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with a wail

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By the third year, Derek is resigned to the fact that his loft his going to be used as a party pad on Halloween. Honestly, he’s not mad about it. He doesn’t particularly like crowds, and there’s nothing quite so unnerving as a large group of young people in his space, but at least these days he can prepare for it.

It’s the majority of the pack’s first year in college (minus him, Malia, Cora, and Erica - him being twenty-five and Malia and Cora in their senior year, and Erica choosing for now to skip the college thing), so he doesn’t expect all of them to make it home for Halloween. He’s wrong, though; even Lydia and Jackson, who’re in Massachusetts, and Kira, who’s in Texas, make it. Stiles, who’s been complaining heavily about an huge exam for one of his core classes that he has two days after Halloween, shows up as well.

Derek shouldn’t be surprised, and if he looks deeply into himself he’s not. Halloween has become a tradition, for the pack. None of them are going to miss it if they can help it.

The pack comes over a few hours early to help move furniture around (the one stipulation Derek has - if any of his stuff gets ruined the pack pays for it ) and get everything set up. A few years ago, Derek had next to nothing in the loft; a table, two wooden chairs, a beat up old couch, his bed, and the bare minimum in his kitchen. Now, he has almost the normal amount of furniture for a full grown adult. Some of it he’s bought himself; a bulk Lydia and/or Stiles made him buy; and some of it the pack has brought over the years, including two huge beanbags, three gaming consoles and an abundance of games, an espresso machine, and four or five pieces of wall art.

Once everything breakable is put away upstairs, an “off limits” sign is put on the stairs, the fridge is cleared out except for a plethora of alcohol, and the DJ is setting up, everyone clears out to get ready for the night.

*

By eleven the place is booming, and Derek remembers once again the biggest reason his loft is the go-to party place; no neighbors to make them turn the music down. The living room has become one big dance floor, and the ‘wolves are taking turns manning the “bar” and handing out drinks. It is, amazingly to Derek, smaller than the previous two years, but then again he supposes most people their age are in college having college parties now, anyway. Regardless, the loft is near capacity.

Derek looks out into the sea of people - some grinding, some dancing to their own beat, a pit in the middle of bodies mashed together and Derek doesn’t know how that’s not uncomfortable, but. Some people are dressed up; he sees one too many witches, a Harry Potter character or two, three or four zombies and the usual characters from popular movies of the year. He sees a flash of blue eyes in the crowd and - that’s probably the best part of Halloween. Feeling free to let yourself out because you can always blame it on a costume.

He breaks into a smile when he sees it’s Stiles, letting himself loose on the dance floor and - oh, oh yeah. Derek’s only watched Stiles dance a handful of times, but he’s always amazed by the grace with which Stiles, who usually trips over his own feet and somehow still hasn’t gotten used to his long limbs, moves when he’s dancing. He’s fluid, going through the crowd seamlessly and holding a cup full of liquor while he’s at it. He’s only gotten better at it since becoming a ‘wolf, the transformation getting him in tune with his body better.

Derek sees another flash of blue eyes meet his, and he lets his eyes glow red for just a moment in response. He can see Stiles smirk from the edge of the dancefloor, and it’s just a moment before he’s joining Derek on the landing.

“Did you not see the sign?” Derek grumbles, and Stiles laughs good-naturedly, setting his cup down on the wide railing and leaning into Derek’s space.

“Uh huh. Like that applies to me, and even if it did, like it would stop me.”

Derek rolls his eyes, but throws his arm around Stiles’ waist, pulling him close and half-pressing Stiles’ body between his own and the railing, snuffling into his neck.

“Decided not to dress up this year?” he asks, letting his fingers drag across Stiles’ stomach Stiles tilts his head to the right, allowing Derek more access.

“Nah. I’m clearly Sherlock from Elementary.”

Derek pulls his head back, takes another look at Stiles’ outfit.

“You’re wearing a t-shirt and jeans.”

“The beauty of dressing up as a normal, everyday character,” Stiles replies, then pulls away slightly to get a look at Derek, “How you doing?”

“I should be asking you that.” Derek gets his nose back in Stiles’ neck, “With this being the first big crowd you’ve been around since the turn.”

“‘M fine. Told you I would be. Though I didn’t imagine it would smell quite so bad down there.” Stiles wrinkles this nose, looking down into the crowd. Derek huffs a laugh.

“Sweaty, hormonal young adult bodies smushed together in one room? What’d you expect?”

It’s Stiles rolling his eyes again, letting his arms drape across Derek’s that are still around his middle.

“Whatever,” is what he comes up with, “You gonna dance with me tonight?”

“‘d rather get you to bed,” Derek confesses, and Stiles laughs.

“Later tonight,” he promises, “And tomorrow. I’ve got no plans for all tomorrow, we can take it slow.”

“Mmmm,” Derek hums, biting lightly at Stiles’ skin. He hears Stiles suck in a breath, scent changing just a hair.

“Buuuut for now,” he continues, slightly more breathless than before, “I want to dance. And I want to dance with my boyfriend, if he will.”

Derek lets out a sigh, unraveling himself from Stiles and taking a step back. Stiles turns around, eyebrows raised and expression hopeful.

“Fine,” Derek relents after a moment, “A few dances, for you.”

His smile almost splits Stiles’ face, and he grabs his cup, shoving it toward Derek.

“Finish this off for me first.”

It’s a testament to how much he trusts Stiles and the pack that Derek just does what he asks without thought. He regrets it after a moment, though, the burn in his throat rough. Cheap. He winces, gives a small snarl. Stiles laughs again.

“Wolfsbane infused vodka’ll do that to you.”

“Went for the shitty stuff?” Derek asks, tossing the cup in the trash can at the top of the landing as Stiles grabs his hand and pulls him toward the stairs.

“We aren’t all made of money,” Stiles replies, and it’s the last he speaks as they make their way toward the dance floor.

Much like Derek’s resigned himself to the fact that his loft is Halloween-central every year, he’s also resigned himself to dancing at least part of the night in a crowd of high school and college students he doesn’t know. At least he’ll get to do it with his hot boyfriend dressed in tight clothes.

He sees Cora and Boyd at the bar, while Isaac, Allison, Scott, and Erica are in one corner of the room, dancing together. Lydia is draped across the couch while Jackson sits behind her, and Kira and Malia are leaning against the countertop at the edge of the living room, pressed close and whispering to each other.

And Stiles is right in front of him, hand grasped firmly in his and bright smile on his face and resignation thought it might be, it’s fond resignation. He loves his pack, and he feels at peace.