Nightmares and Milk
Summary: Stiles is awoken one night when his daughter is having a nightmare.
Stiles Stilinski could sleep through a third World War on any given night. It normally took Lydia at least 5 minutes to rouse him, grumbling and dazzled, from their bed every morning.
Another 10 for him to untangle from the sheets and stumble out of bed and down the stairs for breakfast and his necessary cup of black coffee.
The next 15 were taken for him to actually form coherent speech and fully opened eyes.
But the moment he heard the first muffled whimper from the next room over, he was snapped out of his hibernation. He sat up as soon as his eyes opened (as quietly as possible as to not wake the sleeping wife next to him) and listened.
The second sob came a moment later. He was out of the room in an instant.
When he threw open the door, what he saw broke his heart.
There was his four year old daughter in the middle of the bed, tangled up in her sheets, tears staining her face and pillow. Her brown hair was plastered to her cheeks, her green eyes were squeezed shut and covered by her small hands. Sobs wracked her body. Stiles froze in the doorway, crippled by memories and images of long sleepless nights, waking up so gripped by fear, it literally paralyzed him. He was brought out of the flashbacks by a small voice.
He shook his head and stumbled over to the bed scooping up the girl in his arms the second she was in reach.
“Hey, angel. Did you have a bad dream?”
Allison buried her head into him, and took a fistful of his shirt, trying to be as close to him as possible.
“Yes,” her reply came muffled as she spoke into his chest.
He smiled, stroking her hair and rocking back and forth slightly.
“It’s alright it was just a dream, I promise you’re safe now”.
That’s when he smelled it.
He looked down and confirmed his suspicions with the wet spot on the covers.
“Allison, did you have an accident?”
She was silent for a moment. Then began nodding slowly.
“I’m sorry, Daddy”.
Stiles gently slid his daughter from his lap and stood up, motioning for her to jump on his back.
“It’s okay, angel,” he said once she was securely on, wadding up the sheet, “everyone has accidents,” he craned his neck to smile at her, “even me”.
She laughed at his joke and gripped his shoulders tighter. Stiles gathered the sheets in his arms and stepped towards the door. Once they were there, he leaned forward, allowing her to reach out and open the door so they could both make it through.
They tried their best to tiptoe down the steps. Once, Allison has to cover her mouth to stifle laughter when he stepped on an especially creaky step and snapped his head back to look in horror back towards the door to see if they had woken Lydia. If one rule was to be followed in the Stilinski household, it was that you never, ever wake mommy up unless the house is up in flames or someone is dying.
When they finally made it to the laundry room, Stiles leaned up against the dryer and let Allison sit on the top of it.
“Allison,” he said as he put the sheets in the washer and fiddled with the settings, “will you do me a favor and pick out which sheets you want? They’re in the cabinet above you”.
Allison nodded and carefully turned around on her knees to open the cabinet doors.
Without hesitation, she pulled out the Little Mermaid themed ones and showed them to her father.
“These,” she declared.
Stiles laughed and took them from her, “How did I know you were going to pick those?” Allison laughed now and shrugged as innocently as possible.
“Come on,” he said as he gently lifted Allison off the dryer and placing her onto the floor, “let’s go put these on your bed”.
But as he opened the door to go upstairs, he stopped.
“Actually,” he said slowly, “the covers can wait. I have just the thing to get you back to sleep. Grandpa used to do this for me, come on”.
Together, the two tiptoed hand and hand into the darkened kitchen. Stiles flipped on the dim light right above the stove and placed Allison on the island counter.
From the fridge, he removed a carton of milk, from the cabinet two mugs. With precision, he poured the milk into both and placed them in the microwave, punching in 1 minute and 30 seconds.
“Warm milk.” he explained when he saw his daughter’s confused face, “it makes you sleepy”.
Finally, the microwave beeped, letting them know the milk was done.
As her father stepped towards it, Allison remembered something she always asked when quiet and intimate moments like this presented themselves.
“Daddy,” began Allison, slow and thoughtfully.
“Yes, angel,” Stiles repled, removing his mug from the microwave.
“How did you and mommy decide what to name me”. She knew the answer. Her parents had told her this story multiple times before. She knew about Allison Argent as if she had been her friend also.
The only bad part about hearing about Allison was that mommy and daddy never seemed to be able to get through the story without their eyes ending up glassy and watery. But she liked being able to feel proud of her name.
So she asked anyways.
Stiles was quiet for a long time. He stared hard into his mug as if searching for the words to say in the surface of the milk.
“You’re named after a very exceptional person named Allison Argent. She was one of mommy and I’s best friends”.
Allison took another sip of her and thought for a moment. “was she kind?”
Stiles looked up and smiled at his daughter, “Yes, she was very kind”.
“Was she brave?”
“One of the bravest people I ever knew. She um…she gave her life for her friends,” he found his voice breaking on the last sentence, ”because she loved them. She loved me, and mommy, and uncle Scott-”
“She loved uncle Scott too?”
“Oh she especially loved uncle Scott”.
No matter how many times Stiles told his daughter the story, the hollow feeling in his chest never seemed to leave him. Every time he told her how kind she was, he thought of Allison’s smiling face as he danced with Lydia for the first time, or heard her voice asking about Lydia as she lay dying in his best friend’s arms.
Every time he told her of how brave she was, all he could see was her arrow piercing the chest of the oni or her smile, even in the days after her mother’s death.
“Daddy, why do you and mommy always look so sad when you talk about Allison?” his daughter’s voice snapped him out of his thoughts.
“Because sometimes mommy and I still miss her a lot”.
“I want to be just like her when I grow up”.
Stiles leaned forward and kissed her on the forehead, “that’s a good thing to want to be, angel”.
He glanced over at the clock on the stove and saw that it was somehow read 1:15 am.
“But for now, we’re going to get you back into bed, come on, up you go”.
He positioned himself and once again felt her small arms circle around his neck. She took the sheets off the counter and carefully balanced them between her chest and her father’s back. The two headed back carefully up the stairs.
Allison quietly hummed Part of Your World to herself, the sound carrying into his ear. He smiled a little as he felt her head slowly came to rest on his back. Exhaustion was finally taking over.
Stiles opened the door to the small bedroom and allowed the girl to slide off his back onto the bare bed.
“Hey, Alli, help me put them on?” he whispered.
She nodded with a yawn and jumped off the bed taking one end of the fitted covers from his big hands and wondering why she hadn’t wet the bed sooner.
A few minutes later, Ariel and Flounder’s faces were covering the bed from top to bottom with Allison snuggly in the middle of it all, staring up at the glowing stars on her ceiling. She listened to steady breathing Stiles’ who has accidentally fallen asleep next to her. His hand was still holding hers.
As sleep overtook her, she focused on the warmness of milk in her belly, the feeling of her father’s calloused hand on hers, and the clean sheets under her fingertips. She couldn’t help but feel that she was even luckier than Ariel to have a dad like hers.
She finally drifted to sleep, drowning in pleasant dreams of a woman with short black hair smiling at her next to uncle Scott.
Lydia was yanked out of her restless and nightmare ridden sleep with a strangled gasp. She immediately sat up and yanked her hands to her chest, checking to make sure they weren’t tied down to the bed with restraints. Sweat beaded on her forehead as visions of tile walls and the sound of drilling faded from her head.
Without thinking twice about it, she reached to the other side of the bed.
Panic raised in her throat as her hand made contact with and empty and cold pillow.
She forced herself to breathe. In and out in and out.
Rationalize, she commanded herself, He’s not gone, he’s just not in bed, he’s not gone.
Relief flooded her when through the cracked bedroom door, she saw that her daughter’s door was open a little bit as well.
Slowly, she slipped out of bed and walked carefully to the door.
When she entered the room, a smile spread across her face.
Allison’s head rested on one of the pillows, her thumb firmly in her mouth, eyes closed, a small smile on her lips.
On the other pillow was Stiles, sleeping a little less than gracefully.
Lydia stood and took in the scene for a moment longer, then as soundlessly as possible, she made her way over to the bed and gently laid down right between the two, her head on Stiles’s chest.
As she felt her husband’s arm come around her shoulders to pull her closer, she looked up to make sure she hadn’t woken him.
But his eyes remained closed, his breathing stayed even.
So she closed her eyes once more and let herself be overcome by the smell of clean sheets and Stiles and one that can only be described as childhood, overwhelmed by the thought that she didn’t know it was possible to love two human beings this much.