It's like taking off armor: she spends school in light dresses and smooths lip balm on during French, neat and collected, but when she gets home, she changes. It's not every day, but now that she has so much free time-Scott is noticeably absent from her house, her room, her bed-she has the luxury of self-scrutiny in the silence.
Some days, the mirror shows her Allison, warm brown curls of hair loose around her neck, blush on those dimples Lydia teases her about endlessly. But some days, she comes upstairs after working out, sweaty in a tight tank top and shorts, and the mirror shows her someone else. She looks in and smiles, staring at herself for a moment longer, because it feels right, the way her muscles stand out, her hair pulled up into a ponytail.
"How are you not dead right now?" Stiles asked him the day before as Allison hefted his backpack over his shoulder, two thick textbooks in his hands. "Like, really. I'm pretty sure Harris is actually trying to kill us with the weight of our books. Nefarious, but clever, I have to give it to him. The only reason I'm still alive is because Scott's got to carry mine for the whole day."
A few paces behind them, Scott mumbles something about lost bets and using his wolfy powers to eat Stiles whole.
"Look, buddy, I didn't make up the rules. Wait, no, I did, but you missed the shot at practice, so you have to carry my books. Them's the breaks."
Allison smiles as Stiles turns to him again, still talking about how he's like Wonder Woman but without a lasso. He doesn't tell anybody, but Stiles' rambling about his strength makes him happy, since today was a boy day. It makes him think that maybe, if Stiles-and Scott, too, even with their past-knew the truth-they might understand. If his smile fades whenever Stiles calls him "she", well, he doesn't let it show more than that.
She has a necklace her mother gave her, rescued from the depths of her jewelry box in the name of nostalgia, or maybe mourning; she doesn't know if it's been long enough for either. Her name on a silver chain, because Argent means silver, and her mother, so seemingly humorless, did like to indulge in small inside jokes every once in a while.
He never wears the necklace on the days he feels like a boy. He doesn't feel like Allison then, even if the small amount of safeness associated with his mother it gives him is gone on those days. Sometimes he wishes he had another necklace with a different name on it, for the days he's a boy, but that would make the things inside him more real, and pretending he's just an average girl every day is so much more easier.
Besides, he can't pick a name. Allen, Alex, Allyn-there are a lot of names that sound like his given one that he thinks he would like to be called on the boy days, but he keeps putting it off, burying his head in his math homework as if he can hide from himself if he tries hard enough.
It's the full moon, and Allison's just got back home, grateful there haven't been any fights recently, no blood shed in the forest. She feels a twinge of anxiety at the pale white light shining in the sky, and she hopes Scott-Stiles, too, since he's bound to stick with his friend even in the face of danger-are going to be okay.
Everyone else in Beacon Hills who has the same lunar allergy as Scott don't really concern her, but she still doesn't want anything like what happened last month. Her crossbow is gathering dust, and she wants it to stay that way.
The full moon's supposed to make people crazy-though in her experience, it's only been werewolves so far. Maybe that's why she decides to do it, in a rush of determination and hope. She wants people to know her the way she knows herself, to see her the way she sees herself in the mirror.
"Ughh," she groans, falling face-down on her bed. She hates how confused she feels, and even worse, the fear of rejection. Sure, she knows the terminology, and that there are a lot of other people like her out there. School doesn't teach it, her parents' version of sex ed was handing her a book and walking away, but the internet always delivers. Nevertheless, she's scared to tell Lydia.
She sends the text, her heart pounding. I think I'm transgender. I'm a boy sometimes. Sometimes I'm not really sure, but I'm not always a girl, it reads.
We need to go to the mall, is the response. Urgently. I'll be over in ten minutes. What pronouns do I call you today? Allison exhales, and lets a sharp, shocked laugh slip out of her mouth. She can imagine Lydia frantically driving over to her house already and another laugh bubbles out of her chest. It feels good, not having to hide anymore.
Allison had heard that Lydia got a big allowance from her parents, but she didn't know how much it really was, exactly, until they walked into the jewelry shop. Which was after the hug Lydia swept her up in, of course. It turns out, you can get pretty much anything on a necklace, if you pay enough. "How about Allyn?" Lydia asks, lightly, like she doesn't have a care in the world. It makes Allison think that things aren't really so bad, not when her friend's wearing that smile.
"Sounds good," she says.
"Sounds like you," Lydia says.