Okay?” she stroked Lydia's hair comfortingly.

Sniffling again Lydia nodded, sliding out behind the taller girl and turning back to get her mocha. Stiles already had it in his hand, handing it to her when she reached for it. Smiling a watery ghost at him she let herself be led to her car, happily giving her keys to Alison as she relaxed for the first time in four days, glad to let someone else take control for a few hours.

The Argent's house was spacious, and warm, and it smelled of the warm spices winter season always prompted people to make their houses smell like.

The living room was cozy, especially after Alison dragged every single cushion the Argents owned into it and formed a gigantic mattress on the floor in between the sofa, which Scott shoved against the wall, and the fire place that emanated a comforting warmth throughout the room.

Forming a circle on the cushions Scott and Alison sat side by side, with Lydia's head in Alison's lap as the strawberry blonde lay on her back with her feet laying near Stiles' feet as he lay on his right side diagonally from her, watching her intently.

“So your family doesn't know?” he started the conversation, figuring they might as well dive in the deep end and work their way to the lighter elements.

Lydia shook her head. “I just found out Sunday.”

“Were you, late?” Alison asked, gently braiding Lydia's hair, then pulling it out and doing it again.

“By three weeks. I just . . . I kept thinking I was stressed, or maybe, . . . I don't know. Something! Something other than this!”

“Are you considering abortion? Not that I'm suggesting it, I never would, but . . . you said Jackson wants you to, so . . .”

Licking her lips she sighed. “That's the reason we're fighting. Jackson's afraid this whole thing is going to ruin our lives. I guess he has me convinced of the same thing, it's just . . . I can't . . . I . . .”

“You can't kill a child,” Stiles finished for her.

Tears sprang to her eyes. “I'm terrified,” she rolled over and curled up, facing Stiles now. “I . . . I don't know what I'm gonna do, I don't know what's going to happen, but if I . . .” she sobbed. “If I end a life that's inside of me . . . I . . . I won't be able to live with that!”

"Then don't," he took her left hand, holding it gently. Smiling encouraging he stroked the soft skin. "Don't do something that you don't want to do."

“Jackson's the father, it's his choice to.”

“Jackson's choice is pretty clear. He doesn't want the child. Fine,” he shrugged. “It's awful, and gut wrenching, but fine. He won't be expected to do anything. You can raise him, or her, on your own.”

“And how do you propose I do that?” she asked, not snittily, but more . . . vulnerably. Like she was actually asking for his advice.

“There are plenty of programs designed to help teen's sort out parenthood,” Alison spoke up.

“Or,” Scott spoke hesitantly. “If you wanted, you could always find another family for it. But only if you wanted to - I mean, not to sound callous, but . . .”

“There are options,” Alison completed his sentence. “Abortion isn't the only 'way out.' Not that you're looking for a way out, just . . .”

“You're not trapped,” Stiles squeezed her hand. “And you're not alone.”

Smiling in gratitude she squeezed his hand back, swallowing thickly. “Thank you,” she said, almost inaudibly.

“Everything okay?” Chris Argent spoke from the doorway, taking in the group of teen agers made up of a thoroughly distressed looking red head being comforted by his daughter, said daughter's current Were-Wolf boyfriend, and said boyfriend's human best friend.

“Dad!” Alison's eyes widened slightly. “I thought you weren't home 'til six?”

“It is six,” he pointed at the clock on the wall which was showing both hands in a straight line.

“Oh my gosh! My mom's gonna kill me,” Scott scrambled up, running for the door. “I was supposed to be home at five thirty!”

“I'm supposed to be home in fifteen minutes,” Stiles got up also - slightly more gracefully than his friend for once - squeezing Lydia's hand one final time and bidding Alison goodbye.

“I'll look after her. We'll have an impromptu girls' night in,” Alison smiled at Lydia, who smiled back.

“That would be nice.”

“Bye Alison!” Scott called.

“Bye! See you at school! Do you want me to call your mom?”

“No, I can handle it. Bye Mr. Argent!”

“Good night,” the senior Argent calmly responded, turning to his brunette daughter he quirked an eyebrow. “What's going on?”

“Just a friend's emergency,” Alison stroked Lydia's hair, not going into detail. “We were having a meeting on how to handle it.”

“Mmm, well, I hope everything works out,” he smiled kindly at their guest, gesturing to the sofa. “Scott'll want to move that back tomorrow.”

Smiling tight lipped Alison nodded, chagrined.

Scott made it home in record time to be greeted by a frowning Melissa McCall. “I'm glad she likes you, Scott, I really am, but-”

“Mom, please let me explain, I wasn't with Alison, I mean, yeah Alison was there, but Lydia's having a crisis and Stiles dragged us into helping her deal with it, not that I'm saying I'm not happy to help her, but I just, I lost track of time and I'm really, really sorry,” he stopped, taking a deep breath and waiting.

“You got that entire thing out in one breath,” Melissa nodded, lips pursed in admiration.

“Yeah I did,” he nodded, fighting a small smile.

“You practiced that on the way here didn't you?”

“Yeah,” he freely admitted, smiling. “I did.”

Melissa smiled in return, sighing. “Well, if it's a true accident I guess I can forgive it. This time. Next time, be a little mindful of the clock. And I am so yelling at Stiles next time I see him,” she ruffed his hair as he walked past chuckling.

“I'm sure he'll be expecting it,” he said lightly.

“So what's the crisis with Lydia?”

Scott sighed, biting his lip. He wasn't sure if Lydia wanted everyone to know . . . but his mom was a nurse, so, if Lydia did wind up needing medical attention at any time it might be a good idea to have someone in that field already know.

“Scott?”

“I don't know if I should tell you. It's kind of, very, personal to her, and she didn't really say if she wanted us telling anyone.”

“She doesn't have an STD, does she?”

“What?! No!” Scott vehemently shook his head.

“Good. That would break poor Stiles' heart,” she opened the oven and pulled out the middle rack, flipping two breaded pork chops and stirring a pan of potatoes, green beans, and onions with an herb and oil dressing over them.

“Yeah it would,” Scott took a hot pad and pushed the rack in for her, shutting the door and tucking the hot pads away in the drawer. “I'm really sorry about-”

“Scott,” his mom cut him off before pulling him into a hug. “It's fine. I'm glad you're helping your friends. That's something everybody needs, especially in crises.”

“Lydia,” he started, though he was still debating with himself.

“Yes?” Melissa looked at Scott out of the corner of her eye.

“Promise you won't tell anybody?”

“I swear, anything you say will be treated with patient confidentiality, I won't even tell Lydia you said anything to me.”

“Lydia's pregnant.”

“What?!”

“With Jackson's baby.”

“Lydia Martin, snob with her nose in the air, got pregnant with Jackson Whittemore's child?”

“Yep, that pretty much sums it up.”

“Do her parents know?”

“Mm-mm,” he shook his head, getting a glass of water. “She just found out herself Sunday. Jackson wants her to abort.”

“Is she going to?”

“She doesn't want to, but . . .”

“But . . .” she prompted, listening closely.

“But, I'm afraid that Jackson'll strong arm her into it, especially with them being in all the same classes, and it's not like she's gonna stop going to school in order to escape him.”

“Mmm,” she hummed, thinking; absently picking up the phone as it rang once she immediately recognized the voice speaking. “You know that Lydia is going to need to be protected from Jackson for the foreseeable future, right Stiles?”

Stiles nearly dropped the phone as Mrs. McCall spoke. “What? How?! Did Scott tell you?”

"Well he can hardly not tell me, you kids won't be able to handle this on your own. And I mean it Stiles, you-"

“We'll protect her, don't worry. That's why I'm calling.”

"Well I'm weighing in, you're going on speaker," she told him, presumably doing just that.

“Okay, so we have to keep Jackson away from Lydia - he can't sit next to her in class and he absolutely cannot sit next to her during lunch.”

"Alison can stick with her," Scott assured him.

“Yeah, at lunch and hallways, but class is gonna be tricky. There are four sides of undefended space; and I'm betting Danny knows what's going on,” Stiles twirled his pencil, homework laying forgotten scattered across his bed.

"That's why he reacted like that when you asked him."

“I'd bet a twenty. So, maybe, we could recruit him . . . but I don't know that we can trust him to not work for Jackson, so that counts him out. That leaves one side, and it's not like Lydia can trust any of her money mooning sycophants to defend her, and she can't tell any of them 'cause they'll sell it to the newspaper.”

"Money mooning?" Melissa smiled.

“They make moon eyes at Lydia's wallet all of the time - I know, I've seen them do it. Now, I'm thinking of windows. Anybody wanna tell me why?”

Melissa was completely confused by Stiles' statement, but Scott just started smiling.

"You're smiling right now, aren't you?"

“You bet twenty dollars I am.”

“Okay, I . . . I don't get it. What about windows?”

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