Stiles was reading another college pamphlet he hadn't applied for when his phone dinged. It almost never dinged anymore, which was probably the only reason he decided it was a good idea to check it. God only knew what was happening now. Deaton had been vague at best about Beacon Hills becoming a beacon, and the cryptic fucker hadn't said any more than that. At least not to him, which wouldn't be saying much, considering Stiles hadn't seen him in a month.
The picture on his phone was crisp and clear, but for all the detail, he didn't actually know what he was looking at. He didn't know the number, either.
Who is this?
Stiles felt like the 'dumbass' and the eye roll were implied. But Derek was texting him. Sure, it was a picture of...Something, but it was contact, and for some reason that-it eased something in his chest, something that had been tight and knotted and he was only just realizing it as it uncoiled.
What is it?
My new house.
'New' wasn't the word Stiles would use. It looked like it was covered in vines and about to be swallowed whole by the surrounding forest. But now that he knew it was a house, he actually had an idea of what to look for, and yeah, it looked sort of like a house. If he was being charitable. Very charitable. And, surprisingly, he sort of wanted to be, which was a 180 from how he'd been feeling towards the human (and werewolf) populace at large lately.
I thought no more squatting.
I'm not. I just closed on it today.
There was no answer, and Stiles hoped the 'you lucky bastard' was also implied. He looked back at the pamphlet and tossed it at his trashcan with the last pamphlet that had arrived. They missed the mark and he leaned back into his chair, rubbed his eyes, and reached for his pill bottle.
"Dude, you need to stop," Scott hissed.
"Stop what?" Stiles asked, chewing on the tip of his pencil. He'd given up pens when one had exploded in his mouth and stained his lips and chin black for almost a week. The black running down his chin had been too similar to his dreams of black bile oozing down chins and splattering concrete floors. (And what did it say about his life that he'd seen it multiple times?)
"Every time you're even near the twins you start tugging at the vial. It's freaking everyone out."
Stiles knew he was fingering the vial around his neck that very second and forced his hand away. Dreams aside, he wasn't going to break it on Scott's face. He hadn't even realized he'd been doing it. The vial was a simple defense weapon, one he felt he'd earned the right to wear. Paranoia was, after all, nothing more than being in possession of all the facts.
"You should just stop wearing it. Lydia and Danny are getting pissed."
"Maybe if you would think objectively for a second and remember that they murdered people," Stiles muttered.
"They're different now," Scott snapped. It wasn't the first time they'd had the conversation, although Stiles was getting tired of trying to bring it up when he was stonewalled at every turn. Thank god none of them knew about the knife. Or the gun under his seat that his dad had procured for him. He couldn't begin to imagine the hell that would raise, even if Chris was aware of it. (Stiles had no idea why Allison didn't know, or if she did and just wasn't saying anything.)
"Whatever Scott. We've had enough problems with the lowly human getting kidnapped by werewolves that it stays on."
"Then stop acting like you're going to shove it down their throats," Scott demanded, expression grim. His face shifted, the lines sharpening and shadowing for a moment. Stiles imagined pouring the contents down Scott's throat, like worming a rabid dog, and shook his head to clear the image. When he blinked, Scott's face was simply Scott's angry face, which, admittedly, had gotten slightly more intimidating in the last few months. Especially when Stiles knew how easily it could change, could see the similarities between the hardened lines of a boy's face and an adult's sneer.
(That night he stared at the words on his computer screen rearranging themselves and looked at his almost empty pill bottle. Then he looked up ways to get his adrenaline going because the nightmares were only getting worse, and he didn't want to see Scott's face shifting into something sinister again.)