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The Real Monsters

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“You don’t want to go?” Stiles repeated back, looking at their daughter in shock.

Talia shook her head.

“Why don’t you want to go trick or treating, Tali?” Derek asked softly. “You’ve been looking forward to this all month.”

Talia bowed her head, the curtain of her dark hair falling forward—casting shadows across her face.

“Is this about what James told you in school today?” Stiles asked.

Talia didn’t look up at them. After a moment, she nodded.

Derek’s brows knitted together as he looked at Stiles in confusion. “What?”

“One of the kids in her class told her that real monsters come out on Halloween because everyone’s wearing a costume and no one can tell, and the monsters steal kids and eat them.”

Talia glanced up at her dads before looking back down at her feet, wringing her hands nervously.

“Not all monsters are bad, Tali,” Stiles said encouragingly. “Your dad’s a monster and he’s not bad, is he?”

Talia looked up at Derek and shook her head.

Derek smiled sweetly at her.

“What about Aunty Cora?” Stiles prompted.

“No, but Uncle Peter is,” Talia answered.

“Stiles,” Derek said warningly.

“I didn’t teach her that,” Stiles said defensively. “Cora did. I just didn’t correct her.”

Derek rolled his eyes.

“What about Uncle Scott?” Derek asked, trying to put the conversation back on track. “He’s a good monster, isn’t he?”

Talia nodded.

“But not everyone can tell the good monsters from the bad monsters like you and I can,” Derek said softly, crouching down in front of his daughter to look her in the eye. “That’s why I need you out there with me tonight, to help me find the bad monsters and protect everyone.”

Talia looked up, meeting his gaze.

“I won’t let any bad monsters hurt you,” Derek promised. “Will you help me?”

Talia drew in a deep breath, looking up at her dad with a composed expression. She nodded.

“Great,” Derek said excitedly. “Do you want to go put your costume on?”

Talia nodded before running out of the room and upstairs to her bedroom.

“And what about you?” Derek said, straightening his back and turning to look at his husband. “Are you going to put on a costume and help us protect everyone from the bad monsters?”

Stiles smiled, tilting his chin up and bringing his lips to Derek’s in a chaste kiss.

“Do I have to dress up?” Stiles asked.

A mischievous smirk played across Derek’s lips.

Stiles gently shoved at Derek’s shoulder, stepping around his husband before making his way upstairs to get changed.