And the first shall be last, and the last shall be first
It’s almost ironic, in a painful way, as it hits you, like a punch to the gut or a migraine. It’s not physically painful, or at least, it isn’t except for Lydia, who felt the string break, one fraying fibre at a time, agonizingly slowly till it split in half, the end tumbling to the darkness below.
The only one. The only true human, without a drop of supernatural in her blood, and she is the first.
Stiles says it, drugged up until he can sleep, because he was there, in the mind of the other, watching it, the nogitsune’s sick, twisted sense of happiness coursing through his veins.
He laughs, a choked, cut off sound, nearly asleep now. If cutting yourself off from others is how Scott gets through it, then Stiles is the opposite, an extrovert, trying oh-so-hard to speak as much as he can, to fill the silences where she would have spoken.
“It’s ironic. The most fragile, but also the toughest. The only real human left, the last one, after you and me.” Lydia sits on the opposite couch; mascara streaked cheeks and tension in her pose. “The last one, and she’s the first to go. I remember that, at least, from church. The first shall be last, and the last shall be first.” Now the tears streak his cheeks also, making wet tracks down until they disappear into the blanket, tucked into his chest. “I don’t think this is what he meant.”
Scott cries, alone in his room. He couldn’t take her pain, and nobody can ever, ever take this pain from him. It’s like a bit of himself died in her last breaths. A piece of his heart, fracturing, too damaged to ever work again. This day will haunt his steps for the rest of his life.
He couldn’t have turned her, Derek states again and again. It was too late, it wouldn’t have taken. He knows what it’s like, and Scott asks him, quietly, when they are alone, how he ever managed to move on, to get up and face the day.
Derek tells him that for the next six weeks, he couldn’t. He couldn’t look at himself in a mirror, couldn’t look at the sun or a book or his bed or anything. He says it’s like walking around blind, but eventually, you learn to live with it. You don’t move on, but some days, it might not cross your mind for an hour, and you pray for those days.
He thanks a god he’s not quite sure he believes in anymore for Lydia, and his mom, and Stiles. Lydia knows, and she sits and cries in her room too, sharing his pain, and it feels awful, but he’s glad he isn’t the only one. His mom brings food, and telephones the school and tells them he won’t be coming, and that, no, she’s not sure when he’ll be back, and forges doctors certificates for the assessments he misses. She should put ‘broken heart’ on them, but that doesn’t really describe it. Stiles, he thanks for filling the silences, when Scott’s heart sounds like it will beat out of his chest. Stiles will stand by his side, and give him a towel when he gets out of the shower after forty-five minutes, commenting on how he must have shampoo in his eyes, helping to reassure him that this is perfectly normal.
Lydia screams. It’s what she does best now anyway. She felt it, the life slowly slipping, thread by microscopic thread until it snapped, much too short for the life Allison should have led. She nearly smacks Stiles for his comment about the last and the first, till she realized he felt just like her, out of control by forces impossibly beyond their control. At least she only felt it. He had to watch, and he tells her, one night, that the nogitsune was in his head, and the pervading sense of terrifying happiness flooded his veins. He says it was horrific, and he knows that she felt something of the same.
She spends night after night at Scott’s, returning home for one night, only to realize that lying in your bed, the bed you and your best friend laid on, and talked about boyfriends and prom and nail-polish is too painful. She packs a suitcase, knocks on the door at the McCall’s and sleeps on a foldout in the lounge room. Melissa just opens the door, gives her a hug, states she’ll have to make another cup of hot chocolate, and says the boys are upstairs. Lydia has never given less care to her appearance. She’s in loose jeans, a t-shirt and a hoodie. No makeup, hair undone. It’s a sign of her loss that she wouldn’t do anything. Being found naked in the woods gave her a reason to appear strong. Nearly choked to death, and she wore it as a badge of pride. Now she sits in Scott’s comfy armchair, legs tucked under her, and just sits. Nothing spoken, just united by their grief.
She’s the last one to arrive, but the first one to cry, and together they sit, bound together, pack, mourning the loss of an irreplaceable member.
Two hours later, Melissa knocks on the door, planning to tell Lydia she’s made up the fold out, and she hopes it’s ok.
They are tangled together, Scott in the middle, even in sleep the protector, holding them together. An arm supporting each friend. Stiles lies on his left, face pressed into Scott’s upper arm, one hand under his head, the other tossed over Scott’s chest, fingers touching Lydia. Scott’s arm is under her head, Lydia’s face pressed to the side of his chest, one arm tucked out of sight beneath her, and the other stretched out, fingers threaded through Stiles’.
Melissa turns off the bedside light, shuts the door, slides down the wall opposite Scott’s bedroom and cries, for these children, her children, and what they have lost, and what Allison deserved, and finally, for herself, because she wanted it. She could see it, years from now, this young woman in her house, with the McCall family ring on her finger and a baby in her arms.
Because the first one who should go is the last, and the last one who should go is the first.