Stiles rarely slept anymore. If he thought that he had trouble sleeping before everything went to shit then he was most definitely wrong. Hyperactivity aside, the consistent necessity to remain aware of his surroundings did not help with the sleep deprivation that he was instilling in himself. The thud of his heart beat in his chest was always apparent, the sound of it echoed in his mind as he listened to his own breathing as he walked, his eyes wide as he surveyed his surroundings, the bat in his hand hung at the ready as he gripped it tight. He wasn’t on patrol, but that didn’t mean that he was going to relax. Relaxation was a thing of the past, back when all he had to care about was lacrosse and the fact that Lydia Martin saw right through him. None of that mattered now, in the grand scheme of things. The only thing that mattered right now, that second, was taking a piss without something attacking him.
Stiles looked up at the waning moon, the faint glow lighting his way as he walked, strolled past a couple sitting huddled together, whispering to each other. Stiles’ heart sank. They reminded him of Scott and Allison. A pang of sorrow hit him, but he pushed it aside.
“Gotta fucking pee,” he whispered to himself, his eyes cast downwards only until he passed them. As soon as they were behind him, his eyes shot around his periphery. He pushed at his glasses, grumbling under his breath about ‘fucking zombies, fucking assholes, no more fucking contacts, no more fucking pills...’ “And no more fucking running water!” He said a little louder, knowing he wasn’t in earshot of anyone anymore. He did his business, then made his way to a cooler that they kept bottled water in. There was no ice, there hadn’t been ice for a while now, but he didn’t need it. Not when it was getting cold. He opened a bottle, emptying half of it down his throat before he gasped for breath, wiping his mouth with his forearm. He looked at the sleeve of his dirty, ratty red hoodie and scowled. “No more laundry.”
“What?” Someone asked him. He shook his head apologetically, walking away. He dragged the bat on the ground as he walked, shoving the half empty bottle of water into his pocket. When he came upon his tent, he sighed audibly.
“You get lost?” A voice rang out from inside the tent.
“Yes, Derek, I got lost in our own camp.” Derek’s head popped out of the tent, his eyebrow rising at Stiles’ tone. Stiles took the bottle of water out of his pocket and shoved it towards Derek. “Here.” Derek took it without so much as a thank you, which Stiles was used to, and drank it all in one gulp. “Your shift is about to start.”
“I know,” Derek whispered as he got out of the tent, tossing the bottle into the tent so that they could clean and refill it at some point. He was only half dressed as he stood, his shirt and jacket in his hands as he stretched. Stiles scoffed, dropping the bat to the ground and putting his hands in his pockets. His fingers were numb. “You okay?” He asked. Stiles shrugged.
“Peachy keen. You know what Mad Eye always said: ‘Constant Vigilance!’ fucker was right of course. Even though it was also Barty Crouch Jr, but I mean-”
“Stiles,” was all that Derek said. Stiles shut his mouth, nodding his head as he looked around.
“Go kill me a zombie, Der,” Stiles said, smiling. Derek shook his head, laughing.
“You get some sleep,” Derek countered. Stiles looked up at the sky, his jaw slack as he looked at the stars.
“Lydia liked the stars.” Derek sighed, walking past Stiles, towards the outpost. “Derek,” Stiles called out over his shoulder. Derek stopped long enough to put on his leather jacket, shooting Stiles a look. “It’s good, right? That they aren’t in this hell?” Derek didn’t so much as blink at him for a while.
“It is only hell if you make it that,” Derek whispered. “I’ve got to go, Stiles. We’ll talk about this later.” Stiles nodded, bending over and picking up his bat. “Sleep. Erica has been sleeping for awhile. Make her keep watch.” With that, Derek walked off. Stiles made his way into the two person tent, zipping it up. As soon as Stiles sat, Erica turned on a flashlight so that he could see.
“You’re up,” Stiles whispered, looking at Allison’s sleeping form. Erica nodded, tossing Stiles the flashlight.
“I am,” Erica said, her fingers raking gently through Allison’s hair. “Heard your little existential crisis with Derek.” Stiles scoffed, looking down at his hands, then at Allison.
“How is she?” He asked, his voice scratchy as he swallowed. Erica shook her head. Stiles rubbed at his eyes, his fingers pushing beneath the frames of his glasses as he pushed back his feelings, thoughts and emotions threatening to tumble out of him whenever he thought about Scott. It had only been two days, but it felt like a lifetime without him.
“You should sleep,” Erica offered. Stiles shook his head, biting his lower lip.
“Do I need to knock you out?”
“Probably,” Stiles countered as he slunk down his hand resting on Allison’s back, his fingers running slow circles against her blanket.
Stiles woke up to the sound of footsteps nearing their tent. He shifted slightly, trying to sit up but Derek’s arm over his stomach stopped his movement.
“It’s Argent,” Derek murmured against Stiles’ neck, his eyes remaining closed. Stiles relaxed, but only slightly. Derek was curled up next to him, their legs tangled, spooning him as Stiles’ arm hung around Allison, who was turned towards Erica. Stiles pulled on his hand to find that Erica was holding it, their fingers intertwined. He breathed deeply, closing his eyes briefly, enjoying the closeness, the warmth, the feeling of pack.
“Rise and shine,” Chris Argent said, opening the zipper of the tent. Derek grunted. The sun was just rising, and dew covered the ground and tents surrounding them. “It’s breakfast then we are setting off so stow your shit.” Chris walked off, telling the next tent the same. Derek was the first to stir, despite having had a patrol for most of the night.
“Kill anything for me?” Stiles joked, pulling his hand away from Erica. Derek shook his head, sighing.
“It was quiet.”
“Good,” Erica mumbled as she too sat up. Allison was awake, Stiles knew, but she wasn’t moving just yet. Stiles put his hand on her head, his fingers massaging for a second.
“Hey, let’s go get some breakfast. It is Derek’s turn to pack up the tent.” Derek grunted, but said nothing as he climbed out of the small tent that was made for only two people. Packing four people into it was hard, but Stiles and Allison were grateful of the body heat of Erica and Derek in the cool nights. Allison sat up and crawled out of the tent without a word. Stiles, giving a look to Derek, followed her, his bat in hand. They were handed four granola bars, all oatmeal raisin. Stiles made a face, knowing that Erica didn’t care for that flavor.
“Is there any-”
“No,” the ‘cook’ said, their face stern. Stiles pocketed the bars for Derek and Erica, nodding once. Allison already opened hers, nibbling at it. Stiles glanced at her sideways as they walked towards his Jeep.
“Do you need to do....” Stiles made odd hand motions. “Anything?” Allison shrugged. “Because I’m not stopping once we get going.”
“Okay, mom,” Allison murmured and Stiles thought, for a second, that he saw her smile. The corner of Stiles’ mouth turned upwards as he leaned against his Jeep, ripping open his breakfast. An uncomfortable silence filled the space between them, both of them obviously thinking about Scott. About the zombie that got him. Stiles cleared his throat, pushing the memory of Scott saving his life away. Because Stiles was the reason that Scott was no longer with them. Sighing, Stiles pushed off of his Jeep and opened the trunk, rummaging through his duffel bag. Flashlight, batteries, a mostly empty pill bottle, a pair of jeans he was saving for when his became unwearable, and his dad’s uniform jacket. Stiles stilled, his fingers rubbing over the lettering. His jaw set, he shoved it to the side as he grabbed a different pill bottle, shaking it absentmindedly. “Fuck it,” he whispered, tossing it back into the bag. He only had two Adderall left.
“Take them,” Allison whispered, making Stiles jump, his hand over his heart, the bat ready to swing. “Derek said yesterday that we are near a town, that we would be stopping for supplies.”
Stiles grabbed the bottle, dry swallowing one of them. The last two places they stopped didn’t have any. The chances of the pharmacy having any was slim to none, but Stiles took it anyways. Chris Argent walked up, putting his hand on Allison’s shoulder, squeezing it affectionately. Allison curled into him, her arms wrapping around his waist. Stiles shut his eyes, wishing he could do the same to his dad. He was living in hell.
Stiles didn’t have much room in his Jeep, just enough room for he and Derek, sometimes Erica. The caravan that they drove in had about ten vehicles in it, most were bigger, had room for more people. Stiles’ Jeep was used as a scout. He and Derek drove ahead, talking via walkie talkies with the rest as they drove. As soon as Derek packed the tent, they were off. Chris pointed on a map to Derek where they were headed. Stiles didn’t pay any attention, because that was Derek’s job. The one day that Derek put Stiles on map duty, Stiles flipped out because he got them lost. Stiles was the driver, end of.
The radio was long since dead and static was depressing, so Stiles fell back to talking, or humming whatever he could think of. Lately, he was singing a lot of old school Linkin Park, because screaming the lyrics to Papercut made him feel better. Derek let him, most of the time he bobbed his head along to the imaginary music, letting Stiles know that he knew the song that he was bastardizing. A couple of times, he even got Derek to sing the music. That had been a good day, because that was the day they had found some survivors hitch hiking. Now, though, Derek was silent.
“I’m about to break,” Stiles whispered. Derek looked up from the map, his eyebrows knit tight. Stiles looked at him weird, side eyeing him. “What? It is a lyric. Closer. I know you like that one, don’t lie to me, sourwolf.” Derek sighed.
“You want me to scream it like he does? Or do you want me to mumble it under my breath?” Stiles asked.
“Mumble it, please.” Stiles couldn’t help but grin at Derek’s tone, like he had no choice but to listen to Stiles’ singing. “It is way too early to be screaming Linkin Park.”
“How about... Teenage Dirtbag?” Stiles asked. “Her name is Noel-”
“I have a dream about her-”
“She rings my bell!” Stiles sang, getting louder. “I’ve got gym class in half an hour, oh how she rocks in keds and tube socks...” Stiles trailed off for a second, looking at Derek who was looking out the window. “But she doesn’t know who I am, she doesn’t give a damn about me- come on Derek.” Derek rolled his eyes, but smiled.
“Cause I’m just a teenage dirtbag baby,” they belted out at the top of their lungs. “Yeah I’m just a teenage dirtbag baby, so listen to Iron Maiden maybe with me.”
It was almost lunch when they reached the so called town. It was seemingly abandoned and as they got out of the Jeep, Stiles looked around, the walkie talkie up to his mouth, his bat in his free hand.
“We just arrived to the destination, we’re going to have a look around. We’ll let you know before you get in.” The caravan was usually a good ten minutes behind them, just enough time to canvass the area.
“Ten-Four,” Chris’s voice came in. Stiles clipped the walkie talkie to his jeans, then held onto the bat with both hands as he walked two steps behind Derek.
“Death,” Derek said, looking at Stiles for a second before continuing on. Stiles scrunched up his nose, trying to smell anything odd. Nothing.
“Pharmacy!” Stiles called out, his eyes landing on a large Rx sign. “Mine, mine, mine,” he muttered, pulling Derek by his jacket towards it.
“Stiles we have to scout first,” Derek grumbled, yanking his arm away. Stiles looked around.
“I don’t see any flesh munchers, do you?” He asked, swinging the bat around with flaily arms. “And you’re creepy hearing could catch them moaning from around the corner. I’m going in,” Stiles said, going up to the door to find it locked. He jiggled the handle for a second then grit his teeth. He bashed the glass door with his bat.
“Stiles!” Derek hissed as Stiles cleared the shattered glass on the door enough to get through it alright.
“Derek!” Stiles called back, his voice mimicking Derek’s with sarcasm as he made his way inside. “Shit,” Stiles whispered to himself, grabbing the walkie talkie from his hip as he watched Derek join him in the fully stocked pharmacy.
“This is Venom calling Deathstar do you copy?”
“Copy,” Chris Argent said over the walkie to Stiles. “We’ve hit the motherload here. The pharmacy hasn’t been touched,” Stiles said, in awe. He walked over to the candy aisle, grabbing a Reese’s Cup and showing it to Derek, his eyes wide. “I am talking the fucking motherload here.”
“Calm down, Stiles. We’ll stock up once we reach town.”
“Copy that,” Stiles whispered, stowing the walkie talkie back where it belonged, his bat leaning against the stand so that he could open the candy. “Oh, fucking Jesus Christ almighty-” Stiles mumbled as he opened the package, shoving an entire cup into his mouth, his eyes rolling back. “Oh my god, Derek,” he moaned. “This is fucking heaven.” Derek snorted while grabbing a Milkyway. “Derek I need to fill my duffel bag with these. These are mine,” Stiles said as he put Reese’s into his pockets, his second cup hanging between his teeth as he did so.
“Finder’s keepers,” Derek said, smiling. Stiles practically bounced his way back to the pharmacy counter, then rolled over the top of it, searching the medicine. “Oh fuck, they have antibiotics, all those fucking things I can’t pronounce and/or spell. Hey, bring me one of those pill book things. We need to- Oh shit fucking oh my god I can’t believe how much Adderall they have back here.”
Derek walked back towards the front of the shop, but stopped dead in his tracks.
“Do you know which medicine would be good for post traumatic stress? I think Allison needs-”
“Stiles, get down.” Derek called out. Instead of doing what Derek asked, Stiles popped his head out from behind a shelf to see what Derek was on about.
“Mother fuck-” Stiles said as he rolled to the ground. There were zombies. Three of them. “Shit fuck, pieces of-” Stiles grabbed the walkie talkie.
“Deathstar this is Venom, code T-virus spotted, how copy?”
“Copy. How many?”
“Three,” Stiles whispered. “Send back up only.” Stiles said as he put the walkie away, then stood up. His bat was by the candy, still. He jumped over the counter, and ran. Derek was in full alpha form, with one of the Zombies already down. Stiles slid down the aisle, grabbing hold of his bat as Derek howled.
“Yeah, shut up, Derek,” Stiles yelled as he ran at it, swinging the bat as hard as he could. He heard a resounding crack of the Zombie’s skull as it caved in. It fell and Stiles beat it again, then again. Before he knew it, Derek was by his legs, pushing against him, corralling him away from the body. Derek was growling at the last zombie, his fur standing on edge. Stiles knew that, when Derek was the wolf, that he couldn’t contract the virus, or whatever it was that was turning people into zombies. Stiles knew that, as long as Derek stayed the wolf, that he would be okay. It didn’t save Boyd, though, or Isaac. It wouldn’t save Erica. They found that out the hard way.
So now, Derek was pushing Stiles away from the danger, he was protecting him even though Stiles knew he could kill it. Stiles lifted the bat, ready to beat the undead shit out of it when Derek pounced, his fangs bared. Stiles ran forward too, following Derek’s lead. As soon as Derek had the zombie on the ground. Stiles slammed his bat down on its head, blood splattering everywhere. As soon as Stiles dropped the bat, falling to his knees, Chris came bursting in, armed and ready. Stiles looked up at him, his heart beating fast, the adrenaline rush coursing through his body. Derek was leaning against him, sitting on his haunches, licking his face, licking the-
“Derek, stop,” Stiles whispered, pushing his muzzle away. Derek snorted, his nose pressing against Stiles’ neck. Stiles closed his eyes. “Didn’t need backup,” he said, sighing.
“We need to raid this place as fast as possible. It’s not safe.”
“Saw a gas station, we are going to see how much it has.”
“Alright,” Stiles whispered, his fingers raking through Derek’s fur.
“You need gatorade, if they’ve got it.” Stiles nodded, his eyes looking only at Derek as Chris walked off in search of gasoline. Stiles heard others coming in, no one mentioned the three dead zombies, or the fact that Stiles was sitting in the middle of it. Stiles tightened his grip on Derek’s fur, tugging it slightly.
“Hey, fuckface-” Stiles started, getting Derek’s attention. He had been watching everyone file in slowly with bags to fill up and gather everything with. Derek licked Stiles’ face once more, letting him know he was paying attention. “Don’t fucking push me away from a zombie again.” Stiles pushed at Derek, getting up. Derek snorted angrily, following Stiles around as he picked up Derek’s clothes off the ground and shouldered them, then walked to the drink aisle and grabbed a couple of gatorades. “Der, go change back,” Stiles said as he draped Derek’s clothes over his back, then opened one of the bottles. “Oh my god, Glacier Freeze,” Stiles mumbled halfway through a gulp. It wasn’t cold, no power, but it tasted amazing. Derek stalked off, and Stiles went about grabbing his Adderall. He took all of it, after grabbing a basket to put things in. He walked around, pocketing things like aspirin, bandages, neosporin, condoms, lube. They were taking almost all the food, it seemed, the bottled water along with the vitamin water and gatorade. Nothing that didn’t taste good lukewarm. Derek reappeared, standing by Stiles’ side once more, looking in his basket.
“Lube?” Derek asked, picking it up, looking at it. Stiles bit his lip, nodding.
“Yeah, you know. It’s important,” He snapped, grabbing it from Derek. “I’ve got needs.” Derek snorted, walking away. Stiles rolled his eyes and walked out to the Jeep, stowing everything away. Derek was behind him again, never straying too far. “Hey, assmunch, go get us some gas. Chris said he was found a station that might have gas.” Stiles tossed Derek their empty gas container. Derek’s jaw clenched.
“Assmunch, Stiles?” Derek asked. Stiles lifted an eyebrow.
“Honey? Sweetums? Dearest? Assmunch suits you better.”
Once they were back on the road, with a full tank of gas and all the Reese’s cups that Stiles could eat, Stiles was silent.
“Stiles,” Derek spoke up after almost an hour of complete quiet. Stiles didn’t answer him, just lifted an eyebrow slightly. Derek’s hand reached over, resting on Stiles’ thigh. Stiles relaxed, dropping a hand on top of Derek’s, their fingers slowly intertwining. “You have got to stay down when I say stay down.” Stiles rumbled with anger.
“I am not a damsel,” Stiles almost shouted. “Scott-”
“This isn’t about Scott, or Isaac, or Boyd. Or hell, even Jackson. It isn’t about your dad, either.” Stiles tensed, his lips pursed together. “This is about you surviving this.” Stiles sighed, deeply. “You didn’t need to-”
“Yes, I did,” Stiles said, resolutely. “I fucking needed to kill a zombie, alright?” Stiles looked at Derek, his hand gripping Derek’s tight. “I needed to kill it.”
“And you did,” Derek whispered. Stiles let go of Derek’s hand, looking at the horizon.
“Are we in fucking Idaho yet?” Stiles asked, strumming his fingers against the steering wheel.
“Almost,” Derek whispered. “We have to make camp soon, before the sun sets.” Stiles nodded, letting out a breath slowly.
“I am so sick of Nevada.”
“I know,” Derek supplied. Stiles looked down where Derek’s hand still rest in his lap, and licked his lips. His hand fell once more, clasping Derek’s hand in his, squeezing it.