After dealing with werewolves, hunters, and her own supernatural tendencies, Lydia knows when she's been watched.
Her descent into this mad life started when little golden retriever puppy Scott McCall went wandering in the woods one night, searching for his missing best friend, and got himself bit by a megalomaniac werewolf, thereby making him a werewolf, and then he fell in love with Lydia's best friend, Allison "my last name is the metal that kills werewolves because surprise that's what my family does" Argent.
There was some stuff with a lizard that used to be her boyfriend (who is now also a werewolf in London - Lydia hopes that's going as well as the movie, not the song), a geriatric psychopath, and Derek "I won Most Dramatic Ho in a contest once" Hale. Oh, yeah, and Lydia brought the megalomaniac back to life once. That was fun. Not.
This particular feeling of being watched is new, though.
It started a few weeks ago when she almost crashed her car.
It had been rainy earlier, and a misty fog still hung low. Having just been the diving fork for yet another dead body -and then the voice of reason and intelligence- Lydia was slightly distracted and ready to just go home and sleep.
It's hard keeping a pack of werewolves and Hunters alive.
Then a small shadow flits across the street in front of her.
Lydia snaps into tension, hitting the brakes and jerking her car to the side. Luckily, she doesn't go flying off the road or hit anything. Lydia's alone on the road when she gets out of the driver seat to see a squirrel there staring at her car, his little chest moving rapidly as he quietly freaks out.
Lydia coos softly as she reaches to pick him up. "Were you on the way home, little guy?" She swallows her momentary disgust - a frequent occurrence working with werewolves - and she carries him over the grass to the tree line. His chest is still moving pretty quickly, shock probably, so Lydia gently strokes his fur as she sets him on the branch of a tree.
"There you go." Lydia gives him one last stroke and then brushes her hands off on her skirt. "Be careful, little guy, not everyone is as careful as me."
She gets back in her car and drives off, thinking nothing of it, that is until now.
Now, Lydia has Allison researching forest spirits, and if they masquerade as animals, ever. This was over text, of course, in case someone's listening. Lydia would do it herself, but she doesn't want to give anyone clues.
Honestly, Lydia realllllly shouldn't be walking alone. Being a barely-trained banshee, she's a bit of a beacon for the supernatural, it seems, and Allison's after school self-defense lessons are highly irregular in their scheduling.
But here Lydia is, wandering through city alleys on her way back to her car, following some voices, a sprig of rowan in her pocket to ward off possession.
It's a 50/50 shot whether her follower is malicious, according to Allison's research. Since Lydia was helping a forest creature, whatever is following her has to be outright mean, not offended.
When the voices suddenly stop, Lydia expects to have found the body.
Nope. It's a creep who managed to startle her down an alley without exits.
Rowan won't help her; she's untrained in martial arts. Lydia does the only thing she can do, and screams to high heavens. It only slows the creep for a few seconds, but more importantly it will bring the werewolves and Allison running to her, thinking she's found a dead body. Hopefully she won't be the body when they get there.
Lydia takes a swing at the man with her handbag, and he lurches back.
As he reels, a small dark shape lunges from the shadows, latching on to his knee, and scrabbling up to claw at his face.
It's a freaking squirrel.
But when the creep manages to brush the mammal off - only for the little guy to chitter angrily, right himself, and take up a hilariously defensive position in front of Lydia - the creep is bleeding and has one eye clamped shut.
She's going to live, unharmed. That certainty settles into her bones as if it were intoned by some magical being.
As that dawns on her, the creep steps forward and the squirrel explodes in a bright flash of light.
When Lydia pulls her hands from her shocked eyes, there is a naked man crouching between her and the creep - who has a front seat to the nudity and is just as shocked as Lydia.
The strange man stands, and Lydia realizes he's close to her age as he stares at his hands in shock and amazement. He laughs, quickly, giddily, almost manically. He lets out one final snort, glancing at Lydia over his shoulder before muttering back to his hands, "Back to normal and I still have to hide nuts."
He looks up just as the creep decks him across the face, and the naked man falls to the ground.
Lydia has stepped up, though, and her handbag meets the creep's face, and he reels back into Scott's waiting claws.
The werewolf merely tosses the man aside - the arriving pack gleefully setting about chasing him off - so he can race up to the fallen stranger.
"Oh hey Scott," the no-longer-missing-Stiles begins, rising shakily back to his feet. "How's it goin'?"
Scott huffs in laughter as he shrugs out of his jacket, offering it to his friend. "I'd say 'same old same old,' but there have been some pretty dramatic developments. What about you?"
"I'm sorry," Lydia begins. "The squirrel that saved my life is your best friend?"
"Dude, you were a squirrel?"
"No yeah seriously, I was literally doing nothing as I'm wandering through the forest and this lady appears and curses me to be a squirrel until I save a wailing woman, so you're welcome by the way," Stiles offers to the stunned Lydia.
She gives a twist of a smile and a "hm" as a reply, but he's already turned back to Scott, and the two are excitedly jabbering away now that Scott has his jacket tied modestly about Stiles's waist.
Apparently, Scott still hasn't seen Star Wars. He's been waiting for Stiles.
Lydia lets them wander away, happy in their reunion. She knows what Allison wants her to say, even before her best friend pulls her aside to berate her a little.
So a little later - like two days - Stiles is enrolled in school - with clearly hastily bought clothing because a boy grows a lot in three years, even when a squirrel - and despite missing years, he is in so many of her classes that a lesser woman would feel awkward.
Lydia doesn't, however, when she marches up to Stiles and says, "Thank you. You know. For saving my life."
He's so flustered and surprise he flails and almost falls over.
How like a squirrel.
He rallies, though, and smiles back. "You're welcome. And, uh, I should thank you for saving my life."
"Because you're not a squirrel?"
"No, you almost hit me with you car, but then you carried me off the road to rest off my shock. Thanks. A lot."
"That was you?"
He grins, and Lydia has to roll her eyes to keep from smiling back. His joy just may be infectious, and he may be twice as attractive when dressed and smiling like the sun.
And he's intelligent.
Lydia twists a smile - tries to make it friendly - as she sinks into her seat for chemistry class. This spike of affection bears consideration.
Lydia "IQ of a genius could've gone to college at 16″ Martin will not be so cliche as to fall blindly in love with her rescuer even though she's already started to