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The More Things Change…

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header by crazyfoolstiney

"Come on, Scott," Stiles muttered, banging his forehead against the rough bark of the tree in time with the ringing of the phone. "If you’re ignoring me because of Allison right now, I swear to--"

"Hey, this is Scott!" Stiles' heart leapt when he heard Scott's voice, relief flooding through him for one amazing second until: "I can't answer right now, so please leave a message."

"I hate you," Stiles said as soon as he heard the beep. "If I die because you're having sex, I am going to haunt you for the rest of your life."

Stiles hung up the phone and slipped it back into his pocket. He took a deep breath, steeling himself for what he was about to do. He carefully scooted back along the branch, holding on tight as it bent under his weight. His measly 147 pounds seemed like a lot more when he was dangling on a thin branch twenty-five feet above the ground.

Finally, he moved out far enough that he could see the ground through the orange and red leaves. He couldn’t believe that he’d managed to climb this far up--it was amazing what a burst of adrenaline could do for you--and his stomach churned as he looked down. He closed his eyes and dug his nails into the bark. If he fell from this height he would probably die.

Stiles swallowed hard and made himself push that thought to the back of his head. In this case the height was his friend. He opened his eyes and leaned over just far enough that he could take stock of the scene below him.

There were six zombies milling around aimlessly at the base of the tree. The last time he'd looked—when he’d been desperately shimmying up the tree trunk—there had only been three hideously misshapen, rotten corpses. Apparently word had gotten out that there was a tasty, tasty brain in this tree.

Thankfully, none of the things—he refused to call them men—seemed to be able to climb trees. As soon as he had that thought, he was afraid that he’d jinxed everything and let go of the branch for just long enough to knock on it once with his knuckles. Knocking on wood might be a silly superstition, but when there were zombies out for you it was clearly a case of better safe than sorry. At this point knocking on wood seemed like a realistic precaution; after all, he’d already used magic dust to keep the bad guys away.

Suddenly, as if they’d somehow heard his light rap on the branch, all of the zombies stopped moving and tilted their heads in one freakishly synchronized movement to look up at him. Of course they would miss his shuffling and cursing, but hear that. Of course. Because that was the way his life was. He needed to ask Dr. Deaton if bad luck curses were actually a thing, because he had broken a mirror a few years ago, and that would explain a lot.

He stared down at the zombies, waiting to see if they would do anything else, but they stayed perfectly still. He couldn't see their eyes from this high up, but he knew from earlier that they were vacant and dead. They’d reminded him of the time that he’d visited his grandparents as a kid and they had served him an entire cooked fish with the head still intact. Just thinking about the way it had looked at him all through dinner made him feel nauseated, and he inched forward until he couldn’t see the zombies anymore. It had been bad enough when it was just a fish, but to see those eyes in a human…well, Stiles figured he was going to have a whole new round of nightmares if he made it out of this alive.

When he got back to the trunk, he wrapped his legs tightly around it and rested his cheek against the wood.

“Please don’t let them be able to climb trees,” he prayed to whatever god wanted to take pity on him. “And please let Scott have checked his messages.”

He closed his eyes and believed as hard as he could the way he had when he’d been using the mountain ash. After a moment he took his phone back out. There were no messages.

He had already tried to call Scott three different times and texted him twice. The first time had been right after he’d first seen a zombie climb out of its grave. And really, he should have known better than to visit the cemetery on Halloween, because of course there would be some real life fucked up supernatural bullshit. That was the way of his life now, and Halloween was just asking for freaky shit to happen. But he didn’t get to pick the anniversary of his mom’s death. All he could do was hope to all that was holy that she was still resting in peace and not rising up like the rest of the dead seemed to be.

Stiles’ chest felt tight. What if his mom was down there with those dead eyes? What if she had crawled out of her grave? His stomach roiled at the thought and he leaned over and threw up the dinner he’d forced himself to eat. If this was happening to his mom…

He really fucking hated Halloween.

Stiles had dropped the bouquet of flowers that he’d been carrying as soon as he saw the thing and tried to call Scott while running back towards his Jeep. Scott hadn’t answered, probably because this year instead of waiting for Stiles to get back from the cemetery for their traditional all-night horror movie marathon, he was going to Jackson’s Halloween party with Allison. It was their first attempt at a date since the break-up and Scott had gone all out, planning a fancy dinner before the party.

It’s not that Stiles wanted to watch horror movies on the anniversary of his mom’s death—although the twisted nature of it was strangely cathartic—but doing regular holiday things with Scott always helped him stay distracted. And for years before his mom died, Stiles and Scott had had a Halloween sleepover complete with scary movies and way too much candy. The only year that they’d skipped had been that fateful one five years ago that Stiles had spent in the hospital.

And now this one.

He didn't blame Scott--not really. Stiles knew that if he had someone like Allison in his life he would want to spend his time with her, too. They were growing up and that meant that things were going to change. He was trying to accept that. Besides, Scott had offered to stop by after the party to check on him, but it still hurt. Everything about this day hurt.

When Scott’s voicemail had picked up that first time, Stiles hadn't bothered to leave a message. He was running too hard in his desperation to get away. He obviously hadn’t made it to the Jeep. He’d been almost there when two more zombies just seemed to appear between him and his car, which is how he'd ended up running for his life in the woods.

The zombies ran faster than the old horror movies that he loved had led him to believe, and eventually he’d been forced to climb a tree, hoping that they wouldn’t be able to follow—so far so good. He knocked on the tree again just in case.

Okay, so Scott was obviously not going to check his messages anytime soon. He’d probably show up at the last minute, long after Stiles had given up hope, to save the day, but that wasn’t exactly a plan of action, and Stiles liked plans. He scrolled through his address book, trying to figure out who else might be able to take on a growing group of hungry zombies.

His dad was out. There was no way that he was going to call up his dad and risk his life against supernatural creatures. He didn’t care how many deputies or guns that his dad had at his disposal. Stiles had long ago promised himself that he would never do anything to purposely bring supernatural danger onto his dad. It was bad enough that his involvement with the werewolves of Beacon Hills increased the risk to his dad anyway, and he wouldn’t add to it consciously. The risks Stiles had chosen to take were his and his alone.

Besides, his dad had his own ways of coping with the anniversary—working too hard and drinking too much—and he didn’t want to make things worse by calling him with an emergency. Stiles didn’t want to risk bringing back memories of the call his dad had received from the hospital five years ago.

Unfortunately, the other options in his address book weren’t great either. The transvestites he’d met at the Jungle could liven up any party, but he didn’t think a zombie attack was up their alley. The less that Danny knew about the supernatural the better for his own life expectancy. It was one thing to ask for hacking help, but Stiles wasn’t about to drag him into this clusterfuck.

Lydia was amazingly smart and terrifying in her own way, but she wasn’t really a fighter. He had no idea what side of the fence Allison and her dad were on this week and all things considered he didn’t fancy another trip to the Argent basement. Jackson was hosting that damn party and, more importantly, was really not someone that Stiles felt comfortable relying on. Ever. Erica and Boyd were still missing in action after Chris Argent deigned to release them. And apparently he didn’t have Isaac’s number. He’d have to fix that later.

That left only one person and made Stiles really start to reconsider his life choices. Why didn’t he have more friends?

Sighing, he selected Derek’s number and pressed the call button. At least he could be relatively sure that Derek didn’t have too much of a social life to answer.

“What?” Derek asked, picking up on the second ring.

“Thank god,” Stiles breathed out. He had never been so happy to hear Derek’s abrupt, angry voice before. It was like music to his ears. Well, not really, Derek’s voice was the complete opposite of melodious, but still.

“Stiles?” Derek asked, sounding slightly confused. “When did you get my number?”

Stiles rolled his eyes. “You gave it to me when I was finding the Alpha for you. Remember?”

“You mean when you called that other kid in to do it,” Derek said.

“I still risked my life that night,” Stiles pointed out. Derek grunted in a generally agreeable way which Stiles took as an expression of Derek’s lifelong gratitude for Stiles’ selfless actions, because he could. If Derek didn’t use his words then Stiles would choose to interpret his nonverbal cues however he saw fit. “Anyway…what are you doing right now?”

“Stiles…” Derek said warningly.

“Cause I’m up a tree hiding from zombies and was wondering if you might like to come save me,” Stiles said in a rush before Derek hung up in annoyance. When Derek didn’t respond immediately, Stiles continued desperately. “I am not above pointing out that I held your fat head above water for two hours. Are life debts a thing? I’m hoping they’re a thing.”

“Zombies?” Derek asked. “Did you say zombies?” Stiles opened his mouth to respond, but didn’t get a chance. “Never mind, just tell me where you are.”

Stiles looked around as if he would be able to see some sort of landmark to help him figure out where he was. Unsurprisingly all he could see were orange and red leaves leaves. “I don’t know where I am…I was in the cemetery, then they started chasing me into the woods. I lost track.”

Derek sighed, a heavy put upon sigh. “Were you running towards my place or away?”

Stiles thought about it for a moment, trying to back track his movements in his head. “Towards it. Definitely towards it.”

“Okay,” Derek said. “I’ll find you.”

Stiles hung up the phone and crammed it back into his pocket. There had been no hesitation in Derek’s voice. He sounded confident that he would find Stiles and Stiles clung to that. Derek had a lot of issues, and one of them was creeping around the woods like a serial killer straight out of a horror movie. However, if being a creeper helped Derek find him, Stiles was willing to reclassify that behavior as an awesome and helpful skill.

Stiles had a cramp. He’d been clinging to a tree with every muscle in his body for the last hour and now he had a Charlie horse so painful that he wanted to cry. He really needed to stretch his leg out, but he was afraid that if he attempted to he would end up falling. It seemed like something that would happen to him.

Where the hell was Derek? Surely he was giving off a stench of terror that a werewolf’s nose could pick up a mile away.

His phone started vibrating in his pocket and he rushed to pull it out, deflating when he saw that it was his father. Stiles wanted nothing more than to ignore the call, but he wouldn’t do that to his dad on today of all days. “Hey, dad.”

“Stiles,” his dad replied. He drew the “Stiles” out just enough for Stiles to know that his dad had already broken out the whiskey. He didn’t drink a lot these days, not like he had right after Stiles’ mom had died, but there were still a few bad days. “I’m going to stay over at Deputy Jones’ house tonight.”

“Okay,” Stiles replied quietly. This wasn’t unusual. His dad hated being at the house surrounded by all of the reminders of Mom on the anniversary, and Stiles always did his best to ignore the small voice that wondered if he was one of those reminders. Of course, his dad also hated for Stiles to see him drunk and broken down. It was easier on everybody for Stiles to stay at Scott’s house on Halloween, which was another reason for the movie marathon. Of course, Scott didn’t realize that, because Stiles had never told him. “I’ll be at Scott’s anyway.”

“Good,” his dad said, not hearing the lie. “I’ll see you in the morning.”

Stiles closed his eyes against the tears that were threatening to spill over. Tears which were totally only because of the cramp in his leg and had nothing whatsoever to do with the anniversary of his mom’s death or his dad maybe not wanting to see him or the fact that he might die and make Halloween an even worse day for his dad. “Night.”

He hung up the phone and reached up to rub at his eyes with his shirt sleeve. He considered giving Scott another call—if anyone could track his scent it would be Scott—but if Scott was around then he would have already called Stiles back. Scott was scatterbrained, but Stiles knew he cared about him.

Not sure what else he could do, he stared at his phone willing it to ring. Of course that meant that when it did ring, Derek’s name flashing up on the screen, he freaked out in his hurry to answer it and dropped it.

“Shit!” Stiles yelled, watching as his phone hit the branch underneath him before it fell the twenty-five feet to the ground. That was the last straw and the panic he’d been trying to stave off all night began to overwhelm him and he screamed, “Derek!” as loud as he could.

He screamed until his lungs were empty and when he paused to gasp for breath—desperately trying to regulate his breathing so that he wouldn’t hyperventilate, pass out, and fall to his death—he heard a terrifying howl echoing through the woods. The sound was so deep that he felt it vibrating in his chest and he knew that the only creature in these woods that could make a sound like that was a werewolf.

“Derek!” Stiles yelled again and again he was answered with a howl. This time it was closer. He called one final time, before he heard the sound of bodies hitting the ground, crunching into piles of dead leaves.

He slumped against the trunk, relief flooding through him and called down weakly. “Bash their heads in!”

“I’m not stupid,” Derek responded his words sounding funny as he no doubt spoke around fangs. And, yeah, he was a long way up, but Stiles was pretty sure the next sound he heard was the sickening crack of a skull collapsing. He was really glad that he couldn’t see what was going on.

A few agonizingly slow minutes later the woods fell silent. Derek yelled up at him, his words sounding normal this time. “You can come down now.”

Stiles shifted around and managed drop down onto the branch underneath him without dying, but his legs were shaking and he knew that his thighs weren’t up to shimmying back down the trunk the way he came up. “I don’t think I can.”

“Damn it,” Derek said. “How the hell did you get up there then?”

“Adrenaline and mindless terror are a potent combination,” Stiles said. He took a deep breath and dropped down to the last branch between him and the ground. He risked looking down and saw Derek standing nearly twenty feet underneath him, mutilated corpses lying on the ground all around him. It wasn’t exactly a comforting visual.

“Just try,” Derek said. “If you fall, I’ll catch you.”

Stiles was pretty sure that Derek would try to catch him, and he did have all those superhuman reflexes, but part of him wasn’t sure if he really trusted Derek to succeed. Derek wasn’t the most competent person at the best of times. If he fell from this height Stiles probably wouldn’t die—especially if he landed on top of Derek—he’d just break a lot of bones—so at least there was that.

He closed his eyes and took a deep breath. It wasn’t like he had a lot of choices anyway. He had to get out of the tree and then they needed to figure out why there were a bunch of zombies wandering around.

“Okay,” Stiles said. He opened his eyes to look at Derek. “But if you drop me, I am going to soak my crutches in wolf’s bane and beat you,” Stiles warned as he wrapped his arms around the trunk. It wasn’t his best threat, but it had been a long night.

“Stiles,” Derek growled and Stiles wasn’t sure how he’d managed to growl loud enough to be heard halfway up the tree. It was a skill. “Move.”

Stiles did. He even managed to carefully lower himself down another few feet before his legs gave out and he started sliding out of control. He frantically grabbed at the tree, holding on with his hands, trying to slow his descent as the bark cut painfully into his palms.

Stiles had one terror filled moment where he was sure that this was it. He was going to die a sixteen year old virgin alone in the woods with only Derek to bear witness, but then his fall came to an abrupt halt.

“Oomph,” Derek exhaled as he wrapped his arms around Stiles, absorbing the impact and breaking his fall. “You’re heavier than you look.”

“It’s all the muscle,” Stiles said as he clung to Derek’s jacket, trying to stop his hands from shaking. He was finally safe. At some point he would have to evaluate why he was able to feel that way, cradled in Derek Hale’s wolfy arms, but that was something he could do late at night when he couldn’t sleep because of all the zombie induced nightmares that he was going to have. “It’s heavier than fat, and you would be surprised at how much muscle you can build up fighting the creatures of the night.”

Derek grunted, and this time Stiles was pretty sure it was an amused, almost fond grunt. He set Stiles down and frowned at the bodies lying on the ground. “Zombies?”

“Dude, I have no idea,” Stiles said, doing his very best not to look too closely at the bodies. His cursory glance indicated that they all seemed to be male, which was a relief, and that was all he cared about. He didn’t know if he could have survived if one of them had been his mother. Once upon a time he had gone out into the woods excited by the prospect of finding a mutilated corpse, but that was a long time ago. These days he was excited if he managed to go a whole day without seeing one. “I was at the cemetery and they just started crawling out of the graves.”

Derek sighed and took out his phone. He sent off a text message before looking back up at Stiles. “Isaac is going to come take care of the bodies and investigate the cemetery.”

“That’s right,” Stiles said, snapping his fingers or he tried to at least. There was a lot of sticky sap and blood on his hands. “He used to be a grave digger, right? That’s not at all creepy.”

“It’s convenient,” Derek corrected as he starting to walk. “And he got his job back after his name was cleared.”

“Huh,” Stiles said. He hadn’t known that. He followed Derek as he weaved his way through the trees following some path that only he could see. “So what are we going to do?”

Derek cut his eyes over to look at Stiles. “We’re going to go research zombies.”

“I hear you say ‘we’ when I think you mean ‘me,’” Stiles said, pointing at his chest.

Derek grinned, his mouth stretched wide, and it looked downright evil. Stiles sighed. “Haven’t I been tortured enough for one night?” He held up his cut up, sap covered hands. “Do these hands look ready to make the Google magic happen?”

“The Google magic,” Derek repeated, evil giving way to bemused.

“It’s my superpower,” Stiles said seriously. He didn’t really mind the idea of research; in fact, he was kind of looking forward to it. Researching zombies with Derek might actually be a better distraction than watching a Freddie Krueger marathon with Scott. “Just take me some place with running water and soap.”

It was full dark by the time they got to Derek’s car, and Stiles had expected Derek to take them back to Stiles’ house. After all, Stiles had both an Internet connection and running water, but instead Derek pulled up in front of a tiny run-down house in the bad part of town. Well, as bad as a town the size of Beacon Hills got. Stiles knew from listening to his dad’s police scanner that there had been a meth lab busted in this neighborhood last week.

“Where are we?” Stiles asked as Derek parked in the single car garage.

“My house,” Derek said, opening the door and walking into the house.

Stiles scrambled to follow him into an honest to goodness house. The door led to a kitchen with a table and a coffee maker and everything. Stiles looked around, vaguely aware that his jaw was hanging open. The house was on an open floor plan and he could see a bookshelf, a worn couch, and a television in the living room. “You have a house? An actual house that isn’t a creepy ruin in the woods or an abandoned train car?”

Derek turned to look at him. “Where do you think I shower? A stream?”

Stiles frowned. “Actually, I figured that was the real reason that you’re always creeping around the boys’ locker room at school.”

Derek lifted a hand to smack Stiles in the back of the head, but Stiles managed to duck out of the way, which told him that Derek wasn’t even trying. Derek just shook his head and jutted his chin at a door. “Bathroom is in there.”

Stiles nodded and glanced down at his dirty, torn up clothes. “Any chance I could borrow some sweats or something?”

Derek sighed, but went through the only other door, which Stiles figured was the bedroom, and came back out with a t-shirt that probably used to be black but was now more of a grey color and a pair of honest to goodness plaid pajama bottoms. Stiles hadn’t expected that. He wasn’t sure what he thought Derek slept in, but green plaid had never even entered into the equation.

“Thanks.” Stiles took the clothes into the bathroom. He was surprised at how clean it was and wondered if that was because Derek actually cleaned the toilet and scrubbed the tub on a regular basis, or because he spent most of his free time lurking in abandoned buildings and not at home.

Stiles glanced at the door, making sure it was locked, before he carefully opened the medicine cabinet, wincing as the hinges creaked. Thankfully the sound didn’t bring Derek running. He probably expected Stiles to look; after all, it was practically expected for guests to snoop in the medicine cabinet. It wasn’t like Derek had anything to hide anyway; all that was in his cabinet were standard toiletry items. There wasn’t even anything mildly interesting, like a box of condoms.

Not that Stiles was looking for Derek’s condoms. That would be weird.

“Stiles,” Derek called from the other side of the door. “Zombies, remember?”

Right. Zombies.

By the time Stiles managed to get all of the tree sap off of his hands and bandage all the cuts he’d reopened by scrubbing—with the first aid kit he’d found in the medicine cabinet, which was a totally valid reason to be looking—Derek had already set up a laptop on the table and was frowning at the screen. He crossed the room to look over Derek’s shoulder, pausing to retie the drawstring on the too-large pajama bottoms as they began to sag. “Find anything?”

Derek shook his head. “Nothing more than the standard Halloween fare and New Orleans tourist crap.”

“Let me,” Stiles said, gesturing for Derek to move over. Surprisingly enough Derek went without complaint, moving over a chair and opening up a dusty, worn book.

“So,” Derek said after a few minutes had passed. “What were you doing in the cemetery anyway? Isaac said there was a big party tonight.”

Stiles didn’t answer right away, pretending to type to buy some time. He didn’t talk about his mom much, not even with Scott, but it wasn’t exactly a secret, and if anyone would understand it was Derek. He sighed and rubbed tiredly at his face. “Today’s the fifth anniversary of my mom’s death. I was taking her flowers.”

“Oh,” Derek said, his voice rough. He gave Stiles a sympathetic look that Stiles hadn’t thought him capable of.

Stiles waved one hand dismissively. The last thing he wanted to do was talk about his mom, so he did what he always did and talked about everything else. “The last place I want to be is Jackson’s party. Hell, up a tree hiding from zombies is preferable to a night spent with Jackson. Scott went, though. With Allison. Can you believe they’re trying again?”

“Scott’s an idiot.” Derek shook his head and turned his attention back to his book and Stiles went back to Google.

A while later Derek pushed the book he was looking at over to Stiles, pointing midway down the page. “Here’s something.”

Stiles skimmed the page. “A magic spell that raises the dead and works best on All Hallow’s Eve?”

Derek shrugged. “It fits.”

“I really fucking hate Halloween,” Stiles muttered.

Derek nodded his agreement. “The good thing is that it looks pretty easy to reverse.”

“If we know where the focal point is,” Stiles said.

“The cemetery?” Derek suggested.

“Did Isaac find anything there?”

Derek checked his phone, scrolling through a few messages, and then shook his head. “He said there were a few more empty graves, but nothing else stood out.”

Stiles frowned and tapped at his lower lip trying to think. “Can I borrow your phone?”

Derek slid it over to him and he scrolled through the address book. It didn’t take him long to find Scott since Derek’s contact list was even shorter than his own. At least he was cooler than Derek.

Stiles didn’t have high hopes that Scott would answer--his track record for the night was pretty abysmal--so he was both surprised and a little bitter when he answered on the first ring.

“Derek?” Scott asked, sounding distracted.

“It’s me,” Stiles said.

“Stiles! Thank god,” Scott said, there was a loud crash in the background. “I tried calling you back and couldn’t get through.”

“I broke my phone,” Stiles explained. “You know, because of the zombies.”

“Do I ever,” Scott said. “Jackson’s house is overrun with them.”

Stiles couldn’t help the laugh that escaped. Of course the focal point would be Jackson’s house. It seemed like everything supernaturally bad led back to Jackson these days.

“Does he need backup?” Derek asked, eavesdropping with his super-hearing.

Stiles was about to repeat the question, but Scott already heard it with his super-hearing and answered immediately. “No. Between Jackson, Allison, and I we’ve got most of them down for the count. We just need to figure out how to stop more from coming.”

“You’re in luck, then. Derek figured out how to break the spell.”

Stiles passed the phone over to Derek and let him explain how to fix things. While Derek did that, Stiles stood up and wandered into the living room. He picked up the remote control and flopped down on the surprisingly comfortable couch. The springs were still good, and the fact that it was threadbare only made it softer.

He clicked on the TV, not at all surprised that the volume was turned way down—stupid werewolf hearing—and flipped idly through the channels looking for something to watch. He clicked quickly past Pet Semetery—that hit way too close to home today even without the zombies—and eventually settled on An American Werewolf in London. There was a certain irony to the choice that amused him.

A few minutes later Derek hung up the phone and joined Stiles on the couch. He raised an eyebrow at the movie but didn’t complain. “Scott’s going to text back an all clear when it’s over.”

Stiles nodded and pulled his feet up onto the cushion, curling up into a ball with his head resting on the arm rest. “Do you mind if I stay here for a while? I like this movie.” Derek didn’t answer, instead staring at him, his face impassive. “Come on, my Jeep’s still at the cemetery and my dad isn’t home.” He didn’t say the part about not wanting to be alone tonight of all nights, but if the way Derek’s face softened minutely was any indication, he didn’t have to.

“Fine,” Derek said. “But I get to pick the next movie.”

“Works for me,” Stiles said. He handed the remote over to Derek. “Do you have anything to eat? I threw up my dinner and now I’m starving.”

Derek made a disgusted face, which Stiles figured was kind of hypocritical considering some of the things he had probably eaten during the full moon, but stood up and went into the kitchen anyway.

A few minutes later, Stiles heard the familiar sound of popcorn popping in the microwave and he couldn’t help but smile. He wasn’t an idiot; he knew that Derek was trying to be nice to him and he really appreciated it. Coming from Derek it felt more like understanding than pity.

“Scott just texted,” Derek called into the living room. “Zombies are taken care of.”

“Good,” Stiles said.

Derek came back into the room with a giant bowl of popcorn and two glasses of water. Stiles would have preferred something other than water, but he wasn’t going to look this gift horse in the mouth. Once Derek set down the popcorn he thrust his phone into Stiles’ hands. “Tell Scott to stop texting me this crap.”

Stiles looked down at the screen. going out with jackson, lydia, and allison. ask stiles if i should still stop by later.

Stiles tried not to care that Scott hadn’t even asked him if he wanted to join them, because the last thing he wanted to do was be the fifth wheel on that double date of doom. nah. i’m watching movies w derek. -s

“You’re lucky. Scott texts me poetic odes to Allison’s shiny hair,” Stiles muttered to Derek. He kept his eyes on the screen as he waited for the inevitable reply. As expected, the phone vibrated almost immediately.

are you serious???

Stiles typed out a quick reply, conscious of Derek glaring at him. yeah and i think he wants his phone back. gn. -s

Stiles passed the phone back to Derek and grabbed a handful of popcorn.

“You know their transformations are ridiculous,” Derek said, gesturing at the screen.

Stiles laughed. “I don’t think you have a lot of room to talk, Mr. Sideburns.”

Derek grunted, but this time Stiles didn’t even have to try to interpret it because he could see the brief smile that accompanied it. "You had to pick a werewolf movie didn't you?"

"The other option was Pet Semetery," Stiles explained.

Derek looked at him, that unfamiliar sympathetic expression back on his face, but when he spoke it was in his normal gruff tone. "Remind me to get satellite. There's never anything good on."

"And you think adding another hundred stations is going to fix that?" Stiles asked, doubtfully. "All you're going to get is a lot more cooking and decorating shows." He paused and let his eyes scan the room. "Although, now that I think about it, you could probably use the decorating shows."

A piece of popcorn hit Stiles square in the middle of his forehead. He reached up and rubbed at the butter smear it had left behind. "That wasn't very nice."

"Neither are you," Derek retorted and Stiles couldn't really argue with that logic. "Just watch the movie. It's almost over and Halloween is on next."

That’s when Stiles realized that a lot of things had changed over the last year—werewolves, zombies, Scott getting a girlfriend—but he was still hanging out with a friend watching horror movies on Halloween. He didn’t have to be alone.